After a range of confusing comments and messages from various government ministers, we knew who we would have to turn to in order to set the record straight. And rant a little, of course - over to Grumpy Group Organiser.
The travel and tourism industry has suffered enough with little help from the Government, so the latest damaging, inaccurate and confusing comments from Boris and his cronies are beyond the pale.
The Prime Minister has warned it is “too early” to book a holiday when surely he meant it was too early to know when we can confidently confirm what type of travel and tourism will and will not be possible.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary went further (he likes adding fuel to any fire that man) by telling BBC Today: “On the shrinking chance that there’s anybody listening to this interview at this stage and thinking of booking a holiday under the current circumstances, bear in mind you cannot legally do that at the moment.”
At least Mr Shapps is aware that people usually nod off when listening to him. The big problem is that the language used in the interview has confused many into thinking that even planning and booking trips and holidays is illegal at the moment.
It is not illegal to plan and book trips and holidays. Shall I repeat that? It is not illegal to plan and book trips and holidays. Ministers will be telling us not to plan what we’re going to eat at the weekend next.
Plus, and as usual the messaging from the government is also inconsistent, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirming that he had booked a summer break in Cornwall and that we should be looking forward to a great summer. I am, thank you Matt.
Chris Rowles, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators told The Times that the message from the Government needs to be clear: “Book now — travel later. It’s perfectly legal and 100 per cent financially secure when booked through a reputable operator.”
“It’s perfectly legal and 100 per cent financially secure when booked through a reputable operator.”
Chris Rowles, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators
And there you have it. You can now rest assured that you are still allowed to think about, and plan future days out, short breaks and holidays. You can even book things in advance, hooray - it’s what most group organisers usually do anyway. I am already planning into 2022 and I know many other group travel organisers are too.
Let’s face it… thinking about where we might go, and what we might do is one of the few things that is helping us get through this torrid time. You can take away many of our freedoms, but I draw the line at hope and aspirations.
We all know that things are up in the air, and will remain so for some time. The tour operators I deal with have been nothing short of brilliant. If we need to change our plans, we will do so, but if we do not support and engage with operators, attractions, hotels and other businesses in the tourism industry how can we expect it to survive?
Oh, and I thought you would like to know that I have had my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. I know a few people at my local hospital and for some reason, they were queuing up to jab me in the arm when they heard I was coming in.
Perhaps I will need to prove I have been vaccinated to travel or visit certain places in the future, who knows? It is certainly not being ruled out by the Prime Minster. Maybe an app on our phones will give us some travel freedoms.
What I do know is that we have a number of British-based trips planned for 2021 that we are looking forward to, and if we need to move our holiday to the Amalfi Coast so be it.
But I will not stop reading about all the wonderful places I can take my group, or stop planning on taking them there. If that’s illegal you better lock me up and throw away the key.