Travel industry leaders say they need “clarity” on government restrictions if they are to meet the huge pent-up demand for vacations this summer.
The government should unveil its traffic light system for international travel this week, ahead of the planned lifting of the current ban on May 17, but it is believed that the list of countries with the ‘green light’ where quarantine is not required upon their return to the UK will be limited.
Garry Wilson, managing director of easyJet Holidays, told Sky News: “Holidays are the number one thing customers really look forward to spending their money on. So we know the demand is there and we know customers want to go on vacation. “
But he added that what the industry needed was “to know which destinations customers will be able to visit, and what are the protocol protocols for visiting those destinations.”
“There is a level of uncertainty,” he said, “because consumers are unsure about things like testing requirements.”
The Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) has yet to confirm “ go-ahead ” destinations, but has dropped a few important clues after it stopped advising against non-essential travel to Portugal, in the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete and the Canary Islands.
But if uncertainty may deter many from booking vacations, for families separated by the pandemic, that’s another story.
Sisters Tamsin and Katie Crookshank have not seen each other for almost 18 months. Tamsin lives in Malta and plans to get married in August. The wedding was supposed to take place last year but had to be postponed.
She desperately hopes her family can be there this summer. “There has been a lot of talk about putting Malta on the green list,” she said, “but it’s like a carrot hanging in front of your face – and not being able to bite it.”
Sister Katie said the focus on overseas travel is too vacation-focused and not family-focused enough.
“I should be allowed to go see my sister and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. That’s what upsets me because there are so many people in our situation.”