Summer Vacation 2022: NI Travel Agencies in “Doubtless” of Return to the Sun for Families

With cold, dull weather that seems to be going nowhere and the January blues officially starting to kick in, the big question on people’s minds is whether summer vacations are on the way for 2022.

Current travel guidelines for Northern Ireland state that fully vaccinated passengers and under the age of 18 are no longer required to undergo a pre-departure test or self-isolation on arrival.

Fully vaccinated passengers will still need to complete a passenger locator form and take a test on or before day two of their arrival, but as of January 9, this test may be a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) or PCR test.

With the increasing spread of Omicron in the UK, it can be hard to say for sure if you’ll be able to fly to your favorite sunny location this summer with the minimum of fuss.

However, a number of industry experts have said that things are looking positive this year for the return of summer travel.

Travel agents Barrhead Travel, who have a shop in Victoria Square, say there are signs that confidence is returning to the holiday market in 2022.

The company reports increased interest in vacations in 2022 and a growing demand for travel before the end of March.

Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, said: “Travel will make a significant comeback in 2022, with restrictions being increasingly relaxed around the world. People have missed traveling immensely in recent years – whether for vacation, business or to reunite with loved ones

“January is traditionally the most popular time of year to book a holiday and we are already seeing a lot more confidence in the market than around this time last year. Omicron caused some uncertainty in December, but the easing of testing will go a long way to begin recovery journey.

“Our customers tell us they can’t wait for their holidays this year. One of the main hurdles has been cost testing and we are already seeing a difference in how the easing is driving confidence.”

Barrhead Travel said one in five new bookings will travel before the end of March, but expects this figure to increase in the coming weeks.

She continued: “The summer of 2022 is also selling very well as families are looking for deals, while prices and value-added offers are still available for school holidays. Availability for 2022 is likely to decline faster than usual due to demand and the volume of rescheduled bookings so we recommend anyone hoping to travel in spring or summer this year book sooner rather than later.”

A recent report by ABTA, The Travel Association, shows that 61 percent of people plan to go on holiday abroad this year.

Popular budget airline, which operates a number of flights from Belfast International Airport to top summer destinations such as Tenerife and Zante, has said their bookings for travel in 2022 have returned to “pre-pandemic levels”.


An airline spokesperson said: “Following the recent easing of travel restrictions, we saw an immediate and dramatic increase in bookings. Bookings increased by 150%, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.

“This increase in demand shows how much holidaymakers in Northern Ireland are looking forward to a much-needed holiday and there is no sign of this demand slowing down.

“We have a huge summer schedule for 2022 from Belfast International on offer which means there is still a lot of choice and flexibility when it comes to picking some sun in destinations such as Antalya, Dalaman, Crete, Rhodes, Zante, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

“With the holidays fully underway in 2022 and the protection of a package holiday proving extremely secure, we are looking forward with great confidence and the easing of these restrictions is getting the year off to a really good start for those looking to get out and about. a well-deserved vacation this summer.”

Another local travel agent, Travel Solutions Belfast, also weighed in on their forecasts for the summer, saying they have “no doubt” this year will bring a return to the sun for many families.

A spokesperson for Travel Solutions Belfast said: “We know there is a pent-up demand to book holidays and with the recent easing of testing requirements, Travel Solutions is seeing a noticeable increase in holiday requests and bookings.

“Requirements can change, so it’s important that you book with a local tour company who can provide advice, assistance and ensure that your money is safe and available for a refund if your travel plans are cancelled.

“There is no doubt that we will see travel reopening and now is the time to book before prices start to rise.”

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