Parents rushed to book last minute getaways after Covid-19 travel restrictions to the Canary Islands were lifted.
Holiday giant TUI said it has seen “a huge increase” in finding halftime breaks after the Spanish islands were removed from the quarantine list by the Foreign Office this week.
Passenger numbers this weekend are expected to rise a whopping 7,000 percent from last week after Transportation Secretary Grant Shapp decided on Thursday to lift restrictions.
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TUI reported on Thursday a 600 percent jump in the search for breaks in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria overnight compared to the previous day. Lanzarote and Tenerife were the most popular choices, and departures from Manchester and London Gatwick were the most searched airports during this period.
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Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK said: “The phenomenal response from our customers to the reintroduction of the Canary Islands shows how much people want a vacation. Our half-time bookings have increased since it was announced on Thursday at 5pm. 25 percent of those booked to travel to the Canaries tomorrow or Sunday leave for the islands.
“This is a positive step forward and we hope that we can now look forward to the introduction of airport tests that will allow us to open up more destinations in the coming weeks.”
People with face masks in Spain (Photo: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP / Getty)
Thomas Cook, who recently restarted as a Covid-enabled travel agency after his administrative breakdown last year, said winter sunseekers’ interest had increased 20-fold compared to the previous week.
“It looks like the British are flocking south in winter, and the demand for holidays in the sun-kissed Canary Islands has come at just the right time for people looking for a break,” said a Thomas Cook spokesman.
However, Shapps’ announcement regarding the Canary Islands does not affect the restrictions that are in place for the rest of Spain.
France is still a no-go if the case goes up
The Minister of Transport also announced that a “travel corridor” will be opened to the island of Mykonos, the only part of Greece remaining on the Westminster government’s quarantine list after travel to the rest of the country was eased in recent weeks.
In addition, the restrictions on the Maldives and Denmark will be lifted. From 4 a.m. on Sunday, people coming to the UK from destinations on the quarantine list will no longer need to self-isolate for two weeks.
Despite the lifting of restrictions on some popular mid-term destinations this week, other favorites are still a no-go for those who can’t afford to self-isolate on their return to the UK. France, for example, remains on the quarantine list after a sharp rise in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.