Omicron and travel

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Since the news broke about ten days ago that a new variant – now known as omicron – of COVID had been found, travel sompanies have had a rocky ride.

Just staying around the home Christmas tree year?

Fearing that sales this winter would be disrupted even further, there was concern on what effect it might have on summer 2022 bookings.

It wasn’t helped by the boss of one of the vaccine providers, Moderna, saying publically that he thought existing vaccines would not be as effective as they are with previous variants. And the Astra=Zenica vaccine lead scientist saying that future viruses could be more lethal.

On the other hand, early evidence from South Africa suggests that omicron may not be as severe as delta since cases to date are largely mild in comparison to the alternative.

Nonetheless, life reacts to headlines and those have hit travel. And then headlines caused governments to react. And people to react as well!

Austria is in lockdown and so in Israel much to the chagrin of tourism organisations in Bethlehem which was hoping that Christmas international visitors would florck to the area after lasy’year’s lockdown. 40,000 people are supposed to have demonstrated against lockdown/vaccinations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, this last weekend.

In the UK hotel chains like Best Western and Arora have said that they have seen a downturn in bookings and that is for domestic breaks this Christmas. Overseas bookings have also dropped partially due to the re-introduced testing procedures and partially due to tightened restrictions abroad.

Although skiing resorts in Europe are open, the concern is what happens if lockdowns occur in those countries or if the UK adds them to the red list. Equally, the Caribbean is open but the same fears exist. Malaysia and Thailand have seen their first cases but retsrictions are still light and governments must be weighing up the economic impact of losing another peak season.

In Wales, the government advice is still not to travel abroad. although I doubt many people are aware of that.

But people are wondering if travelling abroad is worth the hassle. Maybe the family for Christmas Day and a walk outside will suffice for many.

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