The industry must unite to demand a change to blanket guidance on all overseas travel, says Antony Martin, managing director of Rock Insurance Group
The government has been very clear on the implementation of a blanket 14-day quarantine for all returning holidaymakers, whether the travel sector likes it or not.
As an industry, we continue to argue that we can implement a better solution via track and trace technology, testing and travel PPE, but so far this has fallen on deaf ears.
However, the travel industry MUST be heard when it comes to revising the current FCO advice not to travel to virtually all holiday destinations.
Given that the “R” rate in many holiday destinations is lower than the rate in the UK, it makes little sense to say they are too dangerous to travel to, particularly if returning customers have to self-isolate.
Crucially, if the FCO advice remains not to travel when low-cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet recommence flights in July, then most customers’ travel insurance policies are invalidated, leaving customers completely unprotected if anything happens to them in resort, whether this is Covid-19 related or not.
The FCO advice could also cause an issue for retailers who have dynamically packaged holidays, as the Package Travel Regulations make the agent the principal and responsible for the “Health and Safety” of customers. If they send customers on holiday to a destination against the FCO’s advice, their public liability insurance could be invalid, and they in turn will be unfairly exposed.
Less likely, but possible, is a situation where the customer demands to cancel to comply with FCO advice, but the airline refuses any refunds as the flights are operating.
This will further exacerbate the current confusion around refunds and lead to further travel bankruptcies if agents have to refund customers whether they receive refunds from the airline or not.
As an industry, we must not assume that common sense will apply, but must speak now with one common voice to ensure that we are not plunged into a further lose:lose argument with travellers.
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