Alicante is one of the key holiday destinations favoured by British tourists as they take advantage of the UK government’s relaxation of coronavirus testing rules.
According to a survey conducted by EasyJet – a major low-cost airline operator at Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport – two thirds of Britons are dreaming of a sunny beach break holiday, and Spain is the number one destination for most holidaymakers.
“In the hours following the government announcement, the airline saw a boost in UK bookings by almost 200% per cent on average compared to the same time last week. Flights to Spanish destinations Tenerife, Alicante, Málaga and Lanzarote proved to be most in demand.”
This latest boost in demand follows the company’s December launch of a “Big Orange Sale” that put more than 1.1 million additional seats on sale from London Gatwick for summer holidays in popular destinations such as Alicante and the province’s Costa Blanca resorts.
The sale offers up to 25 per cent off selected flights, with bookingts still available until 11 January.
“We know that there is pent up demand,” said EasyJet chief commercial officer Sophie Dekkers, “with many desperate to get away this year, which we continue to see each time restrictions are removed. This survey further underlines the fact that people want to make up for lost time as soon as they can and so we welcome the government’s decision to remove the unnecessary and costly pre-departure testing for travellers, now only requiring one lateral flow test on arrival. This will make travel much simpler and easier, and means our customers can book with confidence and are hopeful that completely restriction free travel will return soon.
“With low fares, so many fantastic destinations and leading flexibility, now is a great time to book with EasyJet. We are excited about our plans for next summer, which should see us return to 2019 levels of capacity and beyond.”
Making Up for Lost Travel Time
EasyJet reported that its new research “reveals that Brits are planning more holidays than usual in 2022 and will spend more on them than ever before this year, in a bid to make up for lost travel experiences over the last two years as a result of travel restrictions”. The survey’s findings included:
- More than half of Britons (55 per cent) say they plan on taking more than two holidays this year, 50 per cent expect to go on more holidays in 2022 than they normally would, and one-third are planning to spend £1,000-plus more than usual on their 2022 holidays “as a result of having had their travel plans disrupted by travel restrictions across Europe”.
- Nearly half of those surveyed (47 per cent) plan on going on a “holiday of a lifetime” this year to make up for the past two years of less travelling, with 65 per cent prioritising a trip abroad in 2022.
- Among those surveyed, June 2019 was the last time the majority of Brits went abroad for an adventure.
New UK Government Testing Rules
The UK government’s official statement about the new rules noted that “eligible fully vaccinated passengers and under-18s will no longer need to take a pre-departure test or self-isolate on arrival in England from 4am on Friday 7 January but must continue to take their post-arrival tests.
“From 4am on Sunday 9 January, eligible fully vaccinated travellers and over-fives will be able to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR on or before day two of their arrival in England. Lateral flow tests for travel can be booked from Friday 7 January and taken upon arrival, by the end of day two.”
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said the steps being taken would make travel easier for people while protecting the UK public from the virus. “As we learn more about the Omicron variant it is right that we keep our testing and border measures under review to ensure they remain proportionate.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps added that he had always maintained that the government would not keep international travel restrictions in place any longer than they were necessary to protect public health. “That’s why we’re removing the temporary, extra testing measures we introduced for Omicron in November, making travel easier and cheaper for fully vaccinated passengers and providing a big boost for the travel industry as we enter the peak new year booking period. We want to provide more certainty to passengers and businesses, and will do a full review of our international travel measures for 2022 by the end of the month.”
Click here for up-to-date information about flight schedules for EasyJet and other airlines operating at Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport.