Even before the British government confirmed that Spain and the Balearics would remain on amber on the travel traffic light this week, holidays to Mallorca were in huge demand.
But, now that the Balearics are going to remain on amber for at least the next three weeks, this weekend, travel agents, tour operators and airlines in the UK are apparently braced for a surge in last minute bookings and Mallorca is proving to be the top destination.
Mallorca was the second most booked destinations in the week to August 1, new figures show, and demand has surged over the past few days.
Late bookings for this summer is dominating the market because of the traffic light system and a lack of consumer confidence according to the latest activity report by price comparison site Icelolly.com.
EasyJet said it had seen an increase in bookings to the Balearics and Canary Islands, Italy, Greece and Portugal since the government’s announcement.
Thomas Cook, an online-only brand since the pre-pandemic collapse of its namesake tour operator, predicted a weekend scramble for last-minute Mediterranean bookings.
“Our customers booked to go to Spain and Greece are breathing a huge sigh of relief that they can go on holiday as planned,” said the chief executive, Alan French. “We expect to see a bumper weekend as people take advantage.”
Hays Travel, which bought Thomas Cook’s high-street shops, said the increase in bookings had been “beyond expectations”, with customers spending more than usual, mostly for later this year and 2022 rather than on last-minute holidays.
“We are still seeing an increase in bookings for both popular European countries and island destinations such as Spain, in particular the Balearics, and also for long haul, special holidays such as the Maldives, America, Bali and worldwide cruises,” said the chief operating officer, Jonathon Woodall.
“Our customers are spending more than usual to upgrade their holidays – many want something extra special to look forward to.”
And, new figures from Jet2.com and Jet2holidays revealed bookings to green and amber list destinations rocketed by more than 250 percent after the rules were relaxed.
The firms’ chief Steve Heapy said: “It is no surprise to see a sudden spike in bookings to destinations on the green and amber lists, as we know there is enormous demand out there from holiday makers.
The extension to the Green and Amber Lists has increased customer confidence and given them the reassurance to book.
“With customers continuing to be able to plan and look forward to flights and holidays across more than 40 green and amber list destinations, this summer is a much brighter one for holiday makers.”
He added: “We hope this is just the beginning of even sunnier times ahead, as the Government continues to recognise the protection our successful vaccination programme provides when it comes to opening-up international travel.”
Spain is a major vacation destination for British tourists, who accounted for over 20% of all arrivals in 2019.
But tourism was reduced to near-zero last year due to coronavirus restrictions that included a three-month home confinement between May and June.
And recent industry figures show that foreign tourist arrivals hit a new low in the first half of 2021.