Several countries around the world – including the U.K, China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates – have begun their vaccination programmes against Covid-19, with many other countries (including the USA) expected to follow later this month. What does this mean for the travel industry? Can we start planning our travels for 2021?
We’re all experiencing wanderlust, but it’s likely that we’ll have to wait a little longer for borders to open and for travel to become more commonplace again. There are currently several travel bridges open between neighbouring countries, but many countries around the world are experiencing a second wave of the virus and strict travel rules are in place. The vaccines are a ray of hope, however. Some countries, such as the U.K, are suggesting that leisure travel could resume by early-to-mid next year.
The vaccines that you will probably be hearing the most about are Pfizer/BioNTech (which is currently being administered in the U.K), the American vaccine manufactured by biotech company, Moderna, and the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine. There are others around the world currently in various stages of testing.
The good news for the travel industry is that the news of the vaccines has caused a surge in people visiting travel websites and subsequently booking trips for 2021. It’s sensible to be cautious when booking travels for the next year though – make sure your insurance covers you for all eventualities and be prepared for disappointment if your trip is unable to go ahead.
The logistics of administrating the vaccine to the entire world’s population is staggering – made even more difficult as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be stored at very low temperatures. This means that it will take a long time to roll out and will prioritised to those who are the most vulnerable to the virus.
It is not yet certain if travellers will have to show proof of their vaccination before they can board planes or enter other countries. This is an idea that the World Health Organisation is reportedly looking into, and Australian airline Qantas has already stated that a vaccination will be mandatory for future travellers. It is likely that this could become a requirement for long haul journeys or trips between certain countries, but perhaps not for short haul travel.
Different governments may also decide different rules for travel in 2021, so make sure you stay up to date with the latest news, particularly for your own country and any destinations you are hoping to visit next year. Countries that depend on tourism or have suffered from a lack of tourism this year are most likely to be welcoming visitors first – but destinations such as New Zealand and Australia that have had success eradicating the virus will likely keep their borders closed for longer.
There are many factors in play that will determine when and where you can travel next year, but we have our fingers crossed that early-to-mid 2021, travel will resume its place as a key part of many people’s lives.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.