Travel Rules Ease Around the World in Time for WTM London to be the Catalyst for the Future of the Industry

Travel Rules Ease Around the World in Time for WTM London to be the Catalyst for the Future of the Industry

The rules for overseas travel from and to the UK ease in October just in time for a half-term holiday boom.

Holidaymakers no longer need to take a PCR Covid Test before flying back into the UK, while the industry is anticipating a  heavily reduced red list with the amber list scrapped making countries either ‘go’ (green) or ‘no’ (red).

Weekend reports have hinted the red list could be cut from a massive 54 countries to less than a dozen, with a number of popular holiday hotspots now on the October holiday half term ‘go’ list including; South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Cape Verde.

This blog is written from a very sunny, hot and beautiful Makarska, Croatia, as this writer decided he needed some late summer/ autumn sun. The apparent easing of restrictions was a key reason behind going overseas and having a holiday for the first time in more than two years (due to Covid).

The simplification of the traffic light system will help families feel more confident about travelling overseas during half-term and will be welcome boost for the travel industry. It was certainly a key reason behind this writer taking the plunge.

However, slight gripe, despite returning to England after the need for a PCR test, Covid-test companies were not offering a testing package without one, including the official company for the tour operator booked through.

For some countries – including Croatia – a Covid test is needed before travelling, regardless of vaccination status. Paying for, receiving, sending back and then waiting for the results is still a level of stress and anxiety that is not needed just days before (hopefully, assuming you are Covid-free) travelling.

Numerous polls of Brits – including the WTM Industry Report, unveiled at the event on Monday 1 November – highlight how prohibitive the Covid testing regime has been on Brits going abroad. The extra cost of the test has put many potential holidaymakers off from travelling overseas.  

In truth, the cost is not prohibitive at this stage of the summer with many tour operators offering big discounts, or incentives (such as On the Beach paying for the tests) to encourage people to holiday overseas.

However, Turkey has taken the decision to remove PCR testing to go on holiday in the country and is instead now basing entry requirements on being fully vaccinated.

The UK and Turkey are among a number of countries changing its entry requirements. Australia is reopening its boarders from next month. Neighbour New Zealand has accepted it can not operate a zero-Covid strategy and is also looking to loosen its entry requirements.

All of which bodes well for WTM London. The event will be the first time the global travel industry has come together in person since the start of the Covid pandemic. For the first time in 18 months the industry can contract with a level of confidence. The circumstances of WTM London 2021, mean it could be argued it is the most important since the event launched way back in 1980.

Paul Nelson has worked in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries for two decades – starting off as a journalist before moving into corporate communications and public relations. With an undergraduate journalism degree and post-graduate marketing degree, Nelson worked as a reporter on a number of local newspapers and trade publications before joining Travel Weekly. After seven years at Travel Weekly and Travolution, he moved in to corporate communications at the lastminute.com Group – managing PR and internal communications for the group and all its brands, including lastminute.com, Travelocity, Holiday Autos and Medhotels. Nelson then joined World Travel Market ultimately running the Press and PR department for the portfolio which covered WTM London, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa. He also co-founded and launched the International Travel & Tourism Awards before leaving to launch and head up a travel and tourism division at broadcast PR agency Markettiers. Nelson now works as a PR consultant.

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