Bookings for ex-‘red list’ Mexico and Thailand surge as world opens up to UK travellers

·2-min read
Cancun is seeing a big rise in interest from UK travellers seeking some winter sunshine  (Pixabay)
Cancun is seeing a big rise in interest from UK travellers seeking some winter sunshine (Pixabay)

Demand is soaring for travel to countries that have just come off the UK’s “red list”.

Forty-seven countries were removed from the list at 4am on Monday, meaning arrivals from those locations will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of up to £2,285 per person.

Booking websites have reported surging interest in travel to countries like Mexico and Thailand, which are among those opening up, as UK-based travellers plan long-haul holidays or long-awaited trips to see loved ones.     

Following the government’s announcement on the red list changes last Thursday evening, Skyscanner reported a 60 per cent rise in traffic in subsequent three hours compared with the same period the previous week, according to the MailOnline. 

Specifically, the bookings website saw a 126 per cent rise in searches to Mexico compared with the previous day. There was a 112 per cent rise in searches for Thailand, while “everywhere” was the third most popular search on the website. 

Watch: COVID-19: Travel between UK and dozens of destinations now easier after red list cut to just seven countries

Last week the Standard reported how some airlines had seen bookings to some destinations more than double in the days up the Thursday’s announcement, as anticipation over the expected opening up of long-haul travel grew.  

Stephanie Boyle, global travel industry expert for Skyscanner, said: “We are expecting to see a significant and immediate uptick in demand and with searches and bookings on Skyscanner ahead of key holiday moments like October half-term and the peak winter sun period. 

“As well as holiday travel, we will see increases in bookings for those looking to visit loved ones over the festive period. This change in rules will driver long-term planning, and we expect to see searches and bookings for the remainder of the year and into 2022 rise sharply as a result.”  

Since last Thursday the top booked holiday destinations are Dubai, Tenerife and Alicante. Unaffected by the latest travel rule changes, Spain remains the most searched-for country - but South Africa and Thailand are among several former “red list” countries which have moved into the top 20 searched destinations. 

Emma Coulthurst, from the holiday price comparison websites TravelSupermarket and, told MailOnline: “Mexico - in particular the Caribbean coast and the resort of Cancun - and Cape Verde are the two stand out countries which have seen increased holiday interests.”

Just seven countries remain on the red list - Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Further to those changes, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has lifted its advice against non-essential travel to a further 42 countries and territories due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This follows the removal of travel advisories to 41 locations last week.

The changes make it easier for people to obtain travel insurance for trips to those destinations.

Watch: Holiday travel surge: Travel boom expected in December

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