Local travel firms call for road map similar to UK’s

TRAVEL firms have called on the States to provide a road map similar to the UK’s.

 (29272330)
(29272330)

It follows an announcement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday of a four-stage plan to end coronavirus restrictions, which could see travel out of England for a holiday beginning on 17 May.

Many feel the recent news means pressure should be put on the States to think beyond the restrictions currently in place.

Trafalgar Travel’s agency manager, Charlie Coyle, said the news was very encouraging and will hopefully ‘start to restore some of the confidence in the travel industry. With the progress of the vaccine rollout here and in the UK we really do believe that we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel,’ he said.

‘We encourage the States of Guernsey or Civil Contingencies Authority to provide further clarity with regard to future travel restrictions and would like to see a similar road map to return to normal, to that issued in the UK, so that islanders can have confidence as to when we can once again reconnect with families and friends in the UK, Jersey, and further afield.’

Wayfarers World Travel Ltd chairman Brian Kelly said a growing number of enquiries had been reaching them from both UK customers wanting to travel to the island, as well as islanders to the UK. ‘The confidence is slowly coming back into the market,’ he said.

‘It’s the mechanism of travel holding us back as it will be around the globe, in terms of who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t. The question is whether under 50-year-olds will be allowed to travel, even if the borders are open, if they haven’t been vaccinated and that looks to be the case until the end of September.

‘These things still need to thought about and mitigated.’

An air bridge, such as that between Guernsey and the Isle of Man, he said, could possibly be on the cards for Mr Kelly, who added he was instrumental in creating it and hoped for it to be re-established.

He also suggested vaccination passports, which are currently being trialled by the International Air Transport Association in countries such as Australia and Greece, could be considered. They would allow travel without testing for those who have been vaccinated.

C. I. Travel Group managing director Robert Mackenzie was optimistic: ‘We’re looking forward to things opening up again, hopefully it’s not too long away,’ he said.

‘It might be too early to say yet as the news was only announced in the UK, but to have a road map of when travel may be able to resume in Guernsey. Any indication of how the States are planning to approach the border restrictions this summer would be helpful. We understand that the health and safety of islanders comes first but other countries are making plans to reopen their borders, it’s important to see that here.’

As with other travel companies, Premier Holidays’ general manager for the Channel Islands, Beverley Scarr, said they had been busy rebooking clients travelling to Guernsey, with many ready to take advantage of the removal of restrictions.

‘We have pent-up demand from other clients who are ready to book as soon as they know when Guernsey will be open for them,’ she said.

‘We’ve been in constant dialogue with our hotel and transportation partners and Guernsey Tourist Board during these difficult times and are ready to start actively selling the island as soon as we get the green light, we are very optimistic about driving demand for Guernsey when we can.’

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