Travel news latest: Holiday bookings soar after plans to axe traffic light system announced

Changes to travel restrictions have seen even more demand for holidays abroad – John Sibley/Reuters

    Travel companies are reporting a huge jump in bookings following the latest travel announcement, which will see the much-maligned traffic light system scrapped.

    Skyscanner reported a 103 per cent increase in bookings on Friday, when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed the changes, compared to the previous week, and a spokesman said that they were “continuing to see the numbers go up throughout the weekend.”

    Martin Nolan, Skyscanner’s traveller expert said: “It’s clear from our most recent booking figures that travellers are delighted with the latest travel news, not just for holidays and leisure travel, but also for those who will now be able to be reunited with loved ones abroad.”

    TravelSupermaket reported similar trends, with demand for late summer trips to European hotspots – Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal – among the most popular. Turkey, which will be removed from the red list on Wednesday, has leapt to become the website’s second-most searched for destination.

    The firm cited the change in testing requirements, and subsequent savings, as another factor in demand for holidays.

    Elsewhere Thomas Cook reported a 200 per cent rise in half term bookings following the announcement, with chief executive Alan French expecting it to increase further. Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said they have seen “an immediate and massive surge in bookings”.

    Scroll down for the latest news as it happens.

    07:24 AM

    Jet2 see 'phenomenal' reaction to travel announcement

    Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have reported a 250 per cent rise in booking following the Government's travel announcement last week that saw plans for the 'traffic light' system to be dropped, double-jabbed travellers from 'safe' countries no longer forced to take any sort of test before they get on a flight home from overseas, and, from later in October, only a lateral flow on their second day back in the UK – rather than a costly PCR test.

    Chief executive Steve Heapy said:

    There has been a phenomenal reaction from customers since yesterday’s announcement with bookings spiking by more than 250 per cent. People are clearly desperate to get away for some summer sun, as the demand for holidays in the next few weeks has been huge.

    Turkey is proving “exceptionally popular”, he added, and half term dates “have also seen a surge in bookings for families.”

    07:11 AM

    A busy Friday…

    Here's a chance to fresh your memory after a busy Friday afternoon, which saw Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveil a whole range of changes.

    06:59 AM

    Good morning

    Welcome to our live coverage of the latest travel news. Here's a reminder of the top stories from the end of last week:

    • Eight countries will move off the red list on September 22

    • Pre-departure tests for return to England will be scrapped for fully vaccinated (from Oct 4)

    • Day 2 tests will be replaced with lateral flow tests for double jabbed (later in Oct)

    • Traffic light system will be replaced with single red list from Oct 4

    • Rules for the 'rest of the world' will be determined by a traveller's vaccination status

    Follow us here throughout the day for travel news as it happens.

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