No summer holidays

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In a comment made a few days ago, the transport secretary – Grant Shapps – said on Radio 4’s Today programme that he won’t be booking a summer holiday “at this point.”

Benidorm – who knows when Britons may return.

He was answering a question about whether people should be booking a holiday in the next few months.

From the outcry reported by the mainstream media about the reaction of ABTA you might have thought that he had consigned holidays for all time into the fiery furnace. That is if ABTA said these comments.

ABTA came out – according to the Guardian (it isn’t listed on ABTA’s website) – with “It was a thoughtless comment and not based on any facts about what we know today about the future of the pandemic.”

Thoughtless!

In the middle of a pandemic a minister says that he wouldn’t book a holiday “at this point.” I would have thought his comment was common sense since none of us have an idea when the lockdown might end or how the pandemic will play out yet alone know when we might be able to go abroad or even venture into different parts of the UK.

Even supposing the lockdown ends in another three weeks there will probably be a tapered relaxation of restrictions. Travelling abroad will probably be one of the last things to be lifted since it is in the power of overseas countries as well. They might not want to let us in. They might prefer to wait a few months to see if there is any resurgence of the pandemic.

And some countries won’t be quick to relax the rules. This week, the World Health Organization announced that the Democratic Republic of the Congo was free from the ebola virus. Almost instantaneously, the county announced three new cases! Probably all countries will want to be their citizens to feel safe and letting in overseas travellers (who have certainly helped spread the coronavirus) will only be carefully considered.

If ABTA also said that Shapps’s views weren’t based on any “facts” ABTA “knows today” then ABTA knowledge borders on the brilliant because who knows what the facts are for the future. Forecasters are constantly revisiting the assumptions and refining their thoughts but ABTA knows.

Perhaps they would like to impart their knowledge about what will happen. The government will no doubt consider the forecasting views of a major pandemic expert like ABTA before making any more decisions.

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