Consumer uncertainty remains one of the greatest barriers facing travel recovery as concerns regarding refunds, insurance policies, cancellation and the general unpredictability of Covid-19 remain rife.

Aspirations for ‘pent-up’ demand were one of the most appealing scenarios for travel companies post Covid-19, but this now seems a rather ‘mythical’ concept, at least until a global vaccination is rolled out.

Air bridges gave operators hope for recovery but the recent announcement that UK travellers need to quarantine from Spain and Canary Islands reflects the ongoing unpredictability of this pandemic. This further reflects that contingency planning should still be key for tour operators as companies such as TUI, Jet2 and Hays Travel have repositioned themselves to better serve customers.

The odds are against a travel resurgence, for now

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the behaviour of young people could be fuelling the spikes of Covid-19 across Europe on 29 July.

Typically, the most active traveller type and one of the least vulnerable (Covid-19), it is unsurprising that those aged within the Millennial and GenZ (18-35) category were the least likely to reduce international travel in 2019 (GlobalData week 3 survey). The news from the WHO however could spark fresh uncertainties with many opting more for a ‘staycation’ rather than an international getaway.

Additionally, the news last week carried out by Which? declaring that 14,000 customers were still struggling to get their money back from flights and holidays that were cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, will not alleviate consumer anxieties.

Companies should be openly repositioning

TUI, Jet 2 Holidays and Hays Travel openly announced that management have updated insurance policies to accommodate certain Covid-19 related cancellations.

Management at TUI and Jet2 also took the decision to cancel flights to Spain subject to the re-enforcement of the 14-day quarantine measure.

The threat of a second wave of this pandemic is now threatening many a destination with key tourism hotspots across Europe such as Spain, Italy, Germany and France experiencing a rise in cases. Companies that have been proactive with their response to these updates will be in a better position in the eyes of the consumer. This will potentially lead to a better return on investment (ROI) when travel between destinations is more certain and travellers can once again book a holiday with 100% confidence.

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