Return Covid testing is no longer required, which is a boon for travel companies.

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Return Covid testing is no longer required, which is a boon for travel companies.

SUNSEEKERS are scrambling to book vacations now that the Covid tests for returning UK holidaymakers have been scrapped.

Travel companies reported an increase in sales, with many seeing significant increases in inquiries and website traffic overnight.

“Bookings were up 15% on Wednesday compared to the previous day,” said Seamus McCauley of Holiday Extras, “and since the Government only announced its decision at 4pm, that has a significant impact on travelers’ confidence to book.”

Because “the cost and hassle of almost all of the tests to return have gone,” the firm expected to see another surge yesterday.

TUI, a travel company, said there was “no doubt” that Britons now have the confidence to travel again.

A spokeswoman confirmed that bookings had increased “immediately and significantly.”

“We know that many of our customers haven’t been abroad in over two years, and we can’t wait to take them on their well-deserved vacation,” she added.

The chairman of the travel trade body ABTA, Alistair Rowland, said the New Year is traditionally a busy time for holiday sales, but that concerns about the testing requirements have been holding people back.

“We’re anticipating a bookings boom for January, following yesterday’s news, and are already seeing an uptick in demand from our customers,” Mr Rowland, who is also the CEO of long-haul tour operator Blue Bay Travel, said.

The Maldives, the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Mexico, and Thailand are currently the most popular vacation destinations for Britons.

Bookings for Dubai increased by 70% overnight, according to Travel Republic, while flights to Spain and Turkey were also popular.

“Brits are clearly eager to get away – so this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” said Ailsa Pollard, chief executive of the dnata Travel Group, which owns Travel Republic.

People will no longer have to isolate until they get a negative PCR and will instead take a lateral flow by the end of day two of their return, in addition to the decision to eliminate pre-departure tests.

Due to the rapid spread of Omicron in the UK and around the world, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday that the pre-departure test had “outlived its usefulness.”

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“Omicron is global, it is worldwide,” he said, “and everyone now has it; the proportion that comes in from outside the United States is minuscule.”

“News from the Brinkwire.”

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