BRITS will be rushing to return to holidays abroad at popular European destinations this summer, according to Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary.
The low-cost airline founder explained that thanks to the vaccination rollout programme, destinations including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece can expect to see UK travellers again in time for the summer holidays.
He explained on BBC's Today programme that with the UK aiming to vaccinate all over 50s, along with Europe planning similar goals by the end of June, he expects a "strong recovery of beach holidays and family holidays going to Europe this summer".
He said, once the vaccination reduces the number of coronavirus-related deaths: "We expect to see a very strong return of British families travelling to the beaches of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece in relative safety this summer thanks to the vaccine programme."
Mr O'Leary added: "I think [there will be a] strong return to travel and normality for the travel sector by the end of 2021."
Despite this, ministers have warned against holidays abroad this summer just yet.
Cabinet minister Liz Truss said current rules which require quarantine and negative Covid tests would likely be "quite permanent" and it was " far too early" to make decisions on summer holidays.
She told LBC: "We have to just focus on step by step and summer holidays, I’m afraid, are a lower priority than getting kids back to school."
She added: "If there is one thing we have learnt during the coronavirus crisis so far, is how unpredictable things are, what things could emerge.
“I think it would be very dangerous for a government minister to [make] promises about people’s summer holidays."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also said that summer holidays abroad may be unlikely but that a UK staycation is instead the best bet.
He told BBC Politics East: "In six months we'll be in the middle, I hope, of a happy and free Great British summer."
Covid vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi warned it was "too early" to be booking summer holidays.
Even if holidays abroad can return by the summer, Mr O'Leary warned that there will be "less capacity there to be able to accommodate that demand".
This follows a number of airlines going bust in recent years, including Flybe, Air Berlin and Thomas Cook, which relaunched last year, as well as airlines massively reducing their flight schedules such as EasyJet and British Airways.
Less capacity for passengers can mean more expensive flights, as there will be more competition for the few seats available.
Yet with travel restrictions including negative coronavirus tests, mandatory quarantines and quarantine hotels, families are likely to face a pricier trip anyway.
Instead, staycation holidays are seeing a huge boom in bookings, with families opting to stay in the UK for their next trip.
April holidays during the Easter half term have jumped in price following demand – holiday parks including Center Parcs, Butlin's and Haven are seeing prices jump as much as £1,520.
We've rounded up some of the best staycation breaks you can still book for the UK.
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