We need clarity on red and green lists, says luxury agent

Clients are still worried that destinations might move from green to red once the amber traffic light categorisation is removed next month.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Designer Travel owner and managing director Amanda Matthews said the response to last week’s announcement that international travel restrictions are to be relaxed was overwhelmingly positive.

But she added: “The only thing we had as a negative from clients, particularly long-haul ones, is the concern now [that] a country can go straight to red.

“We need some clarity over how it’s going to be reviewed. Is it going to be reviewed every three weeks and what notice period will be given?

“Until we understand the absolute structure of those decisions, we’re not quite out of the woods yet.”

Matthews said this element is still causing concern for some travellers “especially where it’s further away and it’s somewhere you’re not going to be able to easily get a flight back from”.

“There’s still an element of caution around that for some clients,” she said.

Furthermore, the range of different entry requirements for many destinations continue to present a major challenge for agents and source of concern for customers.

“It’s still a real obstacle, especially as a lot of the long-haul destinations have lots of different rules,” she told the webcast.

“That’s still a real worry for clients, and especially high-end clients spending hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“They do not want to get to Barbados and find that between doing the test in the UK and arriving overseas, they test positive and are then having to move from Sandy Lane to some hotel that’s government controlled.

“Those people will not go over Christmas unless some of the entry requirements are changed.”

MoreTrade reports bookings ‘explosion’ after restrictions update

She added that she had seen no evidence so far of entry requirements changing in core winter destinations.

“We’ve not seen any relaxation of any of the key winter destinations – I’m talking long-haul not Europe. And unless some of those are changed, we will just end up having to move those people yet again from this year to next year,” she said.

“Even if some of the hotels agree that you can isolate in resort, that would solve some of the problems.

“Work needs to be done on taking the fear out of getting tested as soon as you get abroad.

“Hopefully that will get relaxed for double-vaxxed people. If that happens, we’re in for an absolutely amazing time, but if it doesn’t, we’re still faced, as a travel agent, with all these ever-changing challenges and requirements, which are different and unique for every destination.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.