Travel insider says there’s ‘no reason not to book 2021 holidays now’ despite uncertainty

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Today, budget airline easyJet revealed its first annual loss in its 25-year history. The airline announced that it had lost £1.27billion due to the coronavirus pandemic. The whopping loss was for the year to September 30, and marked the devastating impact the virus has had on the travel industry.

This morning, Co-founder and Chairman of Trailfinders Mike Gooley discussed what the future of the travel industry could look like on Sky News with Kay Burley.

Trailfinders, which is a British travel company in the UK and Ireland, has remained largely “pandemic-proof”, according to the presenter.

The company is the largest independently owned travel company in the UK, and has 37 travel centres in the UK and Ireland.

Mr Gooley explained that there’s no reason for keen travellers not to book their holidays for next year now.

He said: “There’s no reason not to book your 2021 holidays now on the basis that if for some reason they can’t go ahead – maybe because of the pandemic or restrictions – you will not suffer financially, you will either get a full refund or, as many people do, they rebook the same holiday but a few more months in advance.

“At least if they book now, they can take advantage of the very good rates that are around.”

When asked about companies giving passengers vouchers instead of their money back, Mr Gooley said that for him, travel companies are selling an experience not a commodity.

He explained: “From the very beginning it struck me that we’re selling an experience not a commodity.

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“That’s one of the problems with these collapses, even if people eventually get their money back they’ve been denied the holiday they were looking forward to.

“There is huge pent-up demand. So if we look at when things might return to ‘normal’ every month that goes by I think it probably adds another two months.”

He explained that cabin crew and aircraft won’t be able to go back into “full scale action overnight” so it will take time before they can fully recover.

“That will result I think in a lack of availability – the demand will exceed the supply.”

Mr Gooley added that if there is a sudden surge in demand, airlines are likely to hike their prices.

The Trailfinders CEO was asked where he was most looking forward to travelling to next year.

He described Far East Thailand as being a “favourite” of his and said he’s also looking forward to visiting Australia.

However, he noted that Australia is “rather shut down” at the moment.

“They have the advantage of being insular – that [Australia] will probably be the last to recover.”

He also revealed that he enjoys the Caribbean due to the “fairly quick” flight.

Australia has stringent entry requirements in place with only Australian citizens and returning permanent residents and their immediate families being allowed to enter.

There are exemptions who meet the criteria or who have a compassion or compelling reason to enter the country.

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