Lawyers Issue Advice Ahead Of Anticipated Relaxation Of Travel Ban
As UK lockdown measures start to lift and countries in Europe open their borders again, Demetrius Danas, one of our international serious injury experts, examines whether this year’s summer holiday abroad has now re-surfaced as a possibility?
The UK Government continues to advise against all but essential international travel, and this restriction has been in place since 17 March, 2020. While this advice persists, foreign trips will be few and far between. However, if this blanket ban is lifted, there will be a surge in foreign travel.
The lifting, or at least the relaxation of the ban, is widely anticipated, with clear potential for this to be advanced through the introduction of air bridges. As a result, airlines are beginning to offer international flights again. EasyJet resumed flights on 15 June and Ryanair has stated that it will be operating 1,000 flights a day from 1 July.
This timing coincides with the UK’s review of its quarantine measures. Since 8 June, most international arrivals must quarantine for 14 days, but this is due to be reviewed for the first time on 29 June. Air bridges will be reciprocal arrangements with specific countries allowing quarantine-free travel. The most popular European tourist destinations are France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain so it is likely that air bridges with these countries will be amongst the first.
While the ban remains in place, any travel insurance is likely to be invalidated. Notwithstanding this, several travel insurers have now started selling policies – again it would seem in anticipation of the travel ban being lifted - which will cover policyholders if they fall ill with coronavirus whilst abroad.
However, even when the travel ban is lifted, and even though infection rates are falling, COVID-19 will remain a serious concern. In an effort to restore some measure of consumer confidence, several international bodies have released guidelines for the travel/tourism industry. The UN World Tourist Organisation’s, the EU Commission’s, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s detailed safety recommendations are aimed at protecting both workers and travellers/tourists in every sector of the industry, from airports and aviation right down to hotels and restaurants.
Airlines, tour operators, hotel resorts and other suppliers of holiday services that show they are complying with these guidelines are likely to be first choice for consumers looking to book a foreign holiday.
Similarly, those countries which have handled the Coronavirus pandemic most successfully -Greece seems to have done particularly well out of Europe’s most popular destinations - are likely to attract greater numbers of tourists.
Whilst there is no expectation that we will see travel reach pre-COVID-19 levels any time soon, this summer’s foreign holiday, for some at least, may well be back on.