As vaccination programmes roll out all across Europe, tourism is booming again.
Tour operators are falling over themselves to welcome weary Brits for a dose of summer sun, according to CNN.
Cyprus says it'll take vaccinated Brits from May 1. Greece is planning to throw open its borders from May 14, with the Greek media declaring an "all out war" to get UK tourists into the country.
Spain, which pulled in over 18 million British travellers in 2019, and Portugal have also said they're keen to get Brits flying in as soon as it's safe to do so.
ABTA, a UK travel trade association, says that 63% of Brits are hoping to book a foreign vacation in 2021.
However, it remains illegal to leave the UK for a vacation. This week the country's transport minister, Grant Shapps, warned that it's still too soon to book a foreign trip.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared May 17 as the soonest possible date that international travel will be allowed.
That remains subject to a review from the government's global travel taskforce, due on April 12, when details on what countries are deemed safe for travel and what vaccine certification, if any, might be required.
Building traveller trust
However, that isn't stopping either the vacation planners or the tour companies.
TUI, the UK's largest travel firm, reported a 500% rise in bookings the day after Johnson announced England's route out of lockdown in February.
Thomas Cook, another travel agency in the UK, said it saw a 25% rise in enquiries about the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in the wake of its announcement about plans for vaccinated travellers.
From fully flexible booking offers to tourism officials touting falling Covid numbers, there's an undeniable effort to entice vacationers to book as soon as possible.
For Luis Araujo, president of tourism body VisitPortugal, it's definitely not too soon to lock in a vacation.
"They should book immediately," he told CNN when asked whether potential tourists should wait before booking their summer break.
Araujo points to Portugal's "Clean and Safe" stamp, which has seen over 21,500 establishments including hotels, bars, restaurants and museums comply with stringent health guidelines. More than 25,000 people were given training in 2020, with a further 12,000 already being trained this year, he said.
With a fast-falling infection rate, down to 83.2 per 100,000, Araujo is keen to point out that Portugal is coming through the worst and will soon be ready to welcome back tourists.
Clearer Covid secure credentials
Araujo is keen to emphasise that Portugal is not in competition with other countries around Europe for vaccinated tourists.Rather, that there needs to be cooperation across the European Union to provide standardized safety rules for starting travel up again safely.
"I think the competition is to build trust and get planes in the air," he said. "It's not a matter of discussing if we have five more tourists than Greece or 10 less than Spain."
Operators, too, are making their Covid secure credentials clearer as international travel gets closer.
"We have a team dedicated to making sure that our accommodation, bike and taxi providers are compliant with all applicable Covid rules and have appropriate safety measures in place, such as enhanced room cleaning between stays and physical distancing," said Simon Wrench from Inntravel, an operator that offers walking and cycling holidays in Cyprus, Spain and Slovenia.
Greece, meanwhile, is said to be prioritising vaccines for residents of 40 small islands with populations of 1,000 or fewer, including Haiki, Kastellorizo and Meganisi, before vaccinating people on popular tourist islands such as Mykonos and Crete.
The aim is to vaccinate as many people working in the tourism industry as possible, making it safer for them and for visitors in the process.
"We believe that the latest announcement from the tourism minister regarding Greece welcoming British tourists from mid-May and the protocols required for travel to Greece will help build consumer confidence ahead of the summer season," said Dimos Stasinopoulos, CEO of Epoque Collection, which has properties in Santorini and Athens.
Too early to book
Despite tourism boards and operators making every effort to prove they can safely host visitors, the fact remains that leisure travel will not be possible for some weeks at least.
Portugal remains on the UK government's "red list" of countries, from which any arrivals must spend 10 days in hotel quarantine at a cost of £1,750 (around $2,400).
While this may change, booking right now is a major risk according to Rory Boland, travel editor at consumer website which.co.uk.
"Our advice is that it is too early to book," he said. "You don't know where you can go or when you can go and booking at the moment opens you up to financial risk."
Although a unified vaccine passport is unlikely to be agreed soon, there's no denying those that can prove themselves to be immune to Covid are likely to power the travel industry for the rest of 2021 and well into 2022 as well.
The race for bookings is on.