Overseas Travel Spikes Among Brits: Are we bracing for lockdown again or getting back to freedom?

by Giselle Tadman
Showing female with two suitcases traveling

The expected happened. Overseas travel is at the forefront of everyone’s minds this autumn. Airlines and travel operators around the UK are reporting big jumps in the number of Britains booking flights and holidays abroad since the government announced new winter travel plans last week effective from 4th October.

A Sudden Boom Of Overseas Travel

The weekend findings reveal that last-minute European holidays and winter ski trips are the most booked types of travel. With the reduction of the number of no go countries and removal of PCR tests on the second day on arrival at the end of October, any layman could have predicted that this would happen. Who wouldn’t want to travel abroad when you now save hundreds of pounds? Those huge savings can now be spent on basking in the white shores of Malta, visiting Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, or just generally getting that long-awaited suntan in Malaga, Spain.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of holiday company TUI UK, said he had already seen “an uptick in bookings for Turkey in October” and backs new covid rules expecting to see a rise in overseas travel and more positive customer perception with the new rules as he foresees confidence to grow steadily.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI, backs new covid rules and expects a rise in overseas travel

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI, backs new covid rules and expects a rise in overseas travel. © Christopher Cox

The Unpredictable Future

While we have been granted some freedom, the future still looks unpredictable. One snap lockdown, and we could be back at square one with no overseas travel for months to come. However, with cases on the rise and an increase in vaccine-resistant strains such as the south American stain “MU”, we could be in for a rocky Christmas. In addition, the number of winter-related illnesses is set to rise so could encourage the government to action Plan B – another Christmas Day spent huddled inside with limited family and friends to minimise infections. The natural slowing down of vaccination uptake could also ultimately leave us less protected as we all become too comfortable with the deadly virus.

There is comfort for passengers who have had their two doses knowing they are shielded at least from it, though. But, at what cost? This huge surge and more international travel to places like Turkey, Italy, Spain and Portugal, places that were previously hotbeds, could see cases rise again resulting in a vicious cycle of travelling and staying put in the UK.

Showing Covid-19 Jab

Image of Covid-19 jab. © Robert Utrecht/Picture alliance

Considering this, not all of the UK are embracing the proposed changes. The Welsh government said it would consider the UK government’s new system, but health and social services minister Eluned Morgan warned more travel could “weaken the line of defence on importing infection and increase opportunities for new infections and new variants to enter the UK and Wales”.

So what do you think? Is the savings from PCR worth the potential risk of losing hundreds more if we are suddenly forced back into staying in our homes? Comment below or tweet us @thetravelradar. You can also read about how the UK said goodbye to the old traffic light system here.

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