Travel agents' mega deals fuel city holiday booking boom

Amanda Smith of Hays (inset) says Crete (pictured) is proving popular. 

Amanda Smith of Hays (inset) says Crete (pictured) is proving popular. - Credit: Hays

City folk are dusting off their passports and grabbing their suitcases with bookings for foreign holidays "going crazy". 

From September 22, eight countries including Turkey and the Maldives will be removed from the red list.

From 4am on October 4 the amber and green lists for travel to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be merged.

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take a PCR test before returning from these countries.

The result, independent travel agents have revealed, is that people are ready to crack out the sun cream.

Amanda Smith, branch manager at Hays Travel in Orford Place, said: "It has gone absolutely crazy. A lot of people want to get away because confidence is brighter for 2022/23. We have seen a surge in bookings."

She added business was at 80pc of pre-pandemic levels and many bookings came from families booking breaks for next month and November.

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Along with people wanting cheaper last minute deals there were plenty looking to spend a lot of money on five star getaways after a tough past 18 months.

Ms Smith added: "We are hoping that things will be far more back to normal as we go forward and eliminate the need to test."

More people were returning to travel agents and turning their backs on online agents because they liked the support they received from businesses like Hays, she added.

Vicky Samwell, manager of Oyster Travel in Norwich

Vicky Samwell, manager of Oyster Travel in Norwich - Credit: Oyster Travel

Vicky Samwell, 29, manager of Oyster Travel in Catton Chase, said: "We have been busy for the last month."

She added customers gave "a sigh of relief" when they heard about the changes related to testing as it was previously putting people off booking trips.

Norwich Airport. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Airport. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Richard Pace, Norwich Airport managing director, said: “There’s little doubt that consumer confidence is returning and one of the best barometers of that is the commitment from our airline and tour operator partners to resume flying from Norwich Airport.

"It will take some time for this to translate into bookings and footfall through the terminal, but the signs are very positive as restrictions continue to be relaxed and people start flying again from their local airport.”

What are the best holiday deals on offer at the moment?

The Stella Island Resort and Spa

The Stella Island Resort and Spa - Credit: Hays Travel

Holiday favourites including the Canary Islands, the Maldives, Spain and the Caribbean are attracting people seeking winter sun as restrictions ease.

All inclusive resorts remained popular and bookings were being made for round the world cruises, according to Miss Samwell.

She said: "The relaxation of the rules has helped the travel industry."

Her top offer was:

Stella Island resort & Spa
Crete, Greece 
Adult Only
Half Board
7 nights
October 16 2022
Book for £100pp deposit 
Total Price from £857 pp ( based on 2 sharing)

(Hays Travel)

 4* Kosmoplaz Beach Hotel, Mykonos

September 27 2021

Four nights

£429 per person

(Oyster Travel)