Following the announcement from the government in February, which showed us their plan for moving the country out of lockdown, it’s been a busy couple of weeks in the travel industry. Holiday confidence is growing, the vaccine rollout continues, and some goats went on a staycation of their own.
Keep reading to find out about all of this, and more!
Holiday bookings surge
With the government finally putting (tentative) dates on when we can get back travelling again, 12 April for within England and 17 May for international travel, holiday bookings lept into life soon after.
TUI reported an increase of up to 500% in international bookings overnight, while Jet2 reported a 1000% increase in bookings in the 24 hours that followed the government’s announcement.
The most eager are booking summer holidays, but many people are also looking further ahead to October half-term and even Christmas to make up for the breaks they missed last year.
We’re not home and dry yet, though. Dates are not set in stone, and could change depending on the four conditions the government has set – but it gives some welcome, yet cautious, optimism for those itching to travel again this year.
Countries reopening to those who’ve been vaccinated
Some countries are already laying out plans to let people travel there if they’ve received their coronavirus vaccine. There are even plans to stop the now-common quarantine and testing requirements to make travel even easier for vaccinated travellers.
The UK government is yet to confirm whether they’ll roll out a ‘vaccine passport’ programme. If you’re travelling from the UK, you’ll still need to adhere to the rules about leaving and returning, which could mean a quarantine when you get back.
Some countries, like Estonia and Iceland, are planning on removing quarantine and testing requirements completely for people who’ve had the vaccine. Others, such as the Seychelles and Romania, plan on removing the need for quarantine but will still need proof of a vaccine and a negative Covid test.
Cyprus, Lebanon, Georgia, and Poland are also setting in motion their own vaccine-specific requirements to make travelling easier. Spain and Greece look set to be the next countries to announce their plans.
Crystal Cruises to require vaccine
Crystal Cruises is the latest, and so far the largest, cruise line to announce that their passengers will need to be vaccinated to go on one of their cruises, once they set sail again.
You’ll need to have had the vaccine more than 14 days before travelling, and you’ll still be subject to proof of a negative test and other health screening, but it’s part of their plan to make cruises safer post-coronavirus.
This follows a string of other cruise lines – including British firm SAGA, who were the first to announce they’ll require a vaccine – who plan on using vaccines to make cruises safer from coronavirus moving forward.
Covid Travel Pass – “ready within weeks”
The Covid Travel Pass, which is being pushed by the International Air Travel Association (IATA), is an app to verify that passengers have received Covid tests and/or vaccines from the approved authorities.
It’s seen by some as essential for reopening travel, especially travel without quarantine, and it should help to boost the confidence of passengers, airlines, and governments.
The app, which will be free and available on Android and iOS, was first trialled by Singapore Airlines in December 2020. There are currently trials by more airlines underway and it’s expected the Pass could be ready ‘within weeks’. The plan is currently to go live in March, with hopes of a return to quarantine-free travel by the end of 2021.
The IATA see a Covid Travel Pass as a more secure alternative to the ‘Yellow Card’ from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which they believe is too easy to forge.
Goats have their own city break in Wales
The now infamous Kashmiri goats from the Great Orme made headlines again recently when they took another trip to the town centre of Llandudno, Wales.
Known for seeking shelter in the town during bad weather on occasion, they were roaming the streets of the town first in March 2020 and seemed to like it so much they were back at the end of February.
People were pulling over to take pictures of the herd of around 15-20 goats, which are believed to have come into the town because of the lack of people during lockdown.