Holidays: Simon Calder gives 2021 travel advice
Skiing holidays have been scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic this winter season. Many of the European countries home to the best slopes, such as Italy, Switzerland and France, are not on the UK travel corridor list meaning quarantine is required on return to the UK. What’s more, a huge swathe of European countries have blocked UK arrivals after a new strain of highly-transmissible COVID-19 was identified in Britain.
On top of all this, the UK is currently in its third national lockdown which is not set to end until at least mid-February.
Unsurprisingly, travellers are itching to get away – but when can skiing holidays return?
Express.co.uk spoke to TUI skiing brand Crystal Ski for their travel advice on snowy getaways this year.
The bad news is, it doesn’t look promising for the current season, which generally runs from the end of November and close mid to late April.
“We’re realistic with our approach to what skiing will be available this winter,” said the TUI spokeswoman.
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“However, while the situation is not encouraging at the moment, it is everchanging as we have seen over the past months.”
Some people are ploughing ahead with travel plans regardless and TUI hasn’t lost all hope.
“We’re taking bookings for Easter this year and are still seeing some demand come through, particularly holidays with higher-altitude destinations, particularly France,” said TUI.
“We’re operating in challenging times and we haven’t totally written off this season. If we can get people away safely we will.”
However, booking for the next season – from late November 2021 onwards – is likely wiser at this time.
What’s more, the sooner you get your booking in the better.
“Booking patterns are suggesting that customers are more confident booking next season with sales significantly up every day,” explained the TUI spokeswoman.
“This is not just customers transferring their holidays, but new bookings coming as well.
“We know skiers are desperate to get back to the slopes and if customers have a specific holiday or destination in mind for next season they should definitely book early.”
So, for those keen to get a skiing holiday in the diary for winter 2021/2022, where is best to go?
TUI hope they’ll be operating holidays everywhere eventually and good deals are available now.
“When the UK Government advises that it is safe to travel again, we hope to operate holidays to all our destinations,” said the TUI spokeswoman.
“We have a great range of short and long haul skiing holidays, and should a destination become unavailable due to the impact of COVID-19, customers will easily be able to amend their holiday to a new destination.
“At the moment, some excellent deals can be found in resorts such as Arinsal in Andorra, Borovets in Bulgaria and Salla in Finland.”
Some travellers still may be nervous about booking but TUI, like many other holiday operators, is offering flexible booking.
TUI explained: “It’s worth noting that our customers can rest assured that their money is safe and protected.
“Should their holiday need to be cancelled due to Government advice, they will have the option to amend their holiday or receive a full refund.
“Also, included in Crystal packages is Covid insurance, protecting customers both before they travel and whilst on holiday.”
Travellers also needn’t worry about getting stranded abroad if flights are cancelled.
“We are committed to our customers, and with full access to our chartered airline, TUI Airways, we will ensure all customers are brought back to the UK,” said TUI.
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