UK’s summer getaway takes off but nothing like pre-COVID

London, Jul 24 (AP):
With all British schools now closed for the summer, airports and airlines were looking a tad more normal on Saturday, though the number of families heading off for warmer climes remains way down on the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
This weekend traditionally marks the high point of the great summer getaway from Britain, with airports jam-packed with excitable children and their anxious parents heading off, primarily, to the popular beach resorts of southern Europe, from Portugal’s Algarve coast in the west to the sun-soaked island nation of Cyprus to the east. However, with travel to and from many popular destinations facing varying quarantine and testing requirements, it’s clear that many British families think it’s all too much hassle, not to say costly, and have opted again to holiday within the UK.
For the second year running, it’s all about the so-called staycation”. What’s not to like about fish and chips and a game of crazy golf by the seaside and marshmallows over a campfire? Still, the numbers venturing abroad are certainly on the up, partly as a result of the UK’s rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines that has seen nearly 70% of the adult population receive the requisite two doses. That’s important for Britain’s travel sector, one of the worst affected during the sector, as well as many destinations in Europe which have relied heavily on the millions of British holidaymakers heading south.
Gatwick Airport, Britain’s second-busiest airport, said it expects to see around 250 to 260 departures a day. Though the concourses are not as busy as in pre-COVID times when four times as many flights took off, the weekend represents a marked pick-up. At the height of the pandemic, which effectively saw all nonessential travel to and from the UK banned, the airport was dealing with just 15 or so flights a day.

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