By Martin Wellings Director at PST Ltd – Travel Agents Grove Road.

It was certainly good to hear the government announcement of the “Road Map” to the end of current lockdown, but would rather call it the Route Map which is more appropriate to flying to foreign destinations.

I am sure we are all looking forward to actually being able to get away this summer, but as much as I welcome the resumption of travel, I do have to caution people of rushing into booking just at the moment as although the 17th of May is the date when travel can start, it is the date decreed as the earliest date not the 100% definite date. We are not out of the woods yet however and there are still some hurdles in the way before it is sensible to commit for travel this year.

We have to be sure that there is no chance of having to go into quarantine when we get back from holiday – this would severely dent the enjoyment and the finances. We then come to the other issue of which countries actually let us in, as irrespective of our government’s laws, there are currently many countries that will not allow foreign visitors at present.

So much for the potential downside but let us look at it more positively. I think that the nearer we get to Easter the clearer things will look and that includes the countries who will let us in, as with tourism being such an important part of their economy, you can bet that they are going to welcome us back as soon as possible.

It is certainly welcome news that the government seems to have at last woken up to the fact that we are going to need proof of vaccinations for travel abroad, as many countries are likely to demand this and indeed airlines and cruise companies might well insist on this before boarding. Many airlines are at present insisting on a Covid test 72 hours before boarding, but hopefully this will be dispensed with once we can show that we have been inoculated. Apart from the cost, I find it amazing that here in Eastbourne there is nowhere to get this done, so the nearest place is either Gatwick or Brighton.

To sum up, by all means browse for holiday ideas, but hold off booking until later next month when the position should be a lot clearer – not just by our government, but governments abroad. I also think that we are probably going to be safer in travelling within Europe or worldwide destinations that are going to be better vaccinated than some of the more out of the way places.