Holidays abroad could be more “more akin to normal” this year as a result of the vaccine roll-out, according to Tui’s UK boss.
Managing director Andrew Flintham said that operating package holidays, from flights and transfers to the in-resort experience, could be easier this year than last summer when operations had to be completely overhauled to ensure they were Covid-secure, including social distancing and mask-wearing.
Speaking at the Travel Weekly Future of Travel spring forum, he said: “We have actually operated in these environments. We changed every single policy to make sure we could manage the social distancing.
“It will be easier this year than last year because we have got vaccinations.… You would expect it to be easier to operate.
“We are back to something that we used to remember as normal life. It might be different in different countries, but I think it’ll be something that’s more akin to what we would normally see.”
Much will depend on the regulations enforced by each destination, he added, which could mean the holiday experience in Spain is slightly different to that in Greece or Turkey, for example, but Flintham was confident about this year given holidaymakers “genuinely had good holidays” last year despite having to adher to strict Covid rules.
Similarly, Flintham was hopeful a relaxation in the rules post-vaccinations could be reflected in transport to overseas resorts but said as yet it was not known whether the rule to wear masks on flights and transfers would change this year.
He said: “My expectation is that as we are relaxing rules in the UK you would expect proportionally some of those rules might relax..[but] they may not, you may still have masks on aircraft and transfers.”