By Martin Wellings, who has been in the travel industry locally for more than 50 years
This is the usual time for travel companies to advertise their holidays, but this is hardly a usual time in the era of Covid 19, so I do really wonder why they are spending money advertising holidays that may not actually operate.
My view has been for a long time, that it is inadvisable to book anything at the moment until the outlook is more certain, unless you are booking for at least a year ahead.
Some of the prices might indeed look tempting, but if the holiday does not operate it could mean a long time before refunds are forthcoming.
On top of this, whilst actual flights might operate, some of the attractions that you are going to see are closed or the government might impose a sudden requirement for you to quarantine when you get back.
I am going to do a bit of crystal ball gazing, and whilst I know no more about viruses than the next man, I can speak with the benefit of over half a century in the travel industry and believe that the following can be reasonably expected.
1. It is very unlikely that any foreign travel will be possible this side of Easter.
2. When foreign travel does start, it is likely to start with Europe rather than world-wide. The most likely scenario is that we will have to wait many more months before we can visit the less developed countries, as they will be behind us with inoculations, and without these we may have to quarantine when we get back.
3. It is highly likely that all cruise companies, and probably airlines, will insist on proof of having the Covid 19 vaccine before boarding as it will give protection plus give reassurance to fellow travellers.
4. When travelling, as we are going to have to provide evidence of being inoculated the government, in conjunction with other nations, need to sort this one out as a matter of urgency. Many countries in the past where viruses such as Smallpox or Yellow Fever were endemic, insisted on proof of inoculation, so it was routine to carry an International Vaccination Certificate in with your passport.
Finally, the one thing where I am certain and do not need a crystal ball, is that there will be a pent-up demand and a foreign holiday will be even more important as soon as we are able to go. Brits want sunshine!
Martin Wellings Director at PST Ltd – Travel Agents Grove Road.