This May bank holiday getaway is traditionally the start of the peak holiday season for overseas trips.
Our research shows that, despite a big public appetite for travel, current testing requirements and restrictions are keeping holiday-makers away from the usual hotspots like Spain and Greece. Britain’s largest holiday firm, TUI, has given ITV News details illustrating how the restart of international travel is going - and where passengers are heading.
Pre-pandemic, in 2019, TUI had 130 flights on the Friday before this long weekend. Today there are just seven - and of those only three are going to 'amber' destinations not on the government’s green list (two to Corfu and one to Gran Canaria). The flights to 'amber' destinations are about 40% full.
The TUI data shows that families are still avoiding countries where quarantine is needed on return. That’s despite Spain’s action on May 24 removing the PCR test requirement for people arriving from the UK. Boris Johnson has said people should not be travelling to amber list destinations except in the case of “extreme circumstances”. Research for ITV News from travel comparison site Skyscanner shows Portugal is the most booked destination for the half-term week. Portugal outranks the second most booked destination (UK domestic flights) fourfold. Faro in Portugal is the most booked destination with three-quarters of overseas bookings from the UK - followed by Lisbon and Porto. Hopes of Spanish sun remain - it is the second most searched country for summer trips - with Malaga and Alicante top of the list. 73% of those searching for flights to Spain are looking at departure dates in two months time - in line with the start of the school summer holidays.
Many are hoping that when the “green list” is updated early next month many more of our favourite destinations will be on it.
Stay up to date with the changing travel situation in the UK and abroad with news, information and advice at itv.com/holidaynews.
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