10:04 GMT27 January 2021
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    As the UK remains locked down with heavy restrictions placed on travel, the mass vaccine rollout has seen an injection of confidence for those first in line for the jab.

    Holiday firms say that a spike in holiday bookings by older people is thanks to the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations across the UK.

    While vacations have declined massively due to the pandemic, a sharp rise in Covid-19 jabs has seen those at the front of the inoculation queue booking long-anticipated trips.

    TUI, the largest tour provider in the UK, said on Thursday that bookings in 2021 so far have largely been made by people over 50.

    Managing Director Andrew Flintham said that this was a demand “wasn’t coming through” before and added that it's likely “on the back of the positive vaccine news.”

    “Customers long for a sunshine break later in summer, particularly in Greece, Turkey, or the Balearics."
    “And many Brits want to get away for longer this year, opting for 14, 10 or 11 nights instead of seven to make up for not having a holiday in 2020," he continued.

    Coach company National Express has seen its holiday business – which is primarily used by pensioners – increase threefold for 2021's spring and summer period compared with the same point last year.

    It said that UK breaks are primarily being booked due to uncertainty around international travel and quarantine rules upon arrival in other countries.

    “Ninety-eight percent of our customer base is over 65 and we’ve seen an increased appetite for travel in the last week or two with an uplift in inquiries and bookings every time there’s been an announcement about new vaccine approvals and the rollout programme," said National Express' Head of Holidays and Travel Jit Desai.

    She explained that some bookings were "postponed travel carried over from last year" but "there’s definitely a trend of customers being comfortable that they will have had their vaccination and be protected from spring onwards, so can start to make travel plans."

    “Some are telling us that they’ve already had their jab and can’t wait to go on holiday once guidance allows again."

    Domestic holiday destinations such as the Cotswolds, the Isle of Wight, York, and the Lake District are the most popular planned destinations this year.

    The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the UK’s travel industry and seen demand for holidays plummet as restrictions and government advice limits movement. Thousands of jobs in the sector have also been lost.

    Leisure travel remains banned due to ongoing lockdown rules.

    Britain has started vaccinating NHS staff, care home residents, and people over the age of 80 as a priority, with the rest of the population to follow. 

    holiday, coronavirus, COVID-19
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