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Will 2021 be Another Year of ‘Staycations’ or Will we Soon be Boarding Planes?

A ‘vaccine passport’ will allow millions to fly, but many will likely refuse. Peter Hemple reports

It is impossible to write about the short-term accommodation (SA) market in the UK without talking about the impact that the pandemic has had on the sector. It is therefore also crucial to look at what the situation is today in the UK, with regards to the pandemic, and what is likely to happen throughout 2021. This ultimately leads us to the vaccination rollout, (with Europe left choking on the UK’s dust), and the much talked about vaccine passport plan.

In mid-March, the European Commission proposed the introduction of a Covid passport to allow 450m Europeans to travel freely by summer. The so-called ‘Digital Green Certificates’, which should be free of charge, will be delivered to EU residents who can prove they have been vaccinated, but also to those who have tested negative for the virus or have proof they have recovered from it.

Southern European countries such as Greece and Spain have been pushing for the technology, although others – including France – argue that it is premature, and have expressed concerns regarding discrimination. A number of countries, including Estonia, Romania and Georgia, are already waiving quarantine for non-EU arrivals who can prove they are fully vaccinated. At the time of writing, Iceland said it would open its borders to vaccinated foreigners, while France had just gone into a full lockdown.

Basically, this summer will be a continuation of the chaos throughout Europe that we witnessed in 2020. There will be no ‘V-Day’ celebrations where the whole continent takes to the streets and starts hugging each other. Even if all countries across the EU agreed to let in vaccinated Brits this summer, those countries will demand that visitors have had both vaccines shots and while the UK government did manage to give a first dose of the vaccine to around 37m people before Easter, less than 10% of adults had had both shots.

Much to the envy of the rest of Europe, the UK is still on course to vaccinate all adults by the end of July, with the younger generation likely to be given the Janssen vaccine, which only requires one shot. While this might lead to a flurry of last minute flights being booked in August, most families with children will not want to risk overseas travel this summer in case things suddenly change (yet again) and they will therefore be looking to book a holiday home in the UK this year.

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