Millions of lockdown-weary Brits have booked 2021 summer holidays, despite warnings it may be too early due to Covid-19. Many are pinning their hopes on the vaccine rollout and have booked assuming that restrictions will be lifted by then.
Over recent weeks, government officials have given clear warnings that people should avoid making plans for summer holidays abroad in the current situation. While the UK's vaccination programme remains on track, this is a fast-moving virus with a variety of new strains already having emerged.
Given the speed the situation changes, there are no guarantees regarding lifting restrictions, which could mean people end up wasting their time and money on summer holiday bookings.
TUI expects to run at 80% of normal capacity
The number of Brits who have already booked overseas trips for this summer has led to one of the leading travel companies, TUI, announcing it expects to be running at 80% of normal capacity this summer.
It appears many Brits are ignoring warnings over the possible loss of deposits and ongoing restrictions, deciding instead to take their chances and book their holidays for the summer. TUI said 2.8 million customers have already booked their summer breaks with themselves for this year.
Other travel firms have also announced they expect booming business this summer with many people snapping up summer holiday deals in the belief that the lockdown will be over. Over recent weeks it was revealed that there had been a surge in holiday bookings among over 50s, likely fuelled by seniors being the first to receive vaccinations.
At the same time, figures show summer holiday bookings with TUI are down 44% compared to last summer – a period during which there was a brief respite from Covid after the first wave. In addition, prices for summer holidays this year are around 20% higher than they were in 2019, partly down to the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry.
Warning from England’s Deputy CMO
Yesterday, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam, warned it was far too early for eager Brits to start planning and booking summer holidays. He added that restrictions would be eased gradually, and there was no way of predicting when it would be possible to take holidays abroad again.
According to Van Tam, factors such as the success of the vaccination rollout and adherence to lockdown rules would play a part in this. However, there are also other factors, such as any additional strains of the virus emerging.
He also added that the more elaborate holiday plans were, the more likely they would have to be cancelled. For some people, this might mean not only missing out on a holiday they were looking forward to but also losing hefty deposits.