Retailers are clinging on to hope overseas travel will resume in May or June but say sales remain in “limbo land” until the government produces a roadmap out of lockdown.
The government is due to reveal its plan for the way out of lockdown in the week starting February 22.
Fred Olsen Travel head of commercial Paul Hardwick said he was “really hopeful” overseas holidays could restart by May or June.
He said: “It still feels a long way off at the moment but with the vaccination rollout progressing really well, and May still 13 weeks away, so much can change.
“We have to hope Boris includes a clear plan on how borders and travel will resume as we move towards the summer, which would in turn create confidence in consumers to book their holidays.”
Premier Travel reported strong forward sales for the key summer months. But director Paul Waters said gains from forward bookings were being “eroded” each week the industry awaits a start date.
“Clients still want to travel this summer but want to hold off booking until they see what the developments are in the next month,” he said.
Polka Dot Travel director Mark Johnson said: “Last week, we booked quite a few holidays, but for September onwards, and we have people rebooking holidays for October. The problem is there’s no start date.
“I have to remain optimistic, otherwise what’s the point? The vaccination programme is key and demand is there, but it’s so frustrating because you can’t plan.”
Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan said a “normal British summer” in terms of outbound travel seemed unlikely.
He said: “Everything hinges on a few things: the government’s decision on [travel in] the summer; the decision on furlough, which is massive; and, from the perspective of bricks and mortar shops, the decision on business rates. We are generating sales but we are stuck in limbo land.”
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