Q&A: What the coronavirus pandemic means for holiday-makers in months to come
- Credit: Archant
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the plans of holiday-makers across the region into disarray, with thousands upon thousands of trips cancelled, postponed or abandoned.
With uncertainty remaining around foreign travel, here are answers to some of the burning questions you may have around going on holiday.
• What is the government’s position on foreign travel?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all bus essential travel since March 17. Tour operators will not send any customers abroad until this position changes.
• Will I be able to fly abroad for a break this summer?
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The resumption of foreign holidays depends on travel restrictions being lifted and airlines ramping up services.
• What are airlines doing?
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The majority of aircraft as it stands have been grounded, however many airlines have ambitions to ramp up services in the summer.
IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has said it is planning “a meaningful return to service” in July - but this depends on restrictions being lifted.
• Where will I be able to go?
Countries with low infection rates are likely to be the first to attract tourists.
Wizz Air has announced the launch of six new routes serving Luton Airport from next month, including Faro in Portugal and four Greek islands.
• What will happen when I return?
Anybody returning to the UK from abroad, as it stands, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to ordinary life.
Anybody found to be breaching this regulation could be fined up to £1,000 and health officials are able to carry out spot checks on private addresses to check if people are complying.
Home secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline these measures in greater details in this afternoon’s Downing Street briefing.
• How will holidays change?
Holiday providers have already begun announcing different measures to maximise the safety of holiday-makers - some subtle, others more noticeable.
For example, Tui has announced steps to boost safety of hotels, including buffets being served on plates, nightclubs remaining closed and activities such as team sports being replaced by smaller activities.
Tourism officials in Portugal have begun awarding “Clean and Safe” seals to hotels and restaurants that fit new hygiene standards.
• What about ‘staycations’
With the added risk of foreign travel, the domestic holiday sector is expected to see a rapid increase in demand once lockdown restrictions are eased.
Already, holiday parks in Norfolk and Suffolk are making preparations for when they can reopen, which are seeing changes made to allow social distancing to still be observed.
For example, Haven, which has four sites in Norfolk, will allow guests to order takeaway food on site, but will not initially allow access to on site pubs, restaurants, swimming pools or entertainment.
• I booked a holiday, but it was cancelled. What are my rights?
UK holiday-makers are protected under European law, which states they should receive full cash refunds within seven days for cancelled flights and 14 days for package holidays that don’t take place.
• Should I accept a voucher
Most travel firms are offering customers with existing bookings either a voucher or credits towards the cost of a future booking.
While accepting these can help companies avoid going out of business, there is a risk that holiday-makers who take them may lose out if prices increase.