The UK’s two largest tour operators confirmed they are still planning to resume holidays on May 17 as they await confirmation on travel’s restart.
Both Tui and Jet2holidays responded to reports suggesting international travel may not resume before July, and pointed out that legislation being drafted that will see fines of up to £5,000 handed out to people who try to travel without a valid exemption does not supersede the report from the UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce, due on April 12.
Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator, insisted “holidays this summer will be possible” but accepts entry requirements will “vary from country to country”.
Currently, all Tui UK holidays are cancelled up to May 17, which as it stands remains the earliest possible date for a return to overseas travel for leisure.
The company said: “We remain committed to working closely with the government on the Global Travel Taskforce and look forward to understanding more about when international travel can take place when it reports on April 12.
“We believe holidays this summer will be possible, taking into account our outstanding vaccination programme and the use of testing where required.”
The statement added: “We recognise that entry requirements will vary from country to country and we will do everything we can to communicate requirements to our customers.
“Currently all Tui holidays have been cancelled before May 17 and all customers with a booking before the end of June are able to move it to another time for free as we recognise the uncertainty around travel at this time.”
Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy added: “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.
“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.”
Heapy added: “From the demand that we are continuing to see, one thing remains abundantly clear – our customers very much want to get away on their holidays this summer and beyond.
“As the summer approaches, customers are looking forward to clarity about how they can get away on their much-needed holidays, which they have waited a long time for.