You may or may not have noticed that we have been a little quiet of late. This is not because we have disappeared into our own sunset, but against a backdrop of an ever-changing travel landscape not only did it become simply impossible to share clear projections and we didn’t want to further compound your frustrations by sending you inspiring images of inaccessible destinations!
We have battled with travel corridors, traffic lights, watch lists, passenger locator forms, pre-departure, day two, day five and day eight tests. We have navigated self-isolation requirements, hotel quarantine, the dreaded ‘track and trace’ programme and even had a ‘pingdemic’ thrown in for good measure! Whilst at all times we have kept up to speed, the complexity and unpredictability of the situation was not only confusing, but also rather exhausting!
However, thankfully, that is all about to change…
This time a year ago, most of the world’s borders were shut, the COVID-19 vaccine was still an ‘if’ rather than a ‘when,’ international travel was in the doldrums and the whole country, ourselves included, were left dreaming of far flung destinations and wondering if we would ever be able to travel again. Fast forward a year, more and more borders are reopening; the global vaccine rollout has been phenomenal and autumn booster jabs are now underway.
As a result, on Friday we received the fantastic news that from 4th October the traffic light system will be scrapped and replaced with a much more straightforward policy. Simply put, if a country is classified as Red then it will still be ‘no go’. Outside of this, you will be free to travel to anywhere and everywhere on the ‘Rest of the World’ list (subject to the entry requirements in each destination country).
It was also announced that fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to undertake a pre-departure test before returning to England and from late October (exact date TBC) the mandatory day two PCR test will be replaced by a simpler and cheaper latitude flow (antigen) test. This in itself not only helps reduce the cost, but makes life a lot simpler when abroad, especially when travelling off the beaten track.
Finally, but most importantly, it was hugely exciting to learn that some of our of most popular destinations – Kenya, The Maldives, Oman, Egypt and Sri Lanka – were all moved off the red list and in the coming weeks we are fully expecting more to follow. Throw in yesterday evening’s announcement that from November the US will be opening up its borders to UK and EU citizens again, and it is impossible not to get excited. Long-haul travel is, at last, back once again.
If you are therefore looking to plan a last minute October half term break, a well-deserved Christmas holiday, or you are now feeling more confident about booking your 2022 escape, then do please get in touch. With so many postponed bookings from 2020 and 2021, availability during peak season in 2022 is already looking under pressure, so we would advise you to start thinking about your plans further in advance than you normally would. Let’s face it, we have all endured enough disappointment as it is!
We are still offering as much flexibility and support to our clients as possible (including reduced deposits, deferred payment dates and penalty free date changes) for we understand that you still need to feel confident that your travel arrangements are as flexible, informed and protected as possible.
It is fair to say we that feel the proverbial sails of travel are beginning to fill at last and, although the road to recovery has been longer than we could ever have imagined, we are incredibly excited to open up the world to you all once again.
Toby & the ET team