Travel agents gear up for bumper summer with mega deals
- Credit: Amanda Smith/PA
Jet-setting city folk are dusting their passports off and getting the sun cream out after the government eased restrictions on testing for people returning home from holiday.
Under new rules fully vaccinated travellers and those under 18 coming to England will now no longer have to take a test before they come home.
And Amanda Smith, branch manager of Hays Travel in Norwich Haymarket, said this spells for smoother sailing in her industry over the coming months.
She said: "We're feeling very positive. I have personally booked several holidays to Lapland, Tenerife and a US fly drive.
"Customers feedback has been really positive and they are really looking forward to finally be able to book and know that things are going in the right direction."
She added: "People haven't been able to treat themselves for a while and have had to cancel holidays several times because of the pandemic.
"As a team we want to book the dream holiday for every customer that comes through the door."
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However, Rebecca England of Attleborough Travel said that while the news is welcome she believes it still leaves some families in "limbo".
She said: "People are still unsure because of the restrictions in Europe for children to be vaccinated to travel at the moment.
"I have seen a few more enquiries come in however conversion is low and passengers are still apprehensive as they know how sudden changes can happen."
Ms England said that she thinks the industry needs more support.
She added: "I've had to close my high street shop and move to home working.
"As an industry we are optimistic about the summer season but we appreciate confidence in travel is still low as tour operators are offering more flexible travel which offers reassurance for travellers."
Nick Lee, owner of Broadland Travel Worldchoice, added that he has seen bookings increase but does not expect levels to go back to pre-pandemic levels this year.
"The latest changes will assist the industry. Over the last two days enquires have picked up as have bookings, but nowhere close to the level two years ago.
"As a business, we're not expecting a return to normal until 2023 at the earliest."
What's the best holiday deal on the market at the moment?
With a range of options to choose from deciding where to go on holiday can be a challenge.
Ms Smith believes there are some great deals to be had for holidaymakers searching for a tan this summer.
She said: "There are amazing deals for the Maldives along with Kenya safaris and closer to home family deals and villas across Spain and the Canaries.
"Plus you have the security of booking with an agent and the help and support we can offer face-to-face rather than online."
Mr Lee thinks people shouldn't just have to wait until the summer to get a decent deal.
He added: "Why not start the new year as you mean to go on and spend it on top deck sipping a cocktail and looking out to sea?
"A seven night Caribbean cruise with flights in February from Gatwick and premium drinks is only £699 per person."