Boris Johnson promises 'light ahead' as he plans to lift lockdown
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed the steps the UK needs to take to meet four key tests and progress out of lockdown measures. While children can go back to school from March 8, the other stages – including opening non-essential shops and socialising in groups of six – are dependent on key coronavirus data.
Speaking from the Downing Street press conference on Monday Mr Johnson said: “This is not the end today but it is very clearly a road map that takes us to the end.”
He told the nation it would be a “one-way journey, we very much hope”.
Schools, weddings, non-essential shops and socialising were all key points in the Prime Minister’s plan to exit lockdown.
However, some have been wondering what the roadmap means for holidays abroad this year.
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For those itching for a summer getaway abroad, whether it be relaxing on a hot beach or exploring a vibrant city, there may be some good news.
On April 12 the Government is due to publish a travel review, which will set out guidelines for a return to free international travel.
However, there is still a wait yet, as the Government has said that a lockdown ban on most international travel will stay until at least May 17.
Despite the lack of a set-in-stone date for travel, international holiday bookings surged by as much as 600 percent following the news of coronavirus restrictions being gradually relaxed.
EasyJet said flight bookings from Britain jumped over 300 percent and holiday bookings surged by more than 600 percent week on week.
And holiday company TUI UK said that its holiday bookings surged 500 percent.
This will be welcome news for the travel industry, following months of uncertainty, cancelled bookings and restrictions.
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Despite the recent surge, some Britons are approaching the holiday season with trepidation, and are opting to stay in the UK rather than head abroad.
Paul Stewart, founder of My Baggage said: “It is great to even have international travel/holidays mentioned as part of relaxing the lockdown rules.
“No one was expecting foreign travel to open up anytime soon, so it is positive to see it may happen in the summer of 2021.
“But people are still uneasy booking anything, mainly due to how quickly things can change around COVID.
“We have seen very few holiday bookings on our system when usually we would see a large increase in January and February.
“So, whilst we welcome the news, realistically we are not sure how much help this will be for the travel industry. People are now looking to 2022 now for realistic holiday plans abroad.”
Many UK-based holiday companies have seen bookings soar in recent months as coronavirus uncertainty puts a dampener on international travel.
And the top choices seem to be Devon, Cornwall and the picturesque North Yorkshire.
Matt Fox, CEO and Founder of Rest Easy Group, home to a series of the UK’s leading holiday rental marketplaces told Express.co.uk: “Since the start of the year, we’ve seen a continuous rise in bookings week on week, last week was the biggest so far with a huge 70 percent increase.
In terms of popular locations this summer, as many as one in five bookings made are for properties in Devon or Cornwall.
“This reflects a similar trend we saw last year, as these were both 2020 British summer hotspots. As the more popular destinations get booked up, we’ll see people opting for those lesser-known, undiscovered areas of the UK.”
“As for inventory in the summer months, it’s really booking up fast.
“For example, there are only 16 percent of properties left in Cornwall available to book for certain weeks in August, and that drops to eight percent for Devon.
“In North Yorkshire and Cumbria, only 30 percent of properties are available.
“We expect that figure to decrease even further now the roadmap out of lockdown has been outlined.
“At Snaptrip, we aggregate all of the popular UK holiday agents, so these figures paint a picture of a very busy Summer.”
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