Travel giants TUI and Jet2holidays have confirmed that they are still planning to restart holidays on 17 May despite speculation that overseas travel will be banned until July.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during his Coronavirus Downing Street Briefing that it was too early to say if the travel ban would be lifted on 17 May.
But he said he “hopes to be saying more” about international travel by 5 April.
On Thursday, MPs will vote on a new law to fine people £5,000 if they try to travel overseas without a valid exemption before the end of June.
Publication of the draft legislation yesterday has led to speculation that the ban on overseas holidays will be extended beyond 17 May, but this has not been confirmed.
The Government has previously said that it will wait for the advice of a new Global Travel Taskforce, which is due to produce a report on the return of international travel on 12 April.
However, there has since been an alarming rise in the number of coronavirus cases across continental Europe, leading to doubts that holidaymakers will be allowed to visit popular destinations such as Spain, France and Italy this summer.
There is also concern that European countries have been much slower than the UK to roll out their own vaccination programmes.
When does TUI say it will restart holidays?
The UK’s biggest holiday company insists holidays this summer will be possible.
Of course, the final decision doesn’t rest with TUI or any travel company but with government ministers here in the UK and overseas.
TUI admits that it might be hindered by the entry requirements of individual countries.
“We believe holidays this summer will be possible, taking into account our outstanding vaccination programme and the use of testing where required.
We recognise that entry requirements will vary from country to country and we will do everything we can to communicate requirements to our customers – TUI
TUI customers with bookings up to the end of June are allowed to change to a later date for free.
When does Jet2 say it will restart holidays?
Jet2holidays Chief Executive Steve Heapy said the company is still planning to start flights and holidays on 17 May.
“We once again welcome the fact that the UK government is continuing to show a clear ambition to reopen international travel, and, like our customers, we look forward to further detail in the coming weeks so that we can get flying again,” he said.
“Despite reports today, it is important to note that these are draft laws which are designed to prevent people travelling before May 17. We are currently planning to commence our flights and holidays programme on that date, in line with government advice, and we are monitoring the situation very closely.”
Is it safe to book a holiday from 17 May?
Ultimately it will be down to the Government to say when overseas holidays can restart and we’re unlikely to hear confirmation of this until 5 April at the earliest.
Even if it says we can take foreign holidays from 17 May, we might face entry restrictions from overseas destinations.
We might also have to be tested for Covid before entering other countries and we might have to take at least one test to return to the UK.