Travel rule changes give vacation boost as Tui and Thomas Cook see bookings increase

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Holiday bookings are expected to skyrocket after the government announced a relaxation of international travel rules, but concerns have been expressed about a new approach to Covid-19 testing.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed on Friday that the traffic light system is set to be replaced from October 4 with a single, reduced ‘red list’ of destinations from which travelers arriving in England will have to quarantine themselves in a hotel supervised by the government.

Fully vaccinated people will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from unblocked destinations, and from the end of October they will be able to replace the day two PCR test with a flow test. lateral cheaper.

READ MORE: UK Travel List Updates – What Should Change With International Travel

Alan French, chief executive of travel company Thomas Cook, said mid-October bookings were up 200% from August and that he expected that figure to rise due to system change.

“Based on our bookings already today, I would expect this weekend to be the most important of the year as people take advantage of the great offers, the new easier rules on testing and the simplified system for international travel, ”he said. .

Andrew Flintham, managing director of holiday company TUI UK, said he had already seen “an increase in bookings for Turkey in October” and expected customer confidence to increase with the new rules.

Online travel agency Skyscanner said it saw a 133% increase in traffic within 30 minutes of Mr Shapps’ announcement, as there were “huge increases” in searches for destinations such as Turkey and the Maldives ahead of Friday’s news.

But Labor has expressed concerns about how surveillance for coronavirus variants will continue as part of plans to remove PCR testing requirements.

Shadow Secretary of Transportation Jim McMahon said: “PCR testing plays a crucial role in identifying variants of concern and ministers must now explain in detail how they will continue this surveillance – including whether they plan to increase test sequencing – to make sure we don’t. see a repeat of the failures that allowed the Delta variant to quickly spread across the country. “

The Scottish government has said it will ditch the traffic light system but will not follow England in removing the requirement for pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated people returning from countries not on the red list.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said there were “concerns” that it “would weaken our ability to protect the public health of Scottish communities”.

Scotland also won’t copy England using side flow testing on day two at this point.

There are over 130 destinations departing from Bristol Airport, including Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, UK domestic flights and Greece. The following offers are currently online on airlines operating out of Bristol.

UT – Save £ 100 on select holidays with TUI – use code SUMMER at checkout

easyJet – Offers from £ 219pp on selected holidays with deposits of 60pp

This article contains affiliate links, we may receive a commission on the sales we generate from it.Learn more

The Welsh government has said it will review the changes proposed by the UK government, but Health and Human Services Minister Eluned Morgan warned they could “weaken the line of defense on importation of infection and increase the opportunities for new infections and new variants to enter the UK and Wales “.

Both administrations said they would reflect changes to Red List destinations.

Under the modified travel system for England, unvaccinated passengers from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on the second and eighth days after their return.

However, travelers who have a valid vaccination certificate from 17 additional countries and territories – including Japan and Singapore – will be treated as if they had been stung in the UK.

Meanwhile, eight countries – including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives – are removed from the red list with effect at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

Travelers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also no longer be required to quarantine at the hotel from that date.

Mr Shapps said the measures aimed to strike the “right balance”, simplifying the system while managing the risk to public health “as priority 1”.

Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said easing restrictions should encourage more people to travel during the winter, but urged ministers to go further.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said it was a “welcome step forward” that would make travel to Europe much easier, although there was still a long way to go.

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