Holidays: Covid vaccine sparks hope for travel industry as Britons book 2021 breaks now

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This week, it was revealed that a coronavirus vaccine trial had been largely successful, giving the travel industry a well-deserved boost. Online travel agents and holiday companies have since recorded a spike in interest for holidays next year. Travel agency and search engine Skyscanner saw UK searches for travel next spring and summer increase week on week by 48 percent.

Skyscanner’s Senior Global Brand Director, Jo McClintock said travellers are reacting to travel news as it happens.

She said: “Obviously, it’s early days but with the promising vaccine news hitting the headlines yesterday we did see an immediate spike in searches for travel next spring and summer.

“Our data shows a 48 percent week on week increase in all searches from the UK for travel between April 1 and August 31 2021 showing there really is a pent-up appetite for Brits to get exploring again.

“As an industry, we wholeheartedly welcome these advances in vaccine development.

“We believe this is the single biggest factor in restoring traveller confidence.

“In fact, a recent Skyscanner poll revealed that 62 percent of travel industry businesses said a readily available and proven vaccine is the most important factor in restoring this confidence.”

Since the vaccine announcement on Monday, TravelSupermarket has also seen a surge in bookings.

The site’s latest data reveals that the most popular months for travel next year are currently April and May.

Olympic Holidays also said that it had seen a “double digit” increase in holiday searches.

Managing Director of the company Michael Vinales said Greece, Cyprus and the Canary Islands seem to be the most popular destinations so far.

Nicky Kelvin, Head of Content for The Points Guy UK, has also shared his insights on what a vaccine means for the travel industry.

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He said a vaccine could potentially “restore consumer confidence” and mean seeing “quarantine-free” air travel come to fruition.

He continued: “The travel industry has been hit hard by the drop in passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic, with airlines including British Airways and easyJet cutting thousands of jobs as travel remains uncertain.

“The constantly changing quarantine lists has left international travel uncertain as where people are willing to travel for leisure often depends on the government’s weekly update.

“This has created chaos for the travel industry, with many airlines and travel agents quickly pouring into ‘open’ destinations, and at the same are forced to cancel flights and package holidays.”

Currently, the UK has a travel corridor policy in place for international travel.

Countries on the travel corridor are deemed safe enough for Britons to visit without needing to quarantine on their return to the UK.

Britons have to quarantine for 14 days on their return from countries not on the travel corridor list.

The list is reviewed on a weekly basis with countries being removed and added quite suddenly.

Mr Kelvin added: “The unpredictable and sudden nature of these announcements has a dramatic impact on consumer confidence and traffic levels.

“In response, the introduction of vaccine in order to travel would help stabilise the industry, giving global travellers the confidence to travel again.

“Implementing an effective vaccine will also boost to many destinations struggling with the effects on tourism of COVID-19.

“In short, certainty and confidence is needed for travel to rebound, and a successful vaccine could be the silver bullet to do just this.”

However, Mr Kelvin warned that there is “still a long way to go” before a vaccine is finally approved.

“There are billions of doses that would need to be administered to achieve the sort of immunity required for covid to disappear as a significant issue,” he added.

“This is likely to take some time and in the interim, we will see existing global regulations such as quarantining and requirements for negative tests in some countries and mask wearing remain compulsory.”

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