We are four, not one

By | Category: Travel rumblings

So many press releases have poured into the office over the last few weeks heralding the return of tourism.

England may be be seen by some as meaning the UK but, in reality, all countries in the UK have different rules and approaches.

What they don’t point out – either due to ignorance, sloppiness or some other reason – is that different conditions apply in our different countries that, together, make up the UK.

Yes, the UK is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and devolved governments have the right to curtail or open tourism in each of their countries and to operate separately from other countries within the UK.

So when I am told something like “Lifting of UK travel restrictions has led to an immediate increase in bookings,” it could relate to bookings just in England or across the UK. I don’t know and therefore it becomes difficult to explain to readers what it means.

In England, staying overnight can take place and tourism can start re-opening as from July 4th. In Wales, it won’t happen until after July 6th because the rule is that people in Wales must stay local and, ideally not travel more than five miles. Breaking that rule is an offence under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and can be punished by a fine. Thousands have been fined.

Wales has a different timescale to open tourism up again

It looks as though tourism will open up in Wales as from 13th July but, despite not being confirmed, seems unlikely to be delayed. There is no date for re-opening shared accommodation such as hotels without the ability to offer self-containment or hostels or  shared facilities at caravan parks and camping sites.

In Scotland, July 15th seems to be the crucial day when tourism businesses will re-open. Provided they are able and willing to open then. Just as the different Tate galleries in the UK are not opening on the first day that they are allowed to – July 4th –  but on staggered dates later in  the month, so visitors must expect to find some attractions and places open and some not.

as has Scotland

In Northern Ireland, it was announced a month ago that hotels could re-open on the 20th of July. That has now been brought forward to 3rd of July. Accommodation offering self-contained units have been open for four days.

As readers can see, dates and rules vary so do check if you are holidaying in one of the countries in the UK. It will be like going abroad. You need to understand what you can and cannot do; how far you can travel and what facilities will be open.

Don’t treat the UK as having the same rules and laws throughout.

To look at domestic travel at its bleakest, what happens if you go to a destination in the UK and a local lockdown occurs as has happened in Leicester and to give examples from abroad, Beijing, Melbourne and Los Angeles? What will you be able to do? You need to check with each of the tourist boards.

You must not view the UK as one destination. It is four and different rules apply and it is about time some holiday companies and PR agencies realised that.

Giants Causeway
The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland awaits tourists from the rest of the UK.
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