Deben Travel, the UK and Ireland’s No.1 Travel Agency 2020, will not take new bookings for July and August until the government issues further details on its plans for international travel.
Reports late on Friday (26 June) confirmed a list of “travel corridors” would be published later this week – alongside a new traffic light system showing countries deemed safe, paving the way for a restart to international leisure travel from 6 July.
However, Lee Hunt – whose business was named the UK & Ireland’s No.1 Agency in the TTG Top 50 Travel AGencies 2020 – told TTG he believed the current plans were “raising more questions than generating answers” and would not be selling breaks for the peak summer months until there was more clarity.
“We just can’t seem to get any clarity. I’ve been receiving questions and enquiries from clients over the weekend and today that, in all honestly, I haven’t been able to give an answer to,” he told TTG’s One Week At A Time Facebook discussion.
“I believe that unless we’re in a position to guarantee our clients the holiday experience they’ve paid their hard-earned money for, it could well end up in complaints, claims, confusion and negative publicity for us – so personally I’m not prepared to take the risk until there’s a bit more clarity.”
Hunt said clients had asked what would happen to their booking if a “green” destination had its status changed to “red”, or if their local area was subject to a lockdown.
“We just don’t know. Questions like that worry me and I don’t feel at the moment we can comfortably book holidays in July and August – and not the holidays the customers feel like they’re going to be getting. It’s about customer safety and our reputation.”
He also urged operators and hoteliers to provide more detailed information on their websites around which in-resort services would be operating this summer.
“I can’t see definitive answers and, in all fairness, I don’t think some of them are in position to give those answers,” said Hunt. “You’re talking upwards of a few thousand pounds for a family holiday in August and I have to be confident the client is getting what they paid for.
“As a business owner, I’ve got my own traffic light system and until that’s green and we’re comfortable we can book people the right holiday, then we’ll be waiting.”
Should his concerns be addressed and queries clarified, Hunt said Deben would “absolutely be pushing” summer getaways for 2020, in a bid to bounce back following the loss in business brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.