Holiday bookings remain strong despite green list disappointment
Travel giant Not Just Travel is seeing strong bookings for the UK and seacations as well as a huge boom of bookings for 2022 and beyond.
Despite disappointment that former Green List favourite Portugal has now been removed from the Government’s list, Not Just Travel co-founder Steve Witt said that bookings for the destination remained strong for later in the year and into 2022.
Steve said: “Once the announcement was made about Portugal being moved to the Amber list, we saw our home based travel consultants spring into action to help affected customers – helping those to book earlier flights home and those due to travel this month change their plans.
“Customers have responded very well to the news as they always knew it could be a possibility. They have simply adjusted their plans, changed dates or booked a staycation or Seacation instead. ”
The next announcement of travel countries is likely to be later in the month, with holiday favourite Spain hoping to make an appearance. Steve said: “Bookings have remained strong, although the mixture has changed. We have seeing strong bookings for the UK and Seacations, as well as people booking bigger trips in 2022 and 2023 to make up for their missed holidays. Portugal remains a popular choice with people booking for later in the year. Because the travel industry has adapted to change so rapidly, customers feel more empowered to book, because they know that flexibility to rebook and reschedule is now there, which it wasn’t before.
“We are offering low-cost PCR tests and Covid Travel Cover to our customers and it is giving customer’s confidence that even if they have to cancel or rebook their holiday, they will be looked after. Customer confidence is key to ensuring the travel bounce-back is a success and we are already seeing the results of our customer service and innovations to help travellers feel safe, protected and secure.”
Steve said he believed that Spain could be added to the Green List later in the month but it was a case of ‘wait and see.’ He also urged customers looking at the list to remember that just because travel was cleared to certain countries – like Australia and New Zealand, it did not mean it was possible to go there.
“Many countries like Australia have closed their borders for travel, so even if it’s on the Green List, you can’t necessarily go there. We’d advise talking to your Travel Agent about what is possible.”
The Caribbean could be more affordable this year compared to previous years if the islands get added to the list at the end of the month, but again Steve said it was down to ‘supply and demand.’
He said: “Prices for the Caribbean are currently artificially low. I think we will see prices go up, especially if places like St Kitts, Antigua, the Caymans, the British Virgin islands and Turks and Caicos get added to the Green List. It’s all about supply and demand, so people will need to get in early to get the best deals. The price doesn’t go up day to day either, it goes up as the next seat is booked on the flight. That would normally sound like a sales pitch, but it’s about educating holiday makers about what the reality is.
How to get ahead of the game to get the best deals
“If you want to book an overseas holiday and you are waiting on further Green List announcements, we’d suggest you make a list of things you want and don’t want in a holiday destination – so you are ready to go when the announcement comes. Be more flexible about places you consider and most importantly, book a flexible but protected package so that if the rules change, you can change your holiday. Don’t piece a holiday together yourself as you will be left without any protection. Use a protected travel agent or travel consultant, as it’s no more expensive than booking it yourself. In fact, the service of a travel consultant is actually free, even though it feels like a premium service. That’s because we are paid by the operators, not by the customers.”
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