Bookings for France got a strong shot in the arm, with bookings to the country via easyJet doubling last week’s figures. Brittany Ferries bookings trebled in the 24 hours after France had its controversial “amber plus” status changed, gaining £1.2million in bookings daily, compared to £400,000 per day before the announcement.
At the same time, the announcement that arrivals from France will no longer need to self-isolate ‑ and that Spain is to remain on the amber list ‑ has sparked a wave of hotel cancellations in the UK, as staycations are ditched.
Cancellation rates of more than 50 percent have left some hotels facing a quiet end to the summer as Britons widen their horizons.
Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, said: “At the moment, we will see some of the best prices we’ve seen in years.
“What we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks is a lot of inquiries and so we had many people who were ready to book them, we’re just waiting for the announcements from the Secretary of State.”
Dame Irene also urged travellers to ensure they book with a “reputable travel agent”, in light of comments made by Mr Shapps.
He said that he could “never say there is zero chance” that Spain and other popular destinations might end up on the red list in future.
Dame Irene said: “As long as people are careful where they book, the travel agent will look after the two things which are most important.
“One is their health and safety and second is their financial security.” The reopening of the United Arab Emirates creates a welcome option to jet off to Dubai and its neighbours, Hays added.
“It creates an opportunity for people who want to go to the Maldives,” she said. “The fact the UAE has opened up is great.”
Luxury travel firm Club Med revealed web traffic to its France destination page increased by 43 percent week-on-week.
Estelle Giraudeau, Managing Director of UK & Northern Europe at Club Med, said: “We are at least pleased we can get our British customers back to some of our most popular and bestselling resorts in France after such a turbulent few months.”
But the outlook for tourism at home has deteriorated, data from hotel technology provider Avvio shows.
Hoteliers say cancellation rates, which were as low as four percent earlier this year, have soared.
Avvio’s chief commercial officer Michael De Jongh said: “If these cancellations are in resort hotels, the rooms are often quickly filled again, as there’s a queue of families desperate to have a resort staycation.
“But cancellations are hitting the city centre hotels hard.
“Many were at just 30 percent occupancy before foreign travel opened up again. It’s a nightmare for them as most of these bookings will never be filled.”