Autumn getaway more likely
The Times reported earlier this week that British holidaymakers are pinning their hopes on the “longest summer ever” as travel companies report a flood of bookings for autumn departures, as growing numbers abandon hopes of overseas summer holidays despite the success of the vaccine roll-out in the UK.
Apparently, airlines, resorts, and tour operators have all experienced a surge in demand for breaks later in the year, with reservations for autumn in some cases up 80% on 2019.
Experts say that uncertainty about the restart of foreign travel combined with Europe’s comparatively slow start to its inoculation program is one of the biggest drivers in the shift in booking patterns towards autumn. Quarantine is also expected to be imposed on travellers returning from most European destinations once travel is permitted on May 17, which operators say is still the biggest barrier for holidaymakers.
Skyscanner, which claims to be the world’s biggest flight-booking platform, told the newspaper that there had been a noticeable shift to autumn in Britons’ travel planning, with more holidaymakers seeking departures in September, October, and November this year than in 2019.
Majority of European countries will be “amber”
The Times observes that Britain’s travel sector is gearing up to send holidaymakers abroad as early as next month, but doubt remains over how many countries Britons will initially be permitted to visit without the need to quarantine on return. The same newspaper reported at the weekend that the Foreign Office may refuse to sanction travel to some countries placed on the government’s “green” list.
The government’s traffic light system, under which countries are graded depending on their safety, is due to come into force on May 17 and the initial list is to be published as late as May 10. Sources said that almost all European countries were expected to be on the “amber” list, which would allow holidaymakers to travel to Spain, France, and Greece as long as they went into quarantine for five days on return.
Travel Agent warns against booking yet
Telegraph Travel reports that a travel agent has warned its customers not to book a summer holiday until the Government has given more detail on its traffic light system. Lee Hunt, managing director of Deben Travel, says he is dissuading his customers from booking at the moment, again indicating a shift towards autumn getaways.
There has been lots of positive spin in the press recently from Spain, Portugal and Cyprus on the prospect of a British return this summer. There also has been confirmation that the NHS app will be used as a Covid passport for foreign travel, however, “there is still so much uncertainty,” the travel agent said. “We are actively putting customers off booking for this summer until the list of green countries is announced along with the associated rules. We then hope to see an influx of bookings.”
As reported here, Jet2, one of the UK’s largest holiday airlines, has already cancelled all flights up until June 24. In a statement it said it looked forward to “clarity [from the Government] about when we can fly, where we can fly to, and how much a Covid-19 testing regime will cost”.
A new tab has been added to the top of each page with a link to resources dealing with COVID-19 in Madeira – this covers the latest government regulations on travel to the island, how to get a PCR test, and many other links that will be useful to people wanting to travel to and from Madeira.
COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found on an earlier post.
Vaccinations in Madeira: previous updates can be found on an earlier post.