What’s really grinding my gears at the moment is the total lack of a clear roadmap from the government to kick-start travel on the back of the vaccination programme, writes Holiday Village owner Phil Nuttall.
This is a double-barrelled scenario which needs addressing and communicating to the travel industry and the wider public who have holidays booked and are looking to make bookings.
Let’s start with cruising. We are still waiting for a conditional sail date, which we all appear to agree will be May 2021.
We have our prime minister on television telling the nation all those aged 70+ will be vaccinated by mid February and, all things being equal, those in their 60s will be vaccinated by the end of March.
Even if this extends into April, there is no reason why cruising cannot be added to the governments safe to travel list from 1 May. Unless of course there is something we don’t know?
We then move on to the real issue – the importance of getting people travelling again to stimulate the economy. Whether it’s a staycation, or an overseas holiday or business trip, we have to get people moving.
The government has not given us any indication they have a plan or a roadmap for the resumption of travel – yet they’ve had 10 months to think about this!
What do we do in March if flights are allowed to resume and people want to travel abroad but they’re not in the age demographic that’s been vaccinated and the destination country demands a Covid vaccination certificate?
Is the government going to allow those with travel plans to be vaccinated either through the NHS or privately? Or will tour operators be asked to refund guests who cannot get a vaccine?
Without a clear, logical strategy, I fear more uncertainty, upset and paperwork as we seek to get back to some sort of normality in the travel industry.
The government and transport secretary Grant Shapps must seriously consider the options available to ensure people can start travelling safely and responsibly as soon as possible.
Surely travel is the catalyst to kick-starting many businesses across the UK? Not having a roadmap to vaccinate those with existing bookings travelling from mid-March onwards could have a catastrophic effect on many businesses.
Once the vulnerable have been looked after, we need reassurance and forward thinking if we really want to kick-start our economy.
Phil Nuttall is the owner of Blackpool-based firm The Travel Village.