Sun seekers in Calderdale set to jet off in their numbers for summer holidays

Sun seekers in Calderdale are set to be jetting off abroad in their numbers this summer.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:02 pm

Travel agents in the borough are reporting a surge in bookings for summer holidays now that coronavirus restrictions have eased, with people eager to make up for lost time having forgone a foreign break during the height of the pandemic.

Hannah Dupuy, manager of Barrhead Travel in Halifax, said: "It's a completely different picture to what we saw last January.

"There is quite a rush to snap up deals and guarantee some sunshine this year.

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Turkey is proving a popular destination.

"2022 is definitely going to be the year of the holiday because, with the testing back into the UK, confidence is fast returning and people want to make up for lost time.

"Enquiries across the business shot up over 150 per cent in the first week after travel relaxations and I think the demand is steadily increasing as the weeks go by."

Hannah says customers are keen to experience some of the fun and the sun they have missed out on over the last couple of years.

"It very much depends on demographic, and it is a big mix," she said when asked where the most popular destinations were.

Roger Benn

"We're a new store so we want to get the message across to customers about what we sell and that we're purely independent, so we can sell them anything from a package holiday to the Mediterranean, a cruise, a long-haul or something tailor-made.

"We've been doing quite a lot of holidays to Greece and Spain, Turkey is also a massive seller which I think has a lot to do with the fact that you've got amazing five-star hotels, all inclusive, that beat everything.

"Lapland for December, and future seasons, is popular too. I think families have saved their money and the family-value thing has been massive over the last two years.

"So I think they've decided they're going to take their children away with the money they've saved and have this magical experience.

Hannah Dupuy

"Also cruises, and you've got a lot of people wanting flight-only to Australia to see family they've not seen for two years."

And Hannah says the rise in demand for holidays can only be a good thing for a beleaguered travel industry.

"The relaxation on the travel testing was really good news for the travel industry, and holidaymakers because it means it's more accessible and affordable," she said.

"Travel rules are continuing to ease across Europe so that gives us confidence to be able to sell these destinations. Most of the world is open.

The team at Barrhead Travel in Halifax

"Whilst there are some specific requirements around vaccination status and certification, or proof of testing, I think people have realised that this is the way forward and if you want to travel, this is what you've got to do.

"Me and my team have undergone extensive training so we can help our customers understand what they need to do and look after them.

"We go through all the information with them, point them in the right direction with the government guidelines.

"I think it's brought people back into travel agents, people know they need a travel agent.

"None of us in this store have worked less than 25 years in travel, you can't buy that experience.

"The world is re-opening and it's bringing people back into the stores because they want that confidence that they're going to be looked after."

"People are booking because they feel confident that, whatever comes along, we can cope with it," says Roger Benn, owner of Benchmark Travel, who trade locally as the Travel Centre Mytholmroyd.

"It's taken off like a rocket.

"It's down to the restrictions being lifted, more confidence in everything and the realisation that from most people, and I accept it's still bad for some, Omicron is more like a cold, so people are trying to get away."

But Roger says people still need to be aware that levels of restrictions can vary from country to country.

"The problem in relation to where you can go is with the jabs," he said.

"For instance, the Canaries and Madeira are the most popular destinations, but there are still a number of restrictions in countries, particularly in relation to whether children from the age of 12 have been jabbed or not, which limits where you can go.

"For instance, you can't take a family to Spain unless your child of 12 or older is double-jabbed.

"So there's still that uncertainty in some people's minds, or that inability to want to go.

"But that's the restrictions now and nobody knows what the restrictions are going to be.

"Spain are saying your last jab has to be within 270 days prior to travel, so you've got to then start working out what the date of the holiday is, what the date of your jab was and are you going to have to have a fourth jab in-between?

"So there's still a bit of uncertainty in relation to different destinations, and wherever you want to go has a different set of rules.

"It does make it a bit of a nightmare but we can give the advice, so we say 'let us do the work for you and guide you through it' because things are changing all the time.

"People are coming to us because they want that piece of mind, that safeguard and that extra assurance, which is part of the service we provide."

And Roger feels the boost in trade is a vital shot in the arm for tourism and hospitality firms.

"People were getting desperate, operators and different companies, hoteliers too because without any bookings coming in they have to close down," he said.

"The travel agents are now able to look forward to a future with confidence, whereas before there was that uncertainty.

"Nobody knows what's round the corner, and something else could come along, but I think we've shown we've got the ability to be able to cope with it."