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Agent Diary: ‘The joy of going on holiday is well worth the minor inconvenience of two forms and two tests’

Hays Travel branch manager Colin Burns says his trip to Spain will give him confidence to sell

Ladies and gentlemen, Colin has left the country! After almost two years, Mrs B and I are in sunny Calpe, on the Costa Blanca, enjoying a well‑earned break.

I visited Calpe for Jet2holidays’ 2019 retail conference and have looked forward to returning. So, as I write, I’m sitting on my balcony with views of the hills, beach and famous Penon de Ifach, or Calpe Rock.

“As retailers, we’ve spent every day doing our best to reassure customers that the rules and procedures are not as complicated as they sound. The biggest problem for many is the fear of the unknown.”

By the time you read this, I’ll be home and armed with my new, first-hand knowledge of how Covid protocols work in practice.

As retailers, we’ve spent every day doing our best to reassure customers that the rules and procedures are not as complicated as they sound. The biggest problem for many is the fear of the unknown: ‘have I got the right forms?’, ‘did I book the right tests?’ In the weeks before my holiday, I had the same thoughts. Then one day, I heard Melanie tell a customer: “Don’t overthink it – it’s just two forms and two tests.” And she’s right.

Take your time

Calmed by the words of the young and wise, I set about preparing the legalities for our trip and was surprised at how easy it actually was.

The best advice I can offer is: stay calm, take your time with the contact and health forms, and double check your answers. For the tests, cheaper is not better. We went for mid-priced (£53 from Assured Screening); the online booking was straightforward and we got our reference number instantly, so no worries for the gov.uk form coming home. Our journey was pretty normal – just a couple of extra document checks for the NHS vaccination certificate and Spanish health form – then it was straight up to departures where we enjoyed our usual 4am pint of lager!

“Our journey was pretty normal – just a couple of extra document checks for the NHS vaccination certificate and Spanish health form – then it was straight up to departures where we enjoyed our usual 4am pint of lager!”

The only extras on arrival into Alicante were another check of the health form and a non-EU arrival stamp in the passport. The only delays were caused by people who didn’t have their paperwork or apps readily available. Please, advise your customers to keep these handy so they’re not left rummaging through their bags like a disorganised Mary Poppins.

Enjoy your holiday

In resort, life appears to go on as normal. Wearing masks is compulsory in indoor public spaces like shops and hotel reception, but not on the beach, at the pool, walking the promenade or while eating and drinking. So, pretty much what we’ve come to accept as normal in the Covid age.

“Next time a client is hesitating, remind them of their favourite holiday activities and let them know the minor inconvenience of two forms and two tests is well worth it.”

But our holiday is not just a Covid fact-finding mission. After two years without an overseas trip, we’re being reminded of all the things we love about being away: sitting on the promenade, sipping cocktails and watching all forms of human life pass; sitting in the sun before having to decide whether to jump straight in the pool or go slowly down the steps; Agadoo at the mini-disco; poolside exercise classes; and just making memories with your nearest and dearest (that’s Mrs B); it’s important to remember what you love about holidays.

So next time a client is hesitating, remind them of their favourite holiday activities and let them know the minor inconvenience of two forms and two tests is well worth it.


Alicante SHUTTERSTOCK

Customer must have been j-oking

Explaining Covid regulations to customers gave us a bit of entertainment recently. A customer asked us for advice on travelling to Majorca.

After checking their vaccine status, Talia explained the ‘two forms, two tests’ rule, and even showed the customer which app to download for the Spanish health form. “Well that all looks fairly straightforward,” the customer said cheerily.

“Much easier than I thought.” Then, before moving on to look at holidays, she queried: “One thing, can I just make sure that advice is for the Majorca with a J, not the one with the two LLs?”

Talia’s tactful reply? “Yes, that covers both.”

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