Travel firm in Oldham takes off again, with big surge in bookings for dream holidays in the sun.

Date published: 12 January 2022

A local travel agent says business is taking off again with a 'big surge' in bookings after the rules on Covid testing for international travellers were eased.

Don Bircham, the Managing Director of Hays Travel (North West), which opened a store in Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre last year, said the changes announced by the UK government had opened the floodgates to meet the pent up demand for holidays in the sun.

Popular destinations included Greece, Turkey, Spain, the Balearic and the Canary islands along with Florida. There was also a spike in demand for cruises.

The experience of Hays Travel is mirrored Jet2 who said demand had returned to "around pre-Covid levels" and EasyJet who saw a 200% increase in booking.

According to Mr Bircham, the easing on restrictions on foreign travel was the best news the industry had had in a long time.

He said the rule changes provided a massive boost for families desperate to escape the long haul of the pandemic and given them the confidence to think about travelling abroad again.

“The first part of January was very slow but there has been a massive surge in bookings after the news from the UK Government that travel restrictions were being eased.

“The fact that you only need a lateral flow test on return rather than a pre departure test and a PCR on return has given customers the confidence to fly again.

“In normal times this is our busiest period because of the January blues after Christmas so the next fix is to get that summer holiday book and have something to look forward to.

“With the announcement about the easing of the testing rules, we’re really optimistic that there are better times ahead.

“It’s given people a lot more confidence to start booking their holidays and thing are really taking off.

“There is a huge pent up demand from people who are fed up to the back teeth and desperate for a break somewhere warm.

“We’re confident now we’re getting back to something like normality and, if there is a bump in the road with certain countries, we have some guarantees and some comfort that we can take care of it and offer alternative destinations.

“People have been thinking long and hard about what life is all about and there’s a lot of grandparents who’ve got a few quid in the bank who want to take the kids and the grandkids away on an expensive, dream family holiday.

“The other thing is that people are more and more drawn to the high street travel agent at the moment for all the security, expert advice and help we can provide.
“A lot of people have had their fingers burnt in the past couple of years but they know they are in safe hands with a proper travel agency, so if they are booking an expensive holiday they can have real peace of mind.”

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