Overseas travel lights are dimming

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

This week there have been two decisions that suggest the travel industry is feeling less optimistic about the opening of international travel.

Jetting abroad is probably less likely in the next month

The first was by Holiday Discount Centre (HDC) based in the north east of England to start redundancy talks with its employees. The second was the decision by British Airways to furlough staff that it had only brought back on to the payroll in mid-May.

HDC is a ten year old, price comparison website, one of many that has sprung up cloning the business models developed by the more well-known energy and financial comparison websites. Even in tough times you would think that it would still perform well for investors and staff by offering comparative prices in domestic holidays. That it couldn’t suggests that life is still tough for the travel industry.

Ba is not just an airline. Prior to the pandemic, it was one of the largest tour operators in the country. But both the airline and the tour operator rely on foreign travel with a greater part of the business relying on long-haul travel.

Regardless of the puff that we have heard from the industry about pent-up demand and phones ringing off the hook, few people have booked in comparison with the numbers that might have been expected to book.

With Portugal being removed from the green list and no new countries added, what business is there of any scale.

Some hoped that there might be a US/UK travel corridor but that was knocked on the head on Thursday when only an announcement was made to consider a re-opening. That probably means it is at least a month away.

Hence the conclusion that international travel is probably not going to return for a few more weeks. It hasn’t been helped by a rise in cases of the delta variant and increased hospitalisations although, thankfully, the death rates does not seem to be increasing.

Mainstream media seems to be suggesting that the relaxation of restrictions in England due to be announced on Monday and to come into effect a week later might be postponed for another four weeks so that more vaccinations can take place.

It all seems to point to the fact that travel restrictions will be around for longer than most of us had hoped.

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