A TRAVEL agents with its head office in Whittington has revealed a dramatic upturn in holiday bookings following the Government's latest Covid-19 announcement.

The Government confirmed on Wednesday, January 5 that pre-departure tests will end for fully vaccinated travellers from Friday, while day two arrival PCRs will be replaced by lateral flow tests from Sunday at 4am. These can be booked from Friday.

Polka Dot Travel, which has branches in Oswestry and across the West Midlands and North Wales, said the news was met with a stream of bookings.

Director Helen Johnson said: "We couldn’t believe it yesterday, as soon as the news broke, the phones went crazy. Customers wanted to book and fast.

"It felt like all the uncertainty had been stripped away and people wanted a holiday to look forward to.

"Many of our stores were still there processing bookings way past 9pm, our website usage increased by over 950 per cent and our Facebook messages continuous, we’d normally have closed at 5.30pm but we wanted to stay to help our customers."

The announcement was further bolstered by transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed a "full review" of international travel measures for 2022 by the end of the month.

Helen added: "We didn’t expect to see such an upturn and so quickly, it was like customers had been waiting for this moment to give them the confidence to book.

"The majority of bookings have been for travel this summer, however, there have been lots of bookings for late deals including Easter holidays, most customers won’t have had a holiday for three years or more and are really looking forward to getting back overseas again."

Alice Roberts, a returning customer, said: "I’d wanted to book to go away for Easter with my family but felt a little worried with the overseas testing. As soon as I read it was being removed I contacted the store and managed to book something at 9.30pm last night.

"We’re off to the Canaries now and the service, as always has been incredible."

Philippa Wilcox, fellow director of Polka Dot, added: "It has always been important to us to help our customers with whatever they needed and whenever they needed it.

"We’ve supported our customer throughout the pandemic and now look forward to welcoming them back to book and finally getting them overseas hassle free to enjoy quality time with their friends, families and loved ones."