Holiday sites see increase in UK demand for trips to Sri Lanka

Friday, 24 September 2021 01:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Travel experts anticipate a “large increase in bookings this weekend” for foreign trips to Sri Lanka and several other destinations, according to a report in UK’s Daily Mail.

Few days before UK removed Sri Lanka from the ‘Red List’ and cancelled the traffic light scheme, the Daily Mail quoting Expedia said the rise in interest for Sri Lanka was 20% from a year ago. As per a survey, Britons’ sought-after destination was Mexico, for which interest was up 70%, and the Maldives up 30%. All three countries were previously in UK’s Red List.

“Overall, Mexico has proven the most popular destination with the greatest interest of approximately 70% this month when compared to this time last year. We also saw an interest increase of 30% for the Maldives and 20% for Sri Lanka,” an Expedia spokesman told MailOnline.

“No doubt these surges are a result of the upcoming update that the need for expensive PCR tests for the double vaccinated will be scrapped – saving travellers money and putting their minds at ease when booking their next holiday,” the Spokesman had said ahead of the changes by UK.

“This surge in interest also shows that the public is confident to travel abroad when these guidelines lift and eager to explore these once-in-a-lifetime destinations.”

Skyscanner said that in the last full week of 6 to 13 September, it had seen a 92% increase for all economy, return searches by UK traveller.  

It added that in terms of upcoming October half-term week, weekly booking volumes for trips in half-term had increased by 22% in the last week.

A survey of more than 2,000 British adults, conducted last week by Skyscanner and OnePoll, found that 43% would be more likely to book travel abroad if the current system was changed. It also found that 36% still found the traffic light system confusing.

Emma Coulthurst from TravelSupermarket told MailOnline: “In the last few weeks, we have seen a rise in people searching and booking holidays for September and October. We anticipate it is people who did not make plans this summer abroad but spent their holiday time in the UK due to the rule changes coming late.” 

She said prices to Spain for this month and next were 38% down compared to the same period in 2019 – adding that the country had really suffered from a lack of demand because of its position on the amber list.

Coulthurst added: “We are expecting a surge in holiday interest on the back of the expected simplification of the travel rules. Despite being on the red list, so far this month, Turkey has still been the fourth most popular country to compare package holiday prices for via TravelSupermarket for a holiday from the UK in September and October – dropping from third place in 2019 at this time. 

“This just shows the pent-up demand to travel to this low-cost, warm late summer destination and suggests that people had been hoping that it would turn amber in the last traffic light update. People are still searching for holidays there in the hope of a traffic light change.”

MailOnline article also quoted Regional Manager Ryan Pearson as welcoming UK Government’s announcement, which should simplify international travel, whilst at the same time keeping people’s safety a priority. For the first time in a long time, there seems to be a real sense of optimism amongst Brits on future travel.

“In light of the vaccine rollout and with many of us eager to experience the world once again, it is no surprise that we have started to see an increase in international booking searches – even if these trips are being booked last minute as people wait to see if Government guidance changes.

“Our Q2 room nights (bookings) were up 59% versus Q1 and we see this driven by domestic and international booking trends across Europe. It’s really encouraging to see travel reopening as people across the nation get ready to explore the world once more.”

Skyscanner said it had seen a 92% increase in the last full week for return searches by UK travellers with Dubai, ‘everywhere’, Alicante, Malaga and Dublin in the top spots, while interest in Turkey had also seen an uptick.