How long will it take before we’ll be able to whizz around the globe like in the good old days?
Or will it be more confusion and ever-changing plans for the next 12 months? No one knows for sure, but these insiders are good people to ask…
DialAflight – Peter Stephens, managing director
For unspoiled beaches with no crowds, head for Sanibel and Captiva islands (latter pictured) off Florida’s west coast, says DialAflight’s Peter Stephens
DialAflight’s Peter Stephens
HOPES: It’s been a case of juggle, shuffle and grin-and-bear-it this year, with some customers refunded then rebooking up to four times. While this uncertainty will continue for the next few months, British families have saved an average of £7,000 each during lockdown so we’re anticipating a huge demand for holidays in late 2021.
FEARS: Most airlines are still in shock so will offer fewer routes, with a shortage of seats likely. In some destinations, accommodation is already scarce as rebooked events such as weddings and family get-togethers clash with those already scheduled for 2021.
TOP TIP: Villas in Italy and elsewhere will be the big success story, especially those that are part of hotels so you enjoy the best of both worlds. For unspoiled beaches with no crowds, head for Sanibel and Captiva islands off Florida’s west coast (dialaflight.com).
Inntravel – Karl Watson, managing director
Inntravel has introduced a six-night, self-guided cycling holiday in the far north-west of Portugal from Arcos de Valdevez (pictured) to the Atlantic
HOPES: For us to resume our full programme of off-the-beaten-track holidays to Europe, and that the desire to explore the continent remains undiminished, despite everything we’ve been through.
FEARS: That protection from the vaccines proves short-lived — and a messy Brexit creates obstacles and costs that will make British travellers prefer to stay at home.
TOP TIP: We’ve introduced a six-night, self-guided cycling holiday in the far north-west of Portugal from Arcos de Valdevez to the Atlantic, along cycle paths and through the Vinho Verde vineyards (inntravel.co.uk).
Travel expert – Jane Anderson
Family travel expert – Jane Anderson
HOPES: Travel is a brilliant way for families to bond and hopefully the pandemic has taught us to value it more. We may make fewer trips in 2021 but stay at our destinations longer.
FEARS: My worry is Brexit could make it more difficult to explore Europe, and multi-generational holidays will suffer because grandparents are fearful of the threat of Covid-19.
TOP TIP: Once global travel re‑opens, don’t give up on the UK. Children love glamping and we have many excellent sites such as Knepp Farm in West Sussex where families can learn about rewilding and take a Bats and Moths safari with a wildlife expert (knepp.co.uk).
Jet2.com and Jet2holidays – Steve Heapy, chief executive
Dalaman in Turkey (pictured) offers top value, says Jet2’s boss
Jet2 boss Steve Heapy
HOPES: News of a vaccine has had a positive impact and we’re confident pent-up demand will see our customers heading off for some well-deserved sunshine next year. Due to the pandemic, Jet2 has refunded more than £1 billion since March, and we will continue to do this if we are unable to provide clients with the service they paid for.
FEARS: We normally fly to more than 70 European destinations, but current Government advice means only ‘essential travel’ is permitted to countries not on the air corridors list. Our worry is these blanket bans will continue. We’d like a far more precise assessment.
Saga Cruises’ Nigel Blanks
Saga Cruises – Nigel Blanks, managing director
HOPES: We know our guests have missed exploring the world on our ocean and river cruises, and my greatest hope is that we’ll be able to welcome them aboard our new vessel, Spirit of Adventure, which was delivered in October.
FEARS: That we can’t resume cruising as we plan to do in spring. Saga has done everything possible to prepare ships and reassure guests, including attaining Shield+ safety accreditation, which confirms we exceed all necessary health and safety standards.
TOP TIP: The inaugural cruise of Spirit of Adventure is due to depart Dover on May 4, 2021, for a 16-night all-inclusive Baltic tour (travel.saga.co.uk).
The Good Hotel Guide – Adam Raphael, editor
HOPES: That next summer will be a staycation sellout. I’d also like the Government to reduce VAT permanently on hospitality businesses to 5 per cent.
FEARS: A continuing pandemic, Brexit chaos and rising unemployment makes everyone retreat to their bunkers and UK hoteliers wish they’d chosen another trade.
TOP TIP: Set in fairy-tale gardens in Devon, Hotel Endsleigh is a place for dreams, great food and walks in the glorious Tamar Valley (goodhotelguide.com).
Freelance Holidays – Paul Fogg, managing director
Avoid Greek ‘party’ islands in favour of sleepy Kefalonia (pictured) or western Crete, says Paul Fogg
Freelance Holidays MD Paul Fogg
HOPES: Our biggest hope is for more air corridors to open — and stay open. We’re seeing a trend towards longer rentals; people clearly want to make up for missed holidays.
FEARS: I worry the vaccination programme might stall. Travellers need to see it rolled out well so they feel confident booking for the summer.
TOP TIP: Greece has handled Covid-19 well and a villa there provides a safe space for a relaxing holiday. Avoid ‘party’ islands in favour of sleepy Kefalonia or western Crete (freelancevillas.com).
Ramblers Holidays – Kevin O’Regan, managing director
HOPES: We believe the world is more beautiful on foot and my hope is anyone who enjoyed exploring their area during lockdown will be encouraged to book an expert-led, small group walking holiday further afield.
FEARS: The Government should be an enabler rather than a blocker and must do more to help the industry.
TOP TIP: Hassness Country House in the Lake District, is where we welcome many guests for their first holiday with us (ramblersholidays.co.uk).