Barrhead Travel has reported its largest increase in late bookings since the coronavirus pandemic began, ahead of “significant changes to travel” due to be implemented on Monday.
The travel agent, part of US-based Internova Travel Group, said yesterday that confidence to travel is at its highest since March 2020 with “good pricing on last-minute breaks…helping boost bookings”.
It noted nearly half of its bookings in the last week have been for departures in the next three months. The travel rule changes will see the removal of pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK from non-red-list countries, including returning holidaymakers. They also include a simplification of the “traffic light system”, which Barrhead noted would have “just two travel categories – red and rest of the world”.
Barrhead said: “Turkey’s removal from the red list has also prompted an increase in demand with the country making a return to the travel agency’s top-five destinations this week. Other popular destinations for October getaways include Tenerife, Alicante and Majorca.”
It reported a rise in bookings for US holidays since “confirmation fully vaccinated UK citizens would be able to return for travel from November”.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said a “flurry of positive travel news over the last few weeks has encouraged customers to firm up long-awaited plans”.
She added: “We’re finally seeing the changes we need for travel to become more accessible, more affordable and easier to comprehend. In turn, our customers have responded by snapping up last-minute deals to escape and will finally be able to enjoy sunshine and downtime.
“With half-term approaching, most of our last-minute bookings are families – many of whom haven’t been able to enjoy a family holiday abroad since 2019. Pricing is excellent and the value-for-money on offer is very attractive, particularly for all-inclusive options or cruise holidays”.
Ms Dobson highlighted her view that “the simplified approach to travel rules” had made a difference to customer confidence.
She said: “Since travel reopened in early summer, the main concerns from a customer perspective were the complex rules and the cost of testing. We’ve come a long way since then and it is really pleasing to see a more practical approach taken to travel guidance which is finally making imminent travel more accessible.”