A TOWN centre travel agents is taking off after a ‘big surge’ in bookings following the easing of restrictions for internal travellers.

Don Bircham, the managing director of Hays Travel (North West) which has almost 50 branches across the region, said the changes announced by the UK government has opened the floodgates to meet the 'pent up' demand for summer holidays in the sun.

Popular destinations included Greece, Turkey, Spain, the Balearic and the Canary islands along with Florida.

There was also a spike in demand for cruises.

The experience of Hays Travel is similar to Jet2, who said that demand has returned to ‘around pre-Covid levels’.

EasyJet also saw a 200 per cent increase in booking.

According to Don, the easing of restrictions on foreign travel was the best news the industry had had in a long time.

It had also provided a massive boost for families desperate to escape the ‘long haul’ of the pandemic and has given them the confidence to think about travelling abroad again.

Don said: “The first part of January was very slow but there has been a massive surge in bookings after the news from the UK Government that travel restrictions were being eased.

“The fact that you only need a lateral flow test on return rather than a pre departure test and a PCR on return has given customers the confidence to fly again.

“In normal times this is our busiest period because of the January blues after Christmas so the next fix is to get that summer holiday book and have something to look forward to.

“With the announcement about the easing of the testing rules, we’re really optimistic that there are better times ahead.”