The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
Last week a debate was held in the main House of Commons regarding the roadmap for the aviation, travel and tourism industries, following a petition calling on the Government to outline a plan for future travel and to help save jobs.
MPs from across the political divide urged the Government to do more to support the travel industry if UK restrictions are not eased later this month. Issues raised also included the testing requirements to return back to the UK, irrespective of vaccine status, the confusing messages around amber travel (can we or can’t we), and sector specific support, including the extension of furlough for the airline and travel industry. We wait in anticipation to hear an outcome.
When are we expecting the next travel review/announcement?
Given the most recent update was on June 3, we expect the next one to be on or around June 24, however, this has yet to be confirmed. If the next review is conducted in the same manner as the last one, it will mean countries will change lists five days after the update, meaning more destinations could be added or removed to the green list on June 29.
Where are the current green list destinations?
It consists of Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands that are British Overseas Territories. Entry to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands is severely restricted. If you are wanting to get away for some sunshine, Gibraltar is really the only viable option at the moment from the green list, but with approximately only 700 hotel rooms on the peninsula, availability is limited and it is advised to book early.
I have a summer booking for Turkey, which is classed as red, will this be cancelled?
The airlines and tour operators such as TUI, Jet2holidays and Easyjet have advised they will not travel to red destinations and so if you are due to travel imminently it is likely the holiday will be cancelled. However, as updates are expected every three weeks we expect the suppliers to cancel in departure date order. So, if you are due to travel later in the year, you may have to wait for further reviews.
We are asked frequently what most of our customers are doing if they have a holiday booked for this summer and it goes without saying that the current restrictions and hassle of testing requirements and paperwork is encouraging many customers to defer their holiday overseas to later in the year and even next summer. Around 70 per cent of existing bookings are changing and the remaining are hopeful they may be able to get away this summer. Demand is very strong for new bookings for 2022, and of course the demand for a “staycation” this summer is extremely high, with little availability for the summer school holidays, and what is left for the UK is highly priced as the better priced options are mainly fully booked. Most customers are still wanting to have something to look forward to, even if this is for next year, and of course with everyone having the same idea, 2022 availability is changing all the time. If you are unsure about your booking, we advise you to contact your travel provider and they will be able to discuss your options.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]