The travel industry is hurting right now so will the new quarantine rules be a nail in the coffin for the industry or a help?
This may not be what the industry wants, but it is probably what it needs.
Travellers and holidaymakers want to get away and hotels, airlines and tour operators want and need customers.
But the worst thing we could all do is attempt to come out of this too quickly. That risks a second peak and another lockdown, which could cause a further and deeper financial crisis.
Coming out of lockdown with controlled measures, in this case a 14-day quarantine for people arriving back into the UK (other countries are doing exactly the same), means a systematic return to normality.
The quarantine allows for borders to start to be opened up, airports to put in place health and safety measures to protect customers, and possibly most importantly for the travel industry, consumer confidence to start to be regained.
As frustrating as it may be to have the quarantine in place, we (the industry) need consumers to want to travel. By introducing these measures we can all safely monitor the effect of borders opening and people moving around the world. The hope is then that the science shows that with the right precautions, it is safe to fly and safe to travel, therefore allowing the travel industry to return to a ‘new normal’, quicker than it might otherwise do.
This will inevitably delay the restart of the industry by a few months, but better this than we have a false start and have to shut down for longer.
Almost certainly we will see the summer holiday programme operate at a much-reduced capacity and there are going to be a lot of questions from customers we cannot answer right now. For example, what if the quarantine continues? What if the quarantine is reduced in the UK, but not in the country I’m travelling to? Can I claim on insurance?
Customers have in most cases been incredibly supportive of the travel industry. With such widespread disruption, no one is looking to blame. We think 2021 will be a big year for travel as everyone makes up for lack of holidays this year. The question will be whether the industry will be able to support consumer demand.