As the summer months roll around, the number of Brits hoping on planes to go abroad for their annual summer holiday usually rockets. However, in 2020, life is a little different and the sudden rush to find a warm foreign country with a beach isn’t what it used to be. There have been numerous flights going abroad to destination such as Spain, Greece and Italy, but the numbers are far from normal.
As the UK’s lockdown has begun to ease in recent weeks, thousands of Brits seized the chance to go abroad for the first time since March. Restrictions on overseas travel started to be lifted in July, with many people subsequently booking holidays abroad for the following weeks. Booking sites such as lastminute.com reported an 80% increase in sales compared to the previous week whereas TUI’s bookings increased by 50%.
When it was announced that various locations would require quarantine on return, there was uproar about how the rules could change so quickly. But with this virus, there is no predictability meaning rules could change overnight. This level of uncertainty is a further reason why so many are against travelling abroad at present.
Now, people have started to return to office spaces and other working environments, causing issues to arise regarding employees suddenly needing to quarantine. Some people, who have booked holidays, did not factor in the possibility of a two-week quarantine on return to the UK. This has resulted in thousands being unable to return to work upon arrival back in the UK while simultaneously being ineligible for holiday or sick pay.
Personally, I won’t be travelling outside of the UK anytime soon. Of the places which are open for visitors, many have restrictions which would alter the holiday experience. A holiday to me is a time to relax and unwind – something I wouldn’t feel able to do whilst this pandemic continues to kill hundreds daily.
For those who have been adhering to the guidelines by social distancing when visiting friends and family, going on holiday isn’t really the main concern on people’s minds. It is clear to many that tourism and overseas travel has been opened to aid the economy, with the government yet again failing to consider people’s mental wellbeing.
Hopefully in the near future, the thing I am most looking forward to is hugging my friends. Until I can do that, I see no point in travelling across the world, especially as I would intend to travel with the same people I currently have to be a metre apart from. If I can’t see them without social distancing in England, why would going to a different country with them be any different?
Due to the impact Covid has had on the UK’s economy, some people, who are eager to get away, plan to do so within the UK in order to help local businesses and tourism. For many, it is merely a change of scenery that is needed rather than a holiday abroad. Travelling by plane poses many risks due to the sheer number of people you would come into contact with. On the other hand, driving your own household to a different area of England for a holiday doesn’t seem to present the same problems, ultimately making it a much safer option.
While there are arguments for not letting the pandemic stop people from living their lives, with cases on the rise throughout Europe, is travelling abroad as safe and good of an idea as is being pushed by the UK government?
I continue to feel that the government is prioritising profit over people so personally I won’t be setting foot on a plane anytime soon. People travelling between countries is how this virus spread in the first place; doing so again will not help restrict it.
A holiday abroad would be nice, but so would a lower death rate. I know which I’d prefer.
Photo courtesy of Spencer Davis