Monday. 04.03.2024
TRAVEL

Getaway rush as Britain drops testing mandate for fully-vaccinated

Turkey, Egypt and Portugal are among the most popular short-haul destinations, while departures to the US state of Florida, Dubai, Mexico and the Caribbean have sold well for longer-haul holidays
FILED - 19 December 2016, United Kingdom, Crawley: A plane lands at Gatwick Airport who has announced it will reopen its south terminal next month, to meet expected strong demand for air travel this summer. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/dpa.
A plane lands at Gatwick Airport who will reopen its south terminal next month, to meet expected strong demand. Photo: Gareth Fuller/dpa.

Hundreds of thousands of people are embarking on a half-term getaway as Britain scraps coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated travellers.

Travel trade organisation Abta described the easing of restrictions as "a new chapter" for the industry's recovery.

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the scrapping of testing ahead of half term comes as "good news" for families.

"The UK has eased international travel measures for Covid-19 and now has one of the most free-flowing borders in the world - sending a clear message that we are open for business," he added.

Turkey, Egypt and Portugal are among the most popular short-haul destinations, while departures to the US state of Florida, Dubai, Mexico and the Caribbean have sold well for longer-haul holidays, according to Abta.

Ski resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland are also in demand.

Stansted Airport told Abta it is expecting around 200,000 passengers to depart between February 11 and 18.

Other airports to provide figures for the half-term getaway include Gatwick (186,000 passengers), Manchester (160,000 passengers), Luton (55,000 passengers), Bristol (55,000 passengers) and East Midlands (17,000 passengers).

Rules for arriving travellers

The UK's rules for arriving travellers were eased from 4 am on Friday.

People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take a post-arrival lateral flow test, which typically costs about 20 pounds each.

The requirement for unvaccinated arrivals to self-isolate has been dropped, but they still need to take tests.

Andrew Flintham, managing director for travel group Tui UK, said bookings for February half-term and Easter were now "comparable" with 2019.

Getaway rush as Britain drops testing mandate for fully-vaccinated