UK holidaymakers are rushing to book trips to Greece and Cyprus after the countries announced they will welcome UK tourists from May.
Jet2holidays, the UK’s second largest tour operator, said bookings to Cyprus have tripled since the Mediterranean island confirmed last week that British nationals who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be welcomed from May 1.
The firm also reported a surge in demand for trips to Greece since the country said on Tuesday that foreign tourists can visit from May 14, depending on the status of the pandemic.
People living in England could be permitted to take foreign holidays from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on April 12 setting out recommendations for how and when overseas leisure trips could resume.
Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “The UK is the most advanced country in Europe when it comes to successfully rolling out a vaccine, so we applaud the Greek and Cypriot governments for their forward-thinking decisions.
“This, on the back of the recent announcement by the UK Government, gives customers great confidence that they can get away to enjoy the sunshine this summer and the numbers show that this confidence is increasing all the time.
“We know what an incredibly difficult time it has been for everyone, and we very much look forward to taking everyone from our rainy islands to their dream holiday choice this summer and beyond.”
But when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if it was still too early to book a foreign holiday, he replied “yes”.
He added: “I would encourage people to look towards the 12th of April when we publish this Global Travel Taskforce report because we’re not only weighing up the extraordinary 43% so far and rising of British adults who’ve been vaccinated, but of course where the vaccination programmes are elsewhere.
“So there are lots of questions – the answers to which we simply don’t know yet – about how safe it will be to travel around.”