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Leading travel group, Barrhead Travel, has welcomed the recent changes to travel testing requirements and say that confidence will return to the market during 2022 after confirming an increase of almost 100% in weekly holiday enquiries.

The Glasgow-based travel firm has reported an increased interest in 2022 holidays as well as a growing demand for travel before the end of March, following some uncertainty during December. They cite the changes to travel testing and the continued relaxation of restrictions across Europe as they key drivers of consumer confidence.

Top destinations for travel during 2022 reported by Barrhead Travel include Florida, Tenerife, Turkey, Majorca and Barbados and the agency say that they anticipate a steady release of pent-up demand as the year progresses.

Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, said:

“Travel is set to make a significant comeback in 2022 with restrictions continuing to ease across the world. People have dearly missed travelling over the last few years – whether that be for holidays, business or to reunite with loved ones.

“January is traditionally the most popular time of year to book a holiday and we’re already seeing much more confidence in the market than this time last year. Omicron caused some uncertainty during December but the relaxation on testing will go a long way to kickstart travel recovery. Our customers are telling us that they can’t wait for their holidays this year. One of the primary barriers was testing costs – so to see the testing reduced is welcome for the industry and welcome for travellers.

Barrhead Travel say that one in five new bookings are due to travel before the end of March but anticipate this figure will accelerate over the coming weeks. Dobson continued:

“Before Omicron, bookings for very last-minute holidays were on the rise – that trend naturally slowed down during December because of uncertainty and increased restrictions. Now, we expect to see a higher demand for late departures.

“Summer 2022 is also selling very well as families are looking to secure deals while prices and added-value offers are still available for school holiday dates. Availability for 2022 is likely to dwindle faster than usual due to demand and the volume of rescheduled bookings so we’re recommending that anyone hoping to travel in spring or summer this year should book sooner, rather than later.

The demand for holidays in 2022 is echoed in a recent report by ABTA, The Travel Association. According to their Travel in 2022* report, 61% of people intend on holidaying abroad this year.  And, almost half of holidaymakers plan on spending more money on their holidays.

Dobson said customers were “making up for lost time” and choosing to upgrade their trips:

“Holidaymakers are spending more on their holidays and choosing to upgrade rooms, flights and hotels – demonstrating that travel is at the top of many people’s agendas this year. Average holiday duration has also increased from seven nights to 14 nights as holidaymakers maximise their annual leave.

“More than anything, customers want to make that their hard-earned money is protected and are looking for advice from local reputable travel agents. Our stores are pleased to be supporting their loyal customers but are also welcoming a new demographic – most notably, from Gen Z and Millennials who are seeking the expertise of a travel adviser.”

Barrhead Travel has over 85 stores across the UK and their “Big Holiday Sale” is now on. Find your local store by visiting www.barrheadtravel.co.uk