Chris Cramptons PATA

PATA UK & Ireland chairman, Chris Crampton, on an optimistic start to 2021

Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK & Ireland, Chris Crampton, shares his hopes that we are finally in the endgame with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rolling out of (now three) vaccination programmes sees a positive shift in the course of the pandemic. Whilst still a difficult time, we can all start to feel more confident about the future.

There is considerable pent up demand for holidays and there will unquestionably be reticence concerning travel from many, but to a fair extent this doesn’t matter – it isn’t a question of whether travel and tourism will be better than five years ago, it’s that it will be an awful lot better than 2020. As the vaccination program rolls out across the UK, we are already seeing consumer confidence rise as tour operators report a spike in bookings, particularly in the over 50’s market, for 2021-22. It isn’t necessarily a matter of confidence returning when we are through this, it is that confidence is beginning to return now it’s clear we are getting through this.

Frustrating as it might be that there isn’t going to be a sudden relaxation of restrictions, rather a phased approach, every step closer towards allowing travel should still be celebrated, even if it doesn’t provide a silver bullet to the full resumption of tourism just yet.

Within the region itself we are seeing positive developments. Airlines have begun the process of reinstating routes, operators promoting long lead travel and hotels and attractions are Covid secure and ready to safely welcome guests.

Some countries in the Far East are in the early stages of reopening their borders for tourism which is encouraging, for example Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives albeit with varying levels of entry restrictions (visas, quarantine periods). Other countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are experimenting with country-to-country travel bubbles to jumpstart aviation, tourism, and business travel.

With increasing certainty will come conviction totravel and with some reallyexciting developments in the Far East for 2021, and beyond, from new hotel and attraction openings, global events, a return to cultural festivals and a greater focus on sustainability, we can all agree there is good reason to feel more positive.

PATA continues to support its members and agents and provide up-to-date factual information. Our calendar of events is ongoing (virtually) and we’ve added new training and networking events.

www.pata.org.uk


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