Holidaymakers with plans in the summertime are likely eager to know for certain whether their plans will go ahead, meanwhile, others may be desperate to get away on a break, after being locked up at home for the past seven weeks. Yet with the future unclear, and the government continuing to enforce draconian measures on the nation, can Britons really plan for future holidays?
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It is a particularly concerning and confusing situation for many.
On the one hand, the government remains tight-lipped on when they may allow Britons to resume normal life, with Prime Minister Boris Johnsontarvel adtravel urging the nation not to “give up” on lockdown measures.
He said: “It is vital that we do not now lose control and run slap into a second, an even bigger mountain.”
Yet, airlines such as Wizz Air are already jetting off to a number of holiday destinations from the UK, with plans to launch even more routes by June.
The low-cost carrier is already flying to Budapest in Hungary, Burgas, Varna and Sofia in Bulgaria; Lisbon in Portugal, Tenerife in Spain; and Tel Aviv, Israel from London’s Luton airport, and this morning unveiled even more destinations for the summer months.
However, with a huge chunk of the nation waiting on flight refunds for cancelled journeys, planning another holiday in the coming months might seem counterproductive.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against all but unessential travel for an “indefinite” period of time, with little suggestion that this time frame is set to budge.
For as long as this stays in place, experts from Which? say holidaymakers should think twice about booking anything.
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The expert says travellers should not book any future travel: “Unless the FCO lifts its advice against all but essential travel.“
They add: “For holidays later in the year or in 2021, you should only book if you have valid travel insurance – not just for the duration of your holiday, but from the day you book.”
Transport Minister Grant Shapps echoed a similar sentiment, saying he would not book summer holidays himself.
Speaking to Radio Four’s Today programme, Mr Shapps said: “On the travel advice – should you book your holidays? – clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks.
“I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.”
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Meanwhile, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen advised people to wait before making any travel plans.
“At the moment, no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August.
“We will need to learn to live with this virus for many months, probably until next year.
“Travellers hoping for some summer sun in the next few months are already facing uncertainty,” she said.
Despite this, a number of airlines and airports are already trialling special protective measures to help keep passengers and staff safe, which could seem like a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ahead of its resumed flight schedule, Wizz Air announced the mandatory implementation of masks for its passengers and crew, as well as the new measures to enforce social distancing.
Meanwhile, a number of US airlines including American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue and United are enforcing similar rules regarding the use of face masks.
UK carriers could likely follow suit, with Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary suggesting he is weighing up the options.
Speaking on BBC News last week he explained: “While we expect to be back flying some services in July and August, we think that the build-up will be slow, passengers will be wearing face masks, temperature checks at airports, there will be those kinds of controls.”Heathrow airport is trialling new measures of detecting COVID-19, using technology such as temperature tests and thermal screening.”
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy, the Government needs to help restart aviation.
“The UK has the world’s third-largest aviation sector offering the platform for the Government to take a lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for aviation health with our main trading partners.
“This Standard is key to minimising transmission of COVID-19 across borders, and the technology we are trialling at Heathrow could be part of the solution.”
Ant Clarke Cowell, a travel expert at Holiday Extras says their research shows a more positive outlook.
“Following our regular market research, it’s clear that holidaymakers are keen to get back to travelling with 60 percent of Brits revealing that they expect to take a holiday at some point this year,” he said.
“We’re closely monitoring announcements throughout the world as part of our ongoing analysis and we’ve have already seen a number of sensible precautionary measures suggested by airlines and governments that could mean package holidays that include flights, secure resort accommodation and transit from the airport resume fairly quickly.”
With 12 percent of Britons revealing they feel travel is safe, even despite the government’s lockdown measures, its clear holidays are at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Many borders around the world remain closed, and there is no certainty that they will reopen in the coming months.
Yet Mr Clarke Cowell says he believes countries will be working to change this.
“Countries where tourism is a big part of the economy – 20 percent in Greece and 15 percent in Spain – have a huge incentive to work together to find solutions that get people who want to travel back to their favourite destinations as soon as they can,” he said.
“There are also places that are open to tourists right now should holidaymakers be looking for a quick getaway, once the lockdown is lifted, including the likes of Sweden and the Netherlands.”
Yet the pandemic is constantly changing and developing, with experts struggling to predict its next move, making travel plans now it a bit of a risk.
Even for the most confident, it seems that keeping an eye on the government’s advice is the best way to minimise financial losses and ensure you stay protected.
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