The government’s plan for a 14-day quarantine on airport arrivals has been criticised as “ridiculous” and a further factor affecting holidaymakers’ bookings.
Speaking in a Travel Weekly Webcast, agents said there was interest from customers to travel, with new bookings already coming through for Europe, Florida and other long haul destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean.
But they warned the timing of the coronavirus quarantine restrictions represented a further barrier to booking a holiday for this year.
Richard Slater, owner of Henbury Travel, Macclesfield, has just taken a £12,00 booking and was looking into enquiries for holidays in Florida, Mexico and the Algarve, but said: “This [quarantine] scheme is too late. It is quite a ridiculous scheme to put out at this stage. It needs to be got rid of.”
Premier Travel director Paul Waters said there was now a number of factors influencing clients’ decisions on whether to make a late booking.
He said: “I don’t think it’s just quarantine. There are a lot of concerns; the insurance issue is one of them and Foreign Office advice and whether countries will let us [Brits] in. Even if quarantine is lifted, there is quite a long way to go yet.”
He added that growing fears of a “second wave” of coronavirus cases was also having an impact. “There is a thirst for some [to travel] but not huge numbers at this stage. People want to get away later, probably in September or October, but are nervous about a second spike,” he said.
Agents said they had lists of clients who wanted to go away when the time was right.
Sandra Corkin, managing director of Oasis Travel in Northern Ireland said there was demand for the end of this year rather than short term.
She added: “We have a list of people wanting to get away when they know where they can go. Our earliest bookings are for Christmas.”
Slater felt confident of a “fairly strong booking market” but admitted there was bound to be cautiousness among holidaymakers.
He added: “I think we will get people taking their kids away in November and December and having a bit of sunshine. We have a list of people who want to go when they get ‘free rein’ but I think 50% of them will be reluctant or not want to go straight away.”
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