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Spain, France and Portugal were all hit with sudden travel corridor changes just weeks after the UK Government gave the green light for Britons to jet off for some much-needed sun. Holidaymakers already abroad faced a race against the clock to return home before quarantine rules kicked in.
Meanwhile, those with holidays ahead now faced cancelled plans and, in some cases, a fight for refunds.
Yet, it seems that these rapidly changing rules are also having another concerning outcome.
In the hours that follow the news, flight costs have reportedly skyrocketed.
In the case of Portugal, on Monday, August 31 and Tuesday, September 1 directly following travel corridor changes, Skyscanner found redirect booking volumes for one-way flights departing from Portugal to the UK were 145 percent higher than the average compared to the previous two weeks.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Jon Thorne, a travel expert from Skyscanner revealed the impact these Government regulations are having on the cost of travel.
“Changing guidance on destinations has a small but immediate effect on travel prices,” said Mr Thorne.
He added that fluctuations are often noticeable when announcements are made.
The expert says that the increase in price could also be linked to the fact that many flights are being booked at the last minute.
“We have always seen last-minute travel more expensive than say, a month in advance,” he said.
What’s more, Skyscanner believes the stop-start regulations are a cause for concern when it comes to consumer confidence.
“The insights we have show the changing guidance on travel has meant that UK holidaymakers are more reluctant to plan a holiday abroad to destinations which might have quarantine restrictions imposed on them,” he explained.
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However, the travel expert offered a slither of hope for holidaymakers thinking of travelling to some of the nations still on the travel corridor list.
“It’s often the case that prices are still lower than average for this time of year,” he said.
Of course, travelling abroad to any destination still carries the risk of quarantine.
Even if a nation is given the green-light for travel, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has warned that it doesn’t rule out sudden quarantine.
“I must say regardless of where you’re going, and having been caught out on this myself, everybody will be travelling with their eyes open this summer because this virus is incredibly unpredictable,” he said in a televised interview with BBC Breakfast.
“More so in countries where we don’t have any control over the way the response is being handled.
“So people should always be prepared if they are going away to think about what would happen if a country then did require quarantine on return.”
This is why Mr Thorn believes price comparison sites are “instrumental” once ticket costs being to suddenly surge.
“Over the last few months some travellers have been faced with the need to get back from their holidays quite quickly, and that’s where Skyscanner has been instrumental for lots of people,” the expert continued.
“We give our travellers as much detail as possible so that they can make the best decision for them. It’s wise to stay abreast of the situation and have a ‘plan b’ in mind, as well as being prepared to act quickly should guidance change.”
However, amid the risks, Mr Thorn believes that some good has come from usual holiday hotspots being axed.
“We have seen the UK travel community harness the flexibility offered by many travel providers along with very competitive pricing to maximise their holidays over the past few months,” he said.
“Travellers have never been more adaptive in their mindset, with most people waiting until very close to departure to book, when they’re confident that they can travel within Government guidelines.”
Despite this, he still believes there are more ways the Government can team up with the travel industry to help keep holidays thriving.
“The coronavirus pandemic has definitely had an effect on traveller confidence, and Skyscanner welcomes the suggestion that the Government may be exploring the use of airport testing measures,” he said.
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