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Surge in demand for holidays in new green list destinations

·4-min read

Holidaymakers are rushing to book trips to destinations added to the Government’s quarantine-free list.

Firms are experiencing a surge in demand for locations such as Spain’s Balearic Islands, Malta, Madeira and several Caribbean nations.

They are among 14 countries and territories moved to the green list on Thursday.

People arriving in the UK from those locations after 4am on Wednesday June 30 will no longer be required to self-isolate.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of tour operator Tui, said it saw an “immediate uptick in searches and bookings” following the announcement, particular to the Balearic Islands which include Ibiza, Menorca and Mallorca.

British Airways has added flights to its schedules and plans to use larger aircraft on routes serving the new green list locations to meet the demand for travel.

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Another airline, Jet2.com, saw its highest volume of bookings to the Balearic Islands in nearly a year on Thursday.

The firm has also put more than 70 additional flights on sale to Malta and Madeira for July and August.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We knew there was a lot of pent-up demand out there but the response from our customers has been truly incredible.

“Bookings to Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Malta and Madeira have gone through the roof, which shows just how much UK holidaymakers want to get away.”

Price comparison website TravelSupermarket said Barbados went from being its 12th most-searched-for country by package holiday customers to number two, following the Government’s announcement.

Malta rose from 17th spot to number five.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News that the changes to the green list provide “a little bit of relief for the travel industry and for people who wish to get away”.

He added: “It won’t be quite like it was in 2019 and the old days, but we are moving in a positive direction.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

However, all of the additions except Malta were also put on a watchlist, which means they are at risk of returning to the amber list.

A number of popular hotspots such as France, Greece, Italy and mainland Spain remain in the amber tier.

Travellers returning to the UK from those locations must self-isolate at home for 10 days, making holidays unviable for many people.

Mr Shapps held out the prospect that people visiting amber countries who had received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine would no longer need to quarantine later this summer.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said the announcement was a “constructive step”, but “fails to go far enough”.

The Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said the Government’s “overly cautious” approach would continue to have “major financial impacts” on the sector.

There are fears of potential new EU-wide restrictions on travellers from the UK over concerns about the spread of the Delta variant just as cases on the continent are coming down.

Global Covid-19 cases and deaths
(PA Graphics)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been pressing EU leaders meeting in Brussels to impose stringent quarantine requirements on arrivals to the bloc from Britain.

Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “I think it is understandable if you are in Germany – I heard what the chancellor said yesterday – and you have yet to reach the level of vaccination that we have seen here or in Malta, that you’re going to be more concerned.

“That may be just a question of waiting for their vaccination programme.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The Times Of Malta reported that the Maltese government will require UK visitors who are not fully vaccinated to quarantine on arrival from June 30.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Sky News that the UK poses more of a risk to some other countries at the moment than the other way round.

He said the destinations added to the green list “pose very limited risk to the UK”, but tourists from the UK “may take the virus with them and infect other people there”.

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