When will I know if my summer holiday will go ahead?

Mar 30, 2021

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Since 5 January, we’ve been in a state of lockdown. And finally, after nearly three months, there is an end to the third national lockdown in sight.

On 22 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled England’s roadmap out of lockdown. In it, he detailed that outdoor dining and holiday lets could resume from 12 April at the earliest. And as for travel, the earliest date international trips could resume and domestic hotels could reopen was set to be 17 May.

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In the roadmap out of lockdown, Johnson detailed that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would assemble a second version of the Global Travel Taskforce. The group, made up of government officials, transport operators, industry bodies and travel agencies, had originally planned to research how international travel could safely return and then reveal their findings to Johnson on 12 April.

However, those plans have been pushed forward.

Now, we know that Johnson will let the country know of the plan for a return to international travel even sooner than the original 12 April date.

Related: What does the roadmap out of lockdown mean for travel?

On Monday evening, Johnson confirmed that he will announce plans for the return to international travel on 5 April — one week sooner. Additional details will then be unveiled on the original 12 April date.

Aerial view of amazing Dubrovnik old town in Croatia. (Photo by czekma13/Getty Images)

Industry executives have voiced their concern about a delay in the return to travel. With the U.K.’s successful vaccination rollout programme to date, insiders believe there is good reason for travel to resume in mid-May. The move would allow the beleaguered airline industry — along with the larger travel and tourism industries — to take advantage of the typically busy summer travel holiday season and capitalise on consumers’ pent-up demand.

Related: Flight and holiday home bookings skyrocket as much as 600% after UK roadmap announcement

A group of MPs wrote in a joint letter to the prime minister this week, saying: “Paramount that the restart of international travel provides the opportunity for businesses in the aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin their long journey back to recovery.”

While many consumers are ready to jump on a plane and head to a sunny beach destination, there is concern that the third wave setting in across Europe could spell a delay in the return to international holidays. Despite the growing concern, Ryanair has said that it expects to fly at 80% of its pre-pandemic capacity during the peak summer travel months.

However, there is the possibility that Johnson’s announcement on 5 April could be a setback to summer holidays abroad. It’s possible that Johnson could push back the resumption of travel to a date beyond 17 May — a scenario Aviation Minister Robert Courts alluded to earlier this month.

Ultimately, we will only know what will happen on 5 April. But while the government may plan on allowing Brits to travel abroad, it will have to also rethink its approach to border measures in order for travel to fully resume. Currently, England requires all passengers to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. Then, on arrival, all passengers must quarantine for 10 dayssome in a government-supervised hotel — and take a test on days two and eight of their quarantine period.

Related: 4 things that need to happen before we can go on holiday

On Monday, England passed its first lockdown exit hurdle — albeit smaller than the return to international travel — with the lifting of the stay-at-home order. As of Monday, people can meet outside in groups of up to six. The next lockdown date is set to be 12 April, when all non-essential retail is set to reopen and outdoor dining can resume. However, that date could be pushed back.

To date, more than 33 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the U.K.

Featured photo by Jrgen Flchle/EyeEm/Getty Images.

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