The UK’s successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine might mean Britons are the first nationality that many overseas destinations will let in, says the boss of Jet2holidays.
Chief executive Steve Heapy said he hoped the UK government would reinstate its travel corridor policy where the UK and overseas destinations could establish bilateral agreements.
As of Thursday evening, the UK had vaccinated 18.6 million people and Boris Johnson hopes all UK adults will be vaccinated by the end of July. By way of comparison, Germany and France are aiming to inoculate 70% of their adult populations by September.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Heapy said he was speaking with overseas governments in outbound holiday markets regularly and confirmed that “they all want to get things moving again as soon as possible”.
But the boss of the UK’s second-largest tour operator insisted health had to come first.
“[Governments] are as keen to get people arriving into their countries as we are to go to their countries, but they are waiting to hear from their health ministries and home office equivalents, because safety is the number one priority of their governments also,” said Heapy.
“Whilst they want to get things moving as much as possible, they are presumably waiting for their own Global Travel Taskforce results and so we’ll go from there.”
But he added that UK holidaymakers were in pole position.
“I would hope that we might go down a travel corridor-type route where we consider a country okay to travel to, and they consider that we’re okay to be let in, and there’s a sort of bilateral agreement,” added Heapy.
“The good thing is we are the most advanced of any European country on the vaccine, so hopefully we will be the first country to be let in.
“Who knows, we might even get the best sunbeds around the pool.”