Travel firms expect islanders to grab opportunity for sun

WARM Middle East destinations are expected to be popular this winter, as islanders take the chance to holiday abroad, World Travel director Jamie Blondel has said.

Dubai. (Shutterstock)
Dubai. (Shutterstock)

The decision to significantly relax Guernsey’s Covid-19 border restrictions from early next month has been met with relief from those in the travel industry.

Mr Blondel said it was a step in the right direction for people who wanted to travel safely.

‘We’re happy that from 4 October Guernsey’s restrictions are going to be aligned with the UK,’ he said.

‘I think local people will still be cautious about travelling for the time being, there are only certain countries that you can travel to without having to isolate when you get back.

‘The last 18 months have obviously been horrendous for us and the travel industry in general, we’re starting to see some more enquiries coming through but it’s very early days at the moment, it’s just starting to slowly pick up.’

Not everyone will be sticking to just visiting the UK in the coming months.

‘We think Europe will be popular, and people will probably stay slightly closer to home for the time being,’ Mr Blondel said.

‘The Middle East, places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi will probably be very popular over the winter, as they normally are.’

The main announcement from the most recent Covid-19 press conference was that from early October all arrivals from the UK, Jersey, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland do not need to isolate upon arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. Instead they will have to complete a course of lateral flow tests.

The traffic light system of countries will be abolished and will be replaced by a single red list, which will be the same as the UK’s red list.

Fully vaccinated travellers from outside of the Common Travel Area, who have not been in red list countries, will only have to do a PCR test on arrival.

This will all make foreign travel simpler and more cost-effective.

For the last 18 months travel agents at World Travel have been busy moving and postponing holidays and sorting out refunds.

The light at the end of the tunnel for foreign travel is now getting closer, although Mr Blondel anticipates it will be a while before bookings return to normal, and security and flexibility will remain key.

‘I think people are still going to be very nervous and cautious about travelling, so I think we’re probably a couple of years away from seeing pre-pandemic levels, over the next few months enquiries and bookings are likely to build up, and then hopefully next year will start heading towards that, but I think we’re a couple of years away from being back

to where we were at in 2018 and 2019,' he said.

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