The bold and the desperate

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Sounding like the title of a spaghetti western, Simon Calder from the Independent used this phrase last week to describe those people who go on overseas holidays from the UK at the moment.

the bold and the desperate are flying and hardly anyone else!

It’s a good soundbite and Calder probably has used the phrase in more than one interview he has given recently – I heard him use it on Turkish television’s TRT World.

But does the phrase adequately sum up those who are now holidaying abroad?

I rather think it is.

When he gave the interview, Calder was in Portugal a place many of us have visited quite often in pre pandemic days. As he said, in those seemingly long, distant days, you grabbed your passport, bought a ticket and flew in. that was as much hassle as you faced. On more than one occasion I flew to Faro in and out in a day; it was easy to do and I had plenty of time for meetings.

Today it isn’t the same. It can take hours at either end and if your forms aren’t completed either on paper or electronically, it can take even longer. Stories of six hour waits at Heathrow must have dampened some people’s enthusiasm to fly.

Is the paperwork, – for want of an expression – the quarantine, the understanding that governments can change the rules at the drop of a hat, deterring passengers?

It seems it is.

easyjet has reduced the number of flights it had planned for the summer although some airlines like Wizz are increasing the number of flights it operates.

The travel industry is still talking about growth and double digit increases but to where? Portugal is one destination where British numbers are increasing but where else? Round Britain cruises and staycations seem to be doing well but, as I said a few weeks’ ago, there is a lot of hot air and exaggeration.

The growth that we were told by the travel industry that would occur in the first half of the year hasn’t happened. Will that growth happen in the second half of 2021?

The only things may be trusted at the moment are trading reports to stock exchanges and reductions or increases in flight numbers. There is certainly price increases to places on the green list as airlines and hoteliers try and repair their finances but that isn’t going to attract any more than those that Calder calls the bold.

Nobody in my little social circle is considering an overseas holiday this year. I know that isn’t a representative sample but i have a feel that is the way many people are thinking. I am neither bold nor desperate and neither are they!

On the other hand as Willie Walsh – the boss of IATA – said at the Arabian Travel Market this week, when governments relax restrictions, travel bookings increase. That has happened in the USA and China where it is said that domestic travel is now greater than 2019.

But for that to happen internationally, people have to feel comfortable about flying to destinations where vaccine uptake is better or as good as their own countries and for there to be as little hassle as possible.  

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