CORONAVIRUS has encouraged a disturbing new wave of cancellation and condemnation which is now being transferred to folk like me who have the “audacity” to take a holiday overseas.
Apparently trying to keep our airline and tourism industries alive and support struggling European neighbours while enjoying much needed R&R following months of Covid misery are now reasons to be publicly shamed.
On Sunday, I returned from a phenomenal week in Tuscany, where Italy’s seaside tourist industry is starting to sputter back to life.
There are currently just 241 daily new Covid-19 cases in Italy, less than half of the UK’s very pleasing 662 cases on average each day.
On my return, I posted on Instagram: “I know there’s a long way to go and understandably not everyone feels ready, especially with the Spanish quarantine, but travelling to Italy this past week felt completely exhilarating and so good for the soul.
“Everyone has been safe and responsible along the way, with a real respect that Europe remains haunted by Covid. But there is hope – I think keeping our travel and tourism industry going, both at home and abroad, is so important.”
While most folk were supportive, there were those who scolded me, deeming a leisure holiday at this time an unnecessary luxury.
Others shared their very real fears that the uncertainty over quarantines would make it almost impossible for them to take pre-planned holidays for the rest of the summer.
Let’s get real for a second: 99 per cent of the population CANNOT go on a holiday if it means quarantining for two weeks – or even ten days – on the other side.
That’s a ridiculous prospect.
We are already in an era of fiscal catastrophe. The entire tourism industry is close to collapse. This uncertainty could be terminal.
Of course, the government has to protect the UK from a potential second wave of coronavirus, but that’s why any quarantine measures should be introduced with the utmost thought and caution.
For example, there is absolutely no reason why the completely safe Balearics and Canary Islands – which include British tourist hotspots like Ibiza and Tenereife – should be included within the blanket Spanish quarantine rules.
In future, the government should also provide at least a week’s notice that they are considering introducing a quarantine to give consumers a choice to travel and take the hit of a lengthy isolation period on their return.
The Spanish outbreak did not happen overnight so there could have been more warning.
Testing should also be stepped up to make it easier for returning visitors. Given our growing capacity, why could everyone not be tested at the airport as they get back to the UK?
But my personal plea to you is this: If you have a holiday booked, don’t panic and immediately cancel. If it works out like it did for me, it really is worth the little bit of extra stress.