Peterborough tour operator braced for ‘deluge’ of holiday bookings as restrictions ease

A newly-created tour operator in Peterborough is bracing itself to handle a flood of holiday bookings as a travel ban is lifted.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 5:00 am
The logo for Sunny Heart Travel.

Covid-19 restrictions on overseas holidays are likely to be eased in the next few days and travel agencies are expecting to be inundated with customers looking to get away for the summer.

However, a traffic light system is likely to be imposed with countries placed on the green, amber or red lists based on rates of infection and the number of people vaccinated.

Steve Bentzen co-founder of Peterborough-based online tour operator Sunny Heart Travel, said: “We are gearing up for the deluge when it comes, and our website is looking great as we’ve had all this time to perfect it.

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Former Thomas Cook IT programme manager Steve Bentzen is chief executive and former Thomas Cook IT project manager Jemma Sharman is chief information officer.

“Our overseas partners are ready with Covid-safe hotels and in-resort testing assistance.”

Mr Bentzen, whose company employs a number of staff from the Peterborough-based holiday giant Thomas Cook, which collapsed two years ago, said that most bookings taken so far were for later in 2021 and next year.

Currently, favourite destinations for getaways are Turkey, Greece and the Canaries.

Mr Bentzen, a former IT project manager with Thomas Cook and who created Sunny Heart Travel with former Thomas Cook IT project manager Jemma Sharman, said: “The world is desperate for UK tourists.

“I recently returned from Egypt on business and I was stopped everywhere by people asking when were we coming back.”

He said that a lot of attention was being paid to ensuring holidays were Covid secure,

“We are offering guaranteed refunds if the holidays are cancelled due to Covid and we’ve even sourced discounted PCR tests for our customers.

“I think we have done everything we can to align to the current environment and I can assure everyone that they will be welcomed like never before wherever they go.

“Customers should ensure they book with a company that can offer them in-resort support to assist with finding a clinic.

“We have 84 resort partners all set up to help and I would suggest now is not a good time to book a DIY package.

“Instead use an ATOL protected company like Sunny Heart Travel where the money is held in a trust account, thereby guaranteeing refunds in the event of enforced cancellations.”