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When will we be able to travel again?

Once restrictions are finally lifted, there will almost certainly be a significant appetite for travel
Once restrictions are finally lifted, there will almost certainly be a significant appetite for travel Credit: getty

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Updates will be posted here on a daily basis:

April 14

Glimmers of hope across Europe

三级成人视频Austria is to reopen thousands of shops this week as it seeks an end to lockdown. Initially, only small shops, DIY stores and garden centres will be allowed to welcome customers again, while social distancing rules will remain in place. 

三级成人视频The news comes as Spain and Italy, two of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, also said some companies could begin to restart operations. Travel restrictions, however, look set to be in place for many more weeks.

Extending France's state of lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron said the country's borders will remain closed until at least May 11. 

April 13

EU citizens have been told to put summer holiday plans on hold 

The elderly and people with underlying medical conditions may have to remain in isolation until the end of the year, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, warned.

“I’d advise everyone to wait before making holiday plans,” Ms von der Leyen said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag published on Sunday. “At the moment, no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August.”

三级成人视频Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has called for the external borders of the Schengen passport-free travel zone to stay closed until September, in a further indication that EU restrictions are set to remain in force for months.

April 12

Jet2 has suspended all bookings until mid-June

...at least. Following the FCO's updated warning that travel abroad is off the cards 'indefinitely', one of the UK's largest holiday providers has cancelled all bookings until June 17.

三级成人视频This applies to all its flights and hotel offerings. 

“We are proactively contacting customers in departure date order to discuss their options, one of which is rebooking their holiday to a later date,” a spokesperson said.

Cruise bookings are on the rise

Unperturbed by all the ways in which coronavirus has rocked the cruise industry - with passengers stranded for weeks in the early days of the spread and worldwide sailings now cancelled for the foreseeable future - bookings for next year are on the up. 

In the past month and a half, there has been a 40 per cent increase in reservations made for 2021, compared with 2019, according to CruiseCompete.com. 

April 11

Plans being drawn up in Whitehall could see Britain begin to emerge from lockdown in May三级成人视频, but voluntary social distancing measures may need to remain in place "indefinitely", Government experts believe.

It seems that many UK travellers are still planning holidays, with Trailfinders, one of the country's most established tour operators, reporting an uplift in bookings during the last few weeks. "While booking levels are not back to normal, Trailfinders is seeing a larger number of enquiries as each week goes by, which we believe is in part due to the extraordinary offers that are currently available," a spokesperson said. 

April 10

US authorities have banned cruise ships from sailing in its waters until at least July. Given the high-profile outbreaks seen on several ships, it is widely accepted that the cruises will be one of the last strands of travel to return to normal. Indeed, cruise industry insiders believe autumn is a more realistic target for the first departures. Read our full report here

Robin Hutson, chief executive of UK hotel brand The Pig, hopes to welcome guests back in time for the key month of August, but Marie-Louise Sciò of Pellicano Hotels is more optimistic. She told Telegraph Travel: "We are planning to open our hotels at the end of May/early June, unless something changes. Like everyone, we are seeing [what happens] day by day, one foot after the other." Find out what other hotel chiefs are saying

Spain is the most popular overseas holiday destination for British tourists, but as one of the countries hit hardest by the virus (and with some of the most severe lockdown restrictions), how long will it be off-limits? Our Spain expert Annie Bennett writes: "Given the very real possibility that tourists from the UK and other major international markets will be unable or unwilling to travel, many Spanish hoteliers are jittery about opening this summer at all. Earlier this week, Jorge Marichal, chairman of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, said that he feared many destinations would have to write off the summer season completely in order to survive. Jordi Mestre, chairman of the Barcelona hotel association (GHB), told the Spanish newspaper Expansión that he thinks people wouldn’t come to the Catalan capital even if they were giving the rooms away. He is not expecting any sort of recovery until September." Read her full report.

Over in America, Universal Studios theme parks have extended their closures until May 31. Meanwhile, an on when holidays will restart has concluded that the majority of experts think domestic trips by car will be possible by the summer and overseas breaks by the autumn. However, it anticipates that demand for travel will be slow to recover. 

April 9

Flight comparison website Skyscanner has conducted a survey of more than 5,000 travellers, a quarter of whom do not think travel will resume around the world for at least six months. The UK is more optimistic, however, with only 15 per cent thinking that; 85 per cent believe we will be travelling again by October. 

Aito, the Association of Independent Tour Operators, has said it anticipates UK travel to return in time for the summer三级成人视频. "If luck is on our side, then three months hence should see things calm down on the virus front," a spokesperson said. "It’s likely that the first travellers within the UK will venture out again to explore their own country at the traditional start of the summer season."

Craig Burton, chief executive of Active Travel Group, which encompasses a number of travel brands including BSpoke and Wilderness Scotland, had similar predictions. He said: "While it’s incredibly hard to predict at this point, we’re anticipating that UK adventures will be where the first signs of bounce-back emerge, with demand for accessible adventure from the second half of the summer into September and October. Outdoorsy holidays within easy reach by road or rail that can also serve as a reunion for friends and family will be front-of-mind for many."

April 8

Tui, Europe’s largest tour operator, has cancelled all holidays until May 14, extending its previous cancellation cut-off date by a month. It continues to allow anyone with a holiday departing before June 30 the opportunity to amend it free of charge to a later departure date. Tui has also cancelled all Marella Cruise holidays until May 31.

Jet2, which until now was hoping to restart services on May 1, has cancelled all flights and holidays until at least June 17.

A new survey of UK consumers who have already booked their summer holiday shows that 71 per cent are still hopeful they we be able to go abroad this summer. Men were slightly more confident than women (73 per cent versus 68 per cent). However, it also suggested that the overall mood was not positive, with 75 per cent of respondents believing that travel restrictions were going to get worse and a staggering 91 per cent saying they no longer felt like going on holiday. The survey - of more than 1,800 people - was carried out by carried out by Jersey Island Holidays.

A review of lockdown restrictions - due immediately after Easter - has been postponed in the light of the Prime Minister’s illness. Health Minister Edward Argar said today that there was not yet enough scientific evidence to make a decision and that it is too early to say whether or not we have reached a peak in the spread of the virus in the UK.

When will we be allowed to travel again?

Let’s be realistic. Travel will be one of the last areas of life to return to full normality once the Covid-19 pandemic fades. It’s not just a question of when restrictions in this country may be lifted so that we can actually leave our homes in the first place. Nor when the Foreign Office decides to lift its indefinite and blanket warning against all non-essential overseas travel. Even if that restriction were to be relaxed, many countries, still in lockdown or with their borders closed to foreigners, will remain out of bounds for some time to come. 

So when will we see a little light at the end of the Channel Tunnel? Much depends on the success of the current social distancing measures and how the lockdown is lifted. We though we would know a little more about this after Easter, but on April 8 Health Minister Edward Argar said that there was not yet enough scientific evidence to make a decision and that it is too early to say whether or not we have reached a peak for the spread of the virus in the UK.

We also need to look at China too. It took 60 days before it began relaxing travel restrictions in Hubei province. A similar experience here would take us to mid May - though it is worth remembering that China apparently managed to restrict the number of deaths to 150 per day at the very peak; on April 7 the UK announced its highest daily death toll (854) so we could be in for a longer haul.

What about holidays in the UK?

Having been stuck at home for so long - or at least heavily restricted in our movements - there will no doubt be an enormous pent up appetite for a change of scene once the chains are loosed. Clearly holidays in the UK will be the first which are available to us. There will surely be a surge in demand for breaks staying in rural accommodation - places perceived to be relatively safe and isolated and which we can get to in the safety of our own cars. Most major providers - including the National Trust, The Landmark Trust and Hoseasons - have closed their cottage programmes until the beginning of May. That now looks like a relatively early date for a restart - two or three weeks later seems much more likely. Center Parcs villages are also closed until April 30 - again, that will surely have to be reviewed. 

And overseas travel?

三级成人视频So, the optimists among us will be hopeful that British holiday spots will do well, perhaps even prosper this summer. Meanwhile, the next destination to see a return to greater normality will be perhaps be France. We have been asking Telegraph Travel readers about which country they would visit first after Covid-19, and around a third of respondents have said France. No doubt its proximity, familiarity, and the possibility that we can also get there in our own cars, is much of the appeal.

The good news for tour operators and airlines is that the next three most popular destinations were Spain (13 per cent), Italy (10 per cent) and Greece (9 per cent). This is encouraging not just because they are the key summer holiday destinations for British travellers, but because it suggests that readers are not fazed by visiting countries, like Italy and Spain, hit hardest by the virus. For travel to start returning to normal, confidence will be critical. 

When will flights restart?

It seems inconceivable that significant numbers of people will start flying, even to relatively nearby European countries, before June at the earliest. Currently EasyJet has suspended all but repatriation flights until the end of April. Jet2 was planning a restart on May 1, but on April 8 cancelled all flights and holidays until at least June 17. Ryanair says it does not expect to operate many flights before the end of May and last week British Airways laid off over 30,000 staff for two months, suggesting it has effectively given up on flying a significant number of fights until June. 

And package holidays?

三级成人视频The indefinite FCO advice against travel has thrown the industry into confusion. When there was a fixed end date, operators could use that to manage their cancellation timetable and there was some uniformity in the market. Now different operators are likely to plan their timetables differently. Europe’s biggest tour operator, Tui, today extended its cancellation schedule from April 16, and has now cancelled all holidays until at least May 14. However, the fact that it continues to allow anyone with a holiday booked departing before June 30 to amend it free of charge to a later departure date suggests it considers early July a more realistic re-start date.

Tour operators are hoping to salvage something from the summer Credit: getty

Will I have a summer holiday?

三级成人视频It’s far too early to be sure what will happen in the summer. But July and August will be critical for the industry. All travel companies are under a huge amount of financial stress at the moment. It is certain that some won’t make it through the lockdown period. But if they can start taking bookings again during June and July, there is hope that the bulk will be able to find a way to survive. 

三级成人视频The state of the pandemic and government restrictions both here and abroad will obviously limit their room for manoeuvre, but they will have a few cards up their sleeves. Airlines and travel companies know exactly how to win back custom - through lower prices. Cheap aviation fuel and empty hotels desperate for bookings will mean that there is plenty of scope to try to tempt us back. And the unique prospect of being able to visit destinations - like Venice, Rome, Dubrovnik and much of the Mediterranean coast - still relatively free of the usual tourist hordes will also surely be a draw.

Of course, life in those destinations will slowly get back to normal. The sights will be the same, and if hotels and restaurants close down, they will reopen. But the future of the travel industry in its current form - of the tour operators and airlines we use to get us there - will depend on whether the pent up wanderlust in all of us translates into bookings sooner rather than later. Otherwise, we won’t just suffer a summer of lost holidays, we find it harder to book and arrange them in the future.