Key things to consider when planning travel and live events in the coming months.
Frustration leads to excitement, but ultimately leaves questions to be answered.
When the UK government outlined their roadmap out of Covid lockdown two weeks ago. This was largely met with relief, excitement and brief release of a year of frustration.
While our last blog Breaking Boris explored the details of the roadmap. It raised some interesting questions for corporates, leisure groups and planners alike. So we wanted to explore these questions to provide some insight in what to look out for when planning over the coming months.
12th April, 2021
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps revealed today that 12 April, is when the government will publish a global travel taskforce report. The taskforce has been set up to consider the fantastic response of the UK vaccination rollout versus other countries' vaccine programmes.
"So there are lots of questions the answer to which we simply don't know yet about how safe it will be in June to travel around," he said.
By this we can expect that while an ease in travel measures and quarantines will be put into place. But also certainly expect there to still be restrictions to specific destinations, impacting both international events and holidays across the summer.
April will also feature the set up of an Events Research Programme by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Working with event industry representatives, the programme will explore when and how events with larger crowd sizes, less social distancing or in settings where transmission is more likely (i.e. indoors), will be able to return safely. This includes conferences and exhibitions, as well as consumer events such as festivals and sporting events.
Pilots events will determine the ability to be able to lift restrictions on events and sectors as part of Step 4.
To say the idea of a covid vaccination passport has been met with mixed emotions is a slight understatement! In a recent social media poll we ran through all our channels it read 62% for passports to be introduced for all live events and travel versus 25% against them entirely. The remaining 13% were for use only at events above 1000+ people.
Greece tourism minister Haris Theoharis hoped to welcome foreign tourists from 14 May. "Regarding 2021, in Greece we are more than optimistic." he said during an appearance at a travel trade show. "Visitors will be required to have been vaccinated, have had a recent negative Covid-19 test or have coronavirus antibodies," he said.
Cyprus and Portugal have also both recently stated their intentions to open up to the UK from mid May.
It is important to consider and plan for covid passports, especially for events and travelling internationally. As much as the resistance to it, there is somewhat of an inevitability to them in our opinion. While we wait for any announcement to come from the Taskforce on the implementation and what it will mean. We are advising clients to add into their thinking with travel and events. As it will certainly impact on attendance and location until full rollout of the vaccine.
17th May, 2021
This date has been marked as the date that we could potentially look at travel again. We would highlight that this date may change and is subject to a review closer to the time. It is currently illegal to travel internationally from the UK until this date at the earliest.
With the Transport Secretary adding "There were lots of questions to answer about how safe it will be in June to travel." We can expect a real possibility of a delay, plus likely covid passports and destination restriction lists. For travel and live events to have the best chance of going ahead, planners should really be looking at Q4 as a realistic timescale...albeit with much frustration.
One positive to draw on from this is a change in feeling within the government. It does appear that they finally recognise that travel, tourism and hospitality needs to begin again. Not just from an economic need to the UK and countries we are keen to partner with post Brexit (remember that?). But also the need and want for people to return to normality in 2021 and have that much needed holiday! But we need to play our part by being responsible and not reckless when such freedoms return.
Much to ponder on, especially for those planning travel and events. While we welcome the change in mood and optimism brought about from the vaccinations and roadmap. We also recognise our responsibility to plan and advise clients with the best information. To coin a phrase...act on the data and not on emotion.
If we have taken anything from the past 12 months it's that things are changing constantly. This can be on the positive with trial events and unblocking of travel. But we cannot take these initial steps and plans as absolute and act on excitement and need for travel and live events. Another 2 months of tests, research and vaccines and we will have a much better picture to plan with.
We Are MEaT have been and are continually monitoring all aspects regarding the return of travel and live events. In the next month as we move closer to 17th May, we will bring back another season of our After Lockdown interviews. As we speak we are arranging interviews with key destinations and venues both UK and international to provide on the ground up to date news and advice for planners.
Should you wish to be part of the interview series or if you're considering travel and live events and need guidance. Do get in touch with the team - firstname.lastname@example.org