The Brits are back: thousands heading to Turkey

Thousands of Britons are booking holidays to Turkey after the UK simplified rules for international travel.

On Friday, Britain scrapped the need for vaccinated passengers to take covid-19 tests on arrival from low-risk countries. From October 4, they will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test, instead of the costly PCR tests, which could set a family back hundreds of pounds.

Under new rules, the red, amber and green rankings are scrapped, and destinations will be designated either low or high risk. Previously high-risk countries, including Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Egypt, will be removed from the high-risk category.

The decision means that vaccinated people returning from Turkey won't need an expensive and time-consuming quarantine, and can instead head home to quarantine for 10 days after their holiday.

The changes which come into effect on Wednesday, have prompted a booking frenzy as British people book autumn breaks. 

Holiday company TUI said it saw an "uptick" in bookings for Turkish holidays, after a summer spent languishing in the "red" category. TUI managing director Andrew Flintham said the rules revision was a positive step forward, and would provide "much-needed reassurance" to Brits looking to book breaks. also reported a step-up in demand after the rules were relaxed. "There has been an immediate and massive surge in bookings for flights and package holidays on the back of this welcome news for holidaymakers in England," said CEO Steve Heapy.'s bookings had leaped by more than 250% as holidaymakers sought to take advantage of the autumnal sunshine in warmer countries, as Britain cooled down, Heapy said, with Turkey proving “exceptionally popular". 

Skyscanner also reported a spike in traffic after the announcement, and "huge increases" in searches for destinations like Turkey and the Maldives. 

Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TURSAB) has said at least 200,000 Britons are predicted to arrive in the coming three-month period.  

Turkey's travel operators, hotels and tourist-reliant spots have sorely missed British tourists, who make up a significant share of the country's tourism industry. 

Of all the red-list countries, Turkey was the most popular with Brits, before the pandemic attracting more than two million holidaymakers each year. 

“A large number of our guests from the UK who miss Turkey and want to have a vacation in our country, were waiting for this decision,” a TURSAB spokesperson said. 


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