For most of the pandemic the travel and tourism sector has been an afterthought for governments across the world. This made sense given the scale of the public health challenge but as things inch back toward a hopeful normality, are we likely to see things improve for summer 2021?
With quarantines and lockdowns introduced at the start of the year it looked very unlikely. But things have slowly started to change. The multiple vaccines have proved effective against most forms of Covid-19 and countries like the UK have shown a nationwide programme can be rolled out pretty speedily.
Things haven’t gone as smoothly on the continent. There was an almighty row over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which some European countries declined to licence for older people. This has meant a much slower take up.
One ray of hope is the European Union’s much talked about vaccine passport. What Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called a “Digital Green Pass” could potentially open up Europe for travel.
The aim she said would be to allow European citizens “to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism.”
Given the United Kingdom’s impressive vaccine coverage, you’d have thought that this would also somehow include its citizens. Mediterranean countries like Spain and Greece will no doubt be furiously lobbying for some kind of travel corridor given the huge number of tourists that usually fly in.
Even if the details are scant at the moment it at least shows how far we’ve come in the last few months.