With Coronavirus vaccines providing some hope of a normal summer, many Brits are starting to think about booking holidays for a much-desired getaway, after around a year of Coronavirus restrictions.
Current data shows that Coronavirus case and death rates in the UK are continuing to fall significantly, while around 1 in 4 adults in the UK have now had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. There are though mixed messages regarding whether or not to book a summer holiday, either as a staycation in the UK or a getaway abroad.
While much remains uncertain around the Coronavirus pandemic, here is a look at what might be reasonable to expect for holidays in 2021…
What have politicians said regarding booking holidays?
The UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps appeared to indicate on Wednesday (10 February) that it is too early to be booking holidays at home or abroad, telling the BBC that he did not know “where we’ll be in terms of cases, deaths and vaccination” come the summer months. That warning has though come in for some criticism from other MPs.
Some MPs, including those on the Government’s backbenches, have been calling for lockdown restrictions to be eased as soon as possible, and perhaps much faster than the Government is likely to be planning. There have been calls for almost all restrictions to be scrapped once vulnerable people are vaccinated against the coronavirus, especially given fears over the continuing impacts of the pandemic on the economy.
Speaking from Downing Street during a Coronavirus press conference on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced multiple questions regarding booking holidays, however, declined to give an answer on whether people should be booking getaways. While not explicitly saying as much, the PM appeared to indicate that people should wait at least until 22 February, when the Government will unveil some form of a plan for the easing of lockdown measures.
The Government appears to be acting fairly cautiously in planning an easing of lockdown restrictions, and it is anticipated that measures will only be based gradually.
What might lockdown restrictions look like in the summer months?
It remains unknown what Coronavirus restrictions may look like this summer. If the UK continues at a similar rate as currently in vaccinating adults and vaccines prove to be effective against different COVID variants, restrictions could be fairly minimal by the summer.
The Government has previously said that it wants to vaccinate all UK adults by the Autumn, though it looks like this may in fact be possible by early summer, which could allow restrictions to ease in time for summer holidays – at least in terms of ‘staycations’.
It is important to note that the speed at which vaccines are being rolled out differs in different countries around the world. It would therefore seem a high likelihood that at least some, if not many, countries may have travel bans and quarantine restrictions in place for some months to come.
It is understood that the Government is holding conversations to look at the setup of a ‘travel app’ or some sort of international system for checking if people have been tested or have had a vaccine for COVID-19, which may allow travel to become more feasible later this year.
Can I book a holiday right now?
Yes, it is possible to book holidays right now for Summer 2021 – however, with there being many months until the summer, the Coronavirus situation could yet change significantly, for better or for worse. Therefore, while a holiday can be booked now, it is possible that it may be cancelled in months to come.
Tui, the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world has reported 2.8 million bookings for the summer. Holiday prices this year are also generally much higher than in 2019, with people being more willing to pay for more expensive trips after a year of restrictions.
It is illegal to take a holiday in the UK or abroad under the latest Coronavirus restrictions. The latest travel advice from the Foreign Office can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice