Julia Hartley-Brewer grills Grant Shapps on travel rules
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Many Covid-weary Britons are eager for a change of scenery as lockdown slowly begins to lift across the UK. It is hoped that holidays will return from May 17 under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown.
Ahead of holidays returning, the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce has outlined plans for a traffic light system, categorising nations based on their Covid risk.
Though the “green” nations have yet to be revealed, it seems hopeful holidaymakers are already casting their hopes on certain nations.
According to Skyscanner, in the 48 hours which followed the Global Travel Taskforce announcement, some nations are proving to be particularly popular.
The top destinations searched in the 48 hours following the announcement include United Arab Emirates hotspot Dubai, New York in the US and Spain’s Alicante.
At the time of writing, the UAE remains on England’s ‘red list’, meanwhile UK travellers are not permitted to enter either Spain or the US except for specific reasons.
Despite this, hopes are mounting that these restrictions may ease in time for summer.
“There is still a level of uncertainty around what travel will be possible in 2021, and that is keeping prices low for short-haul travel as capacity is not yet filled,” explained Martin Nolan, Skyscanner’s traveller rights expert.
“It has also led to a fluctuation in prices for places like the US which has seen renewed interest from travellers following a successful start to its vaccine rollout.
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“As the rules around travel from the UK become clearer, and airlines react by allocating planes to routes to serve demand, we expect to see attractive pricing being used by providers to compete for bookings.
“Competition between airlines and travel providers almost always benefits the traveller with better pricing and more choice.”
Though booking a holiday now comes with a certain amount of risk, Mr Nolan points out a wide-spread reduction in prices, as well as the protection new booking policies offer.
“There are some seriously attractive prices on offer as providers continue to use them coupled with flexible booking policies to encourage bookings,” the travel expert said.
On top of this attractive pricing, providers are taking steps to ensure that travellers can book with confidence.
“The introduction of flexible bookings, flash sales and one-off deals on things like extra baggage means that you could book your summer holiday or dream trip at a fraction of the cost.”
He continued: “There are a few ways to protect your booking.
“Purchasing a ‘flexible’ ticket could mean that you’re entitled to a free date or destination change if you should need it.”
Spain has already shown willingness to reopen its borders to British tourists, however, it is likely some form of vaccine passport will be in place.
Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdes has said the country is considering opening a “green corridor” for vaccinated Britons.
Meanwhile, although the UAE is on England ‘red list’, the country has resumed direct flights to and from Scotland.
The US is also showing positive signs thanks to its fast-paced vaccine rollout.
As of April 12, more than 797 jabs has been given in the US according to Bloomberg.
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