Britons Book Half-Term Holidays Abroad as Travel Restrictions Ease

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
February 11, 2022 Updated: February 11, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are set to go abroad for their half-term holidays as the UK relaxed its international travel rules on Friday.

A travel company said it saw bookings “comparable” to 2019 before the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic started.

Travel association ABTA said families’ appetite for travel has been ramped up after not being able to do so for nearly two years.

From 4 a.m. Friday, those who are fully vaccinated against the CCP virus are no longer required to take tests before or after travelling to the UK. Adults still have to prove that they’re fully vaccinated, which does not include a booster dose under current rules. Passenger locater forms still have to be filled out.

Those who are not fully vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine, as long as the adults test negative within two days prior to their travel and take a PCR test on or after day 2 of their arrival.

Between Feb. 11 and Feb. 18, some 200,000 and 186,000 passengers are set to depart from London’s Stansted and Gatwick airports. Around 90,000 are expected to fly from Luton, 160,000 from Manchester, 55,000 from Bristol, and 17,000 will embark on their journey from East Midlands airport.

According to ABTA members, Turkey, the Canary Islands, Egypt, and Portugal are favourite destinations for short-haul trips, while long-distance destinations such as Dubai, Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean are also popular choices.

For those who fancy a ski holiday, resorts in France, Italy, and Switzerland are their first choices.

Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar said more than 125,000 people are booked to travel between the UK and the Continent during the school holiday.

The busiest day will be Friday, when more than 16,000 passengers are booked to travel.

Several services are sold out.

Eurostar Chief Commercial Officer Francois Le Doze said the trend “shows the potential for recovery and the appetite for travel between the UK and the Continent.”

Andrew Flintham, managing director for TUI UK, said bookings for February half-term and Easter were now “comparable” to 2019.

The ABTA survey showed that 64 percent of families with children under 16 said limited opportunities to travel due to the pandemic have made their holidays more important to them than before.

The survey also shows holidaymakers are now 30 percent more likely to book from travel professionals—50 percent for families with children under 16—primarily for the security of a package holiday (43 percent), followed by guidance with COVID-19 travel requirements (35 percent).

UK holidaymakers travelling abroad must still follow the CCP virus regulations that apply at their destination.

Spain’s requirement for children over 12 to be fully vaccinated led many UK families to cancel plans to visit the Mediterranean country over half-term.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said he hopes “other countries will soon catch up with the UK’s pragmatic approach.”

PA Media contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.