Spain – the implications for travel

By | Category: Travel rumblings

When on Saturday evening the British government in concert will all the devolved nations imposed an effective ban on holidaying in mainland Spain it had a dominating effect on the travel industry.

to holiday abroad or not to holiday? © Dan Sperrin

It has a bigger effect on Monday when the Balearics and Canaries were included in the advice not to travel there.

The first impact was that airlines and tour operators, hoteliers and travel agents, attractions and heritage sites suddenly saw the green shoots of recovery effectively dug up.

Spain is such a vital destination for the travel industry that losing the ability to send travellers there blasted a huge hole in their potential income.  About a third of all British holidays abroad are taken by those going to mainland Spain and its islands.

Yes, travel agents and tour operators can send holidaymakers elsewhere but will holidaymakers want to go?

The second is the message that it sends to potential holidaymakers. Could they have their holidays disrupted by the two almost instantaneous decisions made by the governments in the UK?

Over the last month the biggest question considered by those in overseas travel is how to restore confidence in the eyes of you and I – the traveller and holidaymaker.

Any confidence must now be seriously shaken

In two moves, confidence building is going to be more difficult because no-one will be able to convincingly say to the holidaymaker that their holiday might be similarly disrupted.

In a quick, totally unscientific poll of local travel agents on Tuesday I asked if bookings for overseas holidays were up or down. Guess what the answer was? Yes, down!

How many can afford, due to their jobs, to self-quarantine for fourteen days?

And by giving just about six hours’ notice on Saturday and nor much more on Monday people will have little time to alter their plans.

In the light of this will you want to travel abroad? And if the UK governments can do this why won’t overseas governments impose similar restrictions if there is a spike in the UK?

For those companies like Kuoni and Abercrombie & Kent that announced they would offer UK holidays the decision could be a winner. For those like TUI and Jet 2 who have no UK holiday offerings, it looks as though they will lose out again.

Lest I appear too negative, there are still 79 countries to which we are advised we can go. Just check frequently what the situation is and whether coronavirus cases are on the increase.

Just about Travel will provide each Friday a list of popular destinations (at least popular before the virus was discovered) where the virus is on the increase or on the decrease.

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