“The straw that broke the camel’s back” is how one agent has described the fall-out and frustrations after confusion around tourists being allowed into Tenerife.
Agents were faced with chaos on Wednesday evening (16 December) after an announcement of a 15-day border closure from the Canary Islands’ government did not confirm whether it applied to international holidaymakers.
Idle Travel boss Tony Mann said the situation had been an “absolute nightmare of stress and emotions”.
In an update issued on Thursday afternoon (17 December) Tenerife’s tourism board clarified the situation and confirmed holidaymakers could “take advantage of the exceptionalities listed among the current regulations”.
“Having to admit to my customers that I didn’t have a clue what was going on is not how I work,” said Mann, who added he would consider if his Bradford-based agency should stop selling last-minute breaks to prevent future issues.
“[This is] despite the fact we have successfully managed to do this throughout the summer, even with the ongoing issues the industry has faced,” he said.
“What a way to finish the year – an absolute nightmare of stress and emotions.”
Kelly Cookes, leisure director at the Advantage Travel Partnership, said the Tenerife announcement “created absolute chaos” for its agent members, guests in-resort and customers waiting to travel.
“With different messages being shared across consumer and social media, including a lack of clarity on whether airspace would close, travel agent members were thrown into turmoil trying to advise their customers on whether they should attempt to come home, or indeed travel,” she said.
“Despite the Canaries being removed from the air corridor last week, many travel agents still had clients planning to travel for the festive period, and one member had to contact a client on three separate occasions with three different messages.
“This is not only confusing for everyone involved, but also damaging at a time when consumer confidence is already at an all-time low.
“Thankfully, borders have not closed, but this demonstrates how communication is absolutely key, and early clarification from destinations and governments will help prevent issues like this arising in future.”