MORE than 120 travel companies have joined together to urge the government to restart travel by May – and are telling Brits to book holidays anyway.
The new campaign called Save Our Summer (SOS) includes big names such as easyJet Holidays and Love Holidays.
Holidays are currently banned due to the UK lockdown, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps previously warning families not to even book a trip abroad right now.
However, the new campaign has urged holidaymakers to ignore the advice and to book a trip anyway, while asking the government to restart trips by May 1.
PC Agency's Paul Charles, and co-founder of the campaign, said: "Senior government ministers have done a good job of torpedoing recovery in the travel sector and threatening jobs across travel and tourism.
“UK citizens should ignore their conflicting advice and book summer trips with confidence, knowing that they can get a refund or refix their travel dates if booking through a reputable travel provider signed up to SOS.”
The website also says in a statement: "A clear roadmap, with opening from 1st May, would support the 2.4 million jobs now at risk in the airline & wider travel & tourism sectors (according to WTTC)."
According to the SOS website, any travel provider who signs up to the SOS guarantee will ensure that all customers are offered either a refund or free date change due to Covid.
However, families are urged to book with caution, as there is currently no official date that holidays can go ahead so they may be cancelled at the last minute.
Mr Shapps warned last week: "I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad."
Many people who booked holidays last year have struggled to get refunds, and only offered travel vouchers, or to move their holiday dates due to the uncertainty.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has warned that splurging on a sunshine getaway – either in the UK or abroad – is risky because of the state of the pandemic and is " too early"
He previously said: “The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of house mixing, given where we are now, I think you just have to say, you're stepping into making guesses about the unknown.
"We just don't have the data, it's just too early.”
Hope for UK self-catered staycations have been raised for April, although this depends on the R rate falling and the vaccination programme progressing.
The vaccine target of 15m people being given the first dose by mid-February has been achieved, with hopes for 30m people by April.
Spain's tourism chief also said that Brits could return by summer with a vaccine passport.
Mr Valdes, Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism said: “The UK is among the countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world. In Spain, we aim to have at least 70 per cent of the adult population immune by summer so I’d say to British people, ‘Keep open your expectations regarding holidays in Spain. We’re looking forward to welcoming you again’.”
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