Spring hopes for resumption of adventure travel - TTG, 05 February 2021
Updated: Feb 8
TTG Media Ltd.
UK breaks and short-haul adventure holidays could resume in the spring as the Covid-19 crisis eases with the roll-out of vaccination programmes and a reduction in pressure on the NHS.
Paul Charles, from The PC Agency, told the online Adventure Travel Networking Conference that despite “mounting barriers” to travel being introduced by the UK government, he was “optimistic about travel improving and being able to go to short-haul Europe from May onwards”. Charles added that he expected staycations in the UK to restart from early April, although long-haul would “take a little bit longer” to resume. He predicted the US could reopen to international visitors by the start of July, although countries like Australia and New Zealand were not likely to reopen until next year. “When it picks up, it will pick up fast – I’m expecting that from May onwards,” said Charles.
Charles added that he hoped the planned hotel quarantine regime, due to start on 15 February, would only be in place for a “maximum of six to eight weeks”. Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid Group’s European managing director, said the operator was seeing short-term demand for active breaks to the UK and Europe. Intrepid has also been securing bookings for “bucket list” trips, such as Everest Base Camp and Antarctica expeditions, for departures in the final three months of 2021 into early 2022. Lloyd Figgins, from the Travel Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP) Group, urged travel firms to adopt travel risk management systems in preparation for a resumption in travel. “We should make sure we put systems in place that enhance our ability to be able to operate,” he added. “You have to have emergency response plans for all legs of the journey. Look at evacuation planning if the worst happens.” Figgins said that such plans did not have to be “complicated, time consuming or expensive” but they should be used by travel companies to “mitigate risk to an acceptable level”. “Do not wait until travel is up and running again to do this – don’t be caught behind the curve,” he urged. Julie Jones, development director for travel bonding and protection specialist Abtot, said the pandemic had made consumers “really aware of risk” including issues such as insurance and financial protection. She added that the insurance sector had been affected by a “major insurer leaving the market”, while supplier failure insurance has continued to be unavailable since the second national lockdown in November. "There is still good capacity in the Insurance market for Travel Bonds, FFI and Trust Accounts" confirmed Jones.
From Top Left: Paul Charles - The PC Agency; Julie Jones - ABTOT; Lloyd Figgins - Travel Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP) Group, Zina Bencheikh - Intrepid Travel;