British tourists are reportedly postponing holidays booked to The Canary Islands until the summer of 2021, instead of trying to visit this winter, due travel restrictions imposed by the British Government banning holidays from England until at least December 2, say British travel agencies, although some may well try for last minute deals before Christmas.
The Minister of Tourism for the Canary Islands Government, Yaiza Castilla, met yesterday, via video link, with the Association of British Travel Agencies (ABTA) and EasyJet representatives participating in London’s international tourism fair, World Travel Market (WTM), which this year is has been held virtually, due to COVID-19.
Susan Deer, ABTA’s director of industrial relations, and Angie Hills, head of destinations, explained that thousands of Brits have lost confidence in booking vacations for this winter. However, they warned, consumers are also no longer booking very far in advance, which means that this Christmas there may well be an avalanche of British tourists making last minute bookings, if restrictions are relaxed.
ABTA say that as soon as possible, the British will travel to the islands, so they have insisted on the need for clear information on all conditions that must be met by visitors choosing to come to the Canary Islands.
Castilla assured them that “we are going to take advantage of this direct line [of communication] that ABTA has offered us with its associates, so that they can transmit the information about what we are doing at the destination. They have put at our disposal their own communication channels with their members so that we can let them know what a Briton needs if they come on vacation to the archipelago”.
The main Canary Islands Tourism Board team, Promotur Turismo de Canarias, were also present at the meeting where ABTA recommended that promotional actions should incorporate values such as sustainability, accessibility of natural environments and open spaces, since now more than ever they arouse the interest of audiences, who are very concerned about sustainable and safe travel.
ABTA pointed out that the Canary Islands destinations have something that other destinations lack. The archipelago is well known by British tourists, who favour the islands, preferring to return to places where they know what they are going to find, rather than venturing out to try new experiences in places they may be travelling to for the first time.
EasyJet said that the desire to travel is still there, with real demand from people who have not been able to do so and who are waiting for measures to be implemented to give them security, such as carrying out tests before travelling.
EasyJet has confirmed that the Canary Islands are crucial for them and that when the safe corridors were announced they experienced a 900% increase in reservations that lasted about 10 days until the second English lockdown was announced.
It was also reported that they have more than 300 aircraft ready to meet the demand as soon as the situation has been clarified.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the Canary Islands to lose some 7.2 million air travel seats between the months of February and November.
The minister argues that first-hand contact with the operators of origin is essential to explain the situation in the archipelago and the security that it currently offers as one of the few open winter tourist destinations.