Under lockdown regulations, Britons are advised to “stay at home” and are banned from travelling unless it is for “essential” reasons. Despite this, booking trends appear to show many hopeful holidaymakers are already dreaming of their next jaunt.
According to travel expert Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, it seems holidays closer to home are gaining the most traction.
Posting to Twitter, the travel expert shared some insight he had gained from fellow insiders working in the industry who describe bookings as “off the charts”.
He said: “I’m hearing from a large number of my clients that holiday bookings are ‘off the charts’ for staycations and European trips.”
“Confidence appears to be returning as the #UK vaccine programme rolls out.
“Consumers want to spend and have something to dream about.”
The vaccine programme in the UK is well underway.
In the week ending January 17, an additional 1,560,543 people were reported to
have received an NHS vaccination for COVID-19 in England.
This took the total number of people vaccinated since vaccinations began on December 8 to 3,557,847 and the total vaccinations given to 3,981,445.
Despite this, it seems long-haul holidays could be on hold for some time longer.
This is largely due to the rate of coronavirus infection in other countries, as well as ongoing travel bans, with many nations currently barring UK travellers from crossing their borders.
Travel expert Simon Calder has advised those who do wish to holiday, to look at destinations “closer to home.”
Speaking on BBC One’s Rip Off Britain, the travel expert said: “My personal view is if you want to commit to a summer holiday in Europe that’s almost certainly alright but please book a proper package holiday through a real human travel agent.
“I’ve just been watching what is happening and certainly going any further than Europe is very problematic and of course an awful lot of people got stuck the wrong side of somebody’s lockdown back in March.
“So, staying closer to home is the motto and of course, it is better for the planet, and arguably better for you without all of those long-haul flights.”
Yet, even with the vaccine providing some home, Home Secretary Priti Patel dashed dreams in the daily coronavirus update on Thursday.
When asked about holiday bookings, she said Britons should be “staying at home”.
“It is is far too early in terms to speculate around restrictions, such as the point you just made should people be booking a holiday,” Patel stated.
Patel continued: “We have thousands of people still in hospital, pressures on the NHS – the advice is very clear, we are in a lockdown, the public should be staying at home.
“Our focus, of course, with regards to borders and travel – people should not be travelling unless of course, it is absolutely critical and essential.”
She added: “It is simply far too early to even contemplate where we go with restriction.”