London travel agents are confident that the British interest in holidays in Cyprus and in the Mediterranean in general will continue to intensify as it has been since Monday, after the presentation of the exit roadmap from the lockdown presented by Boris Johnson.
Announcements from major travel agencies, such as Jet2 and Thomas Cook, have included Cyprus among the most in-demand destinations this week.
The experienced director of the well-known travel agency Sunvil and for a number of years the president of the British travel agents Noel Iosisfidis confirmed speaking to KYPE the increased interest in Cyprus.
As he said, the rates of increase of bookings for Cyprus and in his own office and in large airlines and organizations are in fact of the order of 300% or even 1000% and in relation to the previous weeks. But he noted that the growth rates are high because so far the bookings were minimal.
“There was a week when we only had two people to make a reservation,” Mr. Iosifidis explained.
However, he estimated that “as the days go by, the British confidence in the prospect of a vacation will increase” and therefore he expects a “steady flow” of bookings for the summer.
He also noted that 80% of bookings for Cyprus have been made by citizens over the age of 60, which means that the additional confidence created by the progress of the vaccination program in Britain, which has already covered those over 65, also plays an important role. .
Most of the reservations of the last three days to Cyprus concern August and September, followed by July and then October. It is noted that Boris Johnson set May 17 as the first possible date for the resumption of leisure travel abroad.
Bookings for June, on the other hand, are almost non-existent, as the British want to be as confident as possible that they will not see their plans overturned again.
According to agents of the British tourism industry, along with the new bookings, there are also cancellations of bookings that were postponed from last year for April and May this year and this also affects Cyprus.
The good thing about Cyprus, however, is that it has regular fans and visitors. Data from smaller travel agencies so far show that 70% of new bookings are from regular customers.
In this, as Mr. Iosifidis comments, Cyprus is lucky, because in his view the attraction of new visitors from the British market becomes more difficult due to the lack of visibility of the country at this time.
“If you look at competing countries, such as Spain, Portugal and especially Greece, they have already stated that they will be ready in May. Greece is currently considered a market leader with its initiatives. “We have already seen the promotion of these countries in Britain, something that has not been done to the same degree for Cyprus”, concluded Mr. Iosifidis.
British travel industry officials are urging the government to speed up the opening of tourism, but in any case say they are encouraged by the fact that there is now a roadmap and sound hopes that the timetables will be met this time around.
Heathrow Airport CEO John Hollande-Kay said the British “can definitely start planning their summer holiday”.
The government, however, is clearly more restrained. Home Secretary Pretty Patel said Wednesday afternoon that “it is too early, too early yet” for the British to begin booking. He stressed that the implementation of each stage of lifting the restrictions will be judged by the epidemiological data that will prevail at that time.