Travel agents see demand soar for an escape from lockdown

PUBLISHED: 08:05 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:06 02 July 2020

Nicholas Lee, who runs Broadland Travel. Pic: submitted

Nicholas Lee, who runs Broadland Travel. Pic: submitted

Travel firms in Norfolk are seeing holiday bookings for home and abroad take flight – with discounts if you’re quick.

Rachel Garnish, who runs an independent travel agency. Pic: submittedRachel Garnish, who runs an independent travel agency. Pic: submitted

Agents have seen a real upturn in demand since travel restrictions were eased – both for far flung destinations such as safaris in Kenya, and those much closer to home.

Those working in the travel agency industry, which has suffered in recent years due to rising popularity of online booking, say they are seeing a welcome return in business.

They say people want more support when booking holidays because of coronavirus and someone they can talk to in the event of a problem.

Nicholas Lee, director of Broadland Travel, North Walsham, said he was busy but that he was working alone, with his two members of staff currently still furloughed.

A caravan holiday in Caister-on-Sea is available for just £24 per person, based on six sharing. Pic: ArchantA caravan holiday in Caister-on-Sea is available for just £24 per person, based on six sharing. Pic: Archant

He said the enquiries were a real mix, with some people looking to go abroad in the next month, others booking a big holiday for 2021 and some just wanting a weekend in Norfolk.

“The deals are there but they sell out quickly,” he said. “I was offering a week’s safari in Kenya, staying on a beach, for £1,399 per person and they’ve all gone. A lot of people are asking for holidays in Norfolk or the UK and we’ve got good deals on Suffolk hotels, the Cotswolds or the Scottish Highlands.

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“We do have older customers whose passports have expired and they can’t travel abroad. You are also getting a lot of added value - there’s a holiday to Tenerife where you can go for a week for £404 self catering or £421 all inclusive.”

Discounts at travel agents ranged from a week in Agios Georgios, Corfu, for £215 per person, more than half the usual price of £440, in September to eight nights in Bali, with a stop over in Singapore flying with Emirates for £1,249, with flights, accommodation and breakfast included, travelling between April 9 and May 28, 2021.

Rachel Garnish, who runs Norfolk-based RG Travel online travel agency, who deals with long-haul, specialist holidays, said there were many add-ons being offered, such as free room upgrades or all inclusive packages for the price of half board. A Maldives trip she had just quoted for a customer was now £1,000 off since a week ago.

“I think people will start using travel agents again, they just want someone to answer the phone, they don’t mind waiting for a holiday but they just want someone to speak to and give them an update.”

The getaway deals:

• Weekend in a Haven Holidays caravan in Caister-on-Sea, based on six sharing: £24 per person

• A week in Agios Georgios, Corfu, in an apartment: £215 per person, flying in September

• All inclusive one week in Tenerife flying from Norwich on December 12: £421 per person

• Eight nights in Bali with a one night stop-over in Singapore, all flights, accommodation and bed and breakfast: £1,249 per person

• A night in a Cotswolds hotel, with a money off dinner, for £75

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