UK summer getaway takes off, but nothing like it before COVID

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LONDON (AP) – With UK schools now closed for the summer, airports and airlines looked a bit more normal on Saturday, although the number of families leaving for warmer climates remains far lower than before the coronavirus pandemic.

This weekend traditionally marks Britain’s great summer getaway, with airports crowded with excited children and their anxious parents heading mostly to the popular resorts in southern Europe, the Portuguese coast of the Algarve in the west to the sun-drenched island nation of Cyprus in the east.

However, with travel to and from many popular destinations facing varying and often confusing quarantine and testing requirements, it is clear that many UK families feel it is too much of a hassle and have again opted for holidays in the United Kingdom (United Kingdom).

For the second year in a row, everything revolves around the “staycation”.

Why not enjoy fish and chips and a round of mini-golf by the sea or enjoy a marshmallow over a campfire at the Latitude music festival in eastern England attended by this weekend some 40,000 people?

Festival goers at the Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Southwold, England. PHOTO: AP

Still, the number of people venturing abroad is certainly on the rise, in part due to the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines in the UK which has seen nearly 70% of the adult population receive the required two doses. and over 87% receive at least one dose.

The UK government, which has implemented a traffic light system for overseas travel, recently changed its rules to make it easier for fully vaccinated people and their families to travel. Now, anyone returning to England from ‘Orange’ List destinations – including Greece, Spain and the United States – is exempt from the government’s 10-day quarantine requirement subject to the requirements of test.

Although France is on the ‘amber’ list, anyone returning from there to England must still be quarantined for 10 days due to concerns about the beta variant first identified in
South Africa.

Industry executives said the changes had helped boost the travel industry, one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, as well as many destinations in Europe that rely heavily on British tourists.

UK airports and airlines are enjoying their busiest weekend of the year so far. London Heathrow Airport said it was expecting around 129,000 passengers. While welcome, that’s about half the number he saw two years ago.

“We look forward to welcoming even more passengers again as vaccination rates rise in the UK and abroad,” said CEO John Holland-Kaye.

Gatwick, Britain’s second largest airport, was expecting between 25,000 and 27,000 passengers a day this weekend. Again, that’s far lower than the equivalent weekend in the pre-COVID era, where he could see around 100,000 travelers per day.

Vacation company Tui said it almost doubled the number of passengers traveling Friday through Sunday compared to last weekend. It will resume flights to a range of destinations, including the Greek islands of Kefalonia and Skiathos, and Marrakech
in Morocco.

For most people in Britain, however, getting on these flights will have to wait. There is always next year.


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