Cheadle and Manchester based online travel firm, On the Beach, has suspended sales of holidays for the summer 2021 season as holidaymakers show lukewarm response to government’s recently announced travel rules.
The firm’s CEO, Simon Cooper, criticised the traffic-light system for travel rules, with destinations categorised as green, amber and red and reviewed every three weeks. He said the plans gave holidaymakers no certainty over whether trips could go ahead, and whether they would need to quarantine on return outside of a three week window.
As a result, On the Beach has suspended sales temporarily for trips in June, July and August this year, saying the company was not interested in “selling holidays that are unlikely to happen.” Simon Cooper said:
“We don’t know enough yet about how the traffic light system will work in practice, and it doesn’t currently give any certainty or clarity beyond a three-week window.
“In the coming weeks and months – until vaccination programmes across Europe and beyond are further along in their rollout – it is very likely that we will see regular fluctuations in destinations’ traffic light classifications, and so there is likelihood of disruption or even cancellations for the many customers who want to book more than three weeks in advance.”
The firm’s CEO went on to criticise its rivals for continue to accept bookings despite the high risk of cancellations, adding:
Unlike many of our competitors, we have no interest in selling holidays that are unlikely to happen, as our business model enables us to put customers first, rather than needing to get cash in the door to contribute to high fixed costs, and offering refunds in the form of a voucher when holidays get cancelled.”
Manchester Airports Group has also criticised the government’s traffic-light system, arguing that the pace of vaccination in the UK should allow for more than 12 territories, including some not accepting tourists, should be including on the ‘green list’.