A north-east tourism expert has told The P&J he does not expect to holiday abroad this year – and predicts many consumers will spend another summer exploring destinations on their doorstep as the world slowly opens back up after Covid.
Robert Gordon University (RGU) senior lecturer Andrew Martin believes there are too many barriers to overseas trips, including the need for those arriving from abroad to have to quarantine in hotels to reduce the spread of coronavirus variants.
He said: “I understand the desire to get away and get some sun.
“But, personally, would I spend my money on it? The answer is no.”
Do you want to take the risk?
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said Scotland would go “at least as far” as the UK Government on new travel restrictions.
Mr Swinney told Holyrood the restrictions should be introduced “on a four-nations basis” to better prevent Covid-19 cases being carried into the country.
However, the deputy first minister stated the Scottish Government might introduce its “own additional supervised quarantine measures” if needed.
As head of RGU’s Scottish Centre of Tourism, Mr Martin sympathises with the travel companies being hit hard by the pandemic – and with the sun seekers potentially grounded for another year.
He said: “Do you want to take the risk? Will work allow it? There seems to be so many barriers up against it.
“I would certainly make sure I had very good travel insurance before I went out and booked anything.
“International travel is in the news. I think people have an aversion to flying.
“There are emotional reasons not to and there is fear of Covid but also that it can be very hard if you become stuck overseas.”
‘Restrictions should ease after Easter’
The tourism expert pointed to waiting lists of cruise operators lining up to scrap ships as consumers fear “being cooped up” aboard amidst the pandemic.
But would-be jetsetters are expected to celebrate any potential easing of Covid restrictions in Scotland with another summer of ‘staycationing’.
It is hoped this will aid the recovery of the Scottish hospitality sector, forced to close or to operate at vastly restricted capacity for much of the last year.
Mr Martin will this afternoon lead an online seminar titled ‘Post pandemic tourism‘.
“We all need a holiday and a break and restrictions should ease after Easter,” he said.
“Then there will only be one thing to do: a staycation.
“That’s what we are planning for, to welcome back visitors to Scotland who enjoy the natural outdoors.”
“Cities will potentially be net losers this year while countryside and rural settings will be the winners.
“People are seeking to be in open spaces and engaging with outside environments – so that’s where Scotland wins.”