In just a few weeks, the Covid-19 crisis has upended the way we live, work and travel. But just how is the coronavirus likely to affect our holiday patterns in future?
As lockdown begins to ease in the UK and Europe, there’s a glimmer of hope for holidaymakers looking forward to two weeks of relaxation in the sun. Spain and France are beginning to ease their confinement measures and there’s talk that borders will open between countries with similar risk profiles.
According to FCO advice, Spain will have reached phase 0 of its de-escalation plans in time to make summer holidays a possibility, with urban and regional transport operating at reduced levels and permitted travel to the airport. Hotels and tourist accommodation are due to reopen as part of phase 1 of the plan.
Face masks and quarantine
It’s worth noting that, although the UK government has made no statement on face masks, their use is compulsory on public transport in Spain and France. Similar social distancing and hygiene measures to those in place in the UK will continue to be observed even after lockdown eases on the continent.
It’s also worth considering that Spanish authorities are currently requiring all travellers to self-quarantine for 14 days. That could mean that even if visitors enter the country they could be required to stay in or near their hotels or holiday homes for the duration of their holiday.
However, with the FCO currently banning all non-essential travel, the bigger challenge may be leaving the UK in the first place.
The new normal
With holidaymakers at a standstill waiting to see what regions and borders reopen when, the world is assessing the impact on tourism as we move into the ‘new normal’. It’s important to remember that travel has always been dynamic and that changes in travel patterns happen all the time. In Spain, for example, tourism could once again be open by August with different provinces introducing deconfinement measures at different times with the Balearics, the Canary Islands and Almeria likely to be among the first regions to significantly ease restrictions.
What does seem certain is that travellers will be expected to observe social distancing and hygiene measures, with masks recommended in many circumstances and compulsory in others including travel. Some tourist hotspots are even using their successful handling of the coronavirus as a selling point for travellers.
What does seem certain is that the way we holiday will change significantly. With international travel uncertain for the foreseeable future, we’ll be returning to our favourite destinations closer to home in Spain and France. And instead of hotels or adventure breaks, we’ll be turning to holiday homes to provide us with the retreat we crave to reconnect with friends and loved ones when the lockdown finally ends.
Intergenerational travel will be a big trend with families keen to reconnect after having spent weeks apart. There’ll be plenty of mobile homes echoing to the sounds of laughter late into the night as we share our tales from lockdown and enjoy each other’s company in the most relaxing way possible.