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Covid-19: Thousands head overseas on holiday as rules ease

Thousands of British holidaymakers have begun taking advantage of the easing of lockdown rules on overseas travel.

Travellers from England, Scotland and Wales are jetting off to some countries in what the crisis-hit tourism industry hopes is the start of a recovery.

Travellers can now visit 12 countries on the government’s green list, including Portugal and Israel, without isolating on their return.

The bosses of British Airways and Ryanair said confidence was returning.

The vast majority of tourist destinations remain on the amber and red lists, meaning travellers must quarantine when they get back.

Bookings also remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.

However, BA chief executive Sean Doyle told the BBC that the airline’s six flights due to depart from Heathrow on Monday to “green” destinations such as Lisbon, Faro and Madeira were “very busy”.

He said the latest relaxation of restrictions was “a small step in the right direction”.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said there were definite signs of an early rebound in travel to European destinations.

Bookings are up from 500,000 a week in early April to 1.5 million a week now. “The rate of bookings suggests there is a huge amount of confidence,” he told BBC Breakfast. “We are very optimistic for the next couple of months.”

By BBC NEWS