Westoe Travel boss welcomes idea of vaccine passports
The boss of Westoe Travel has said he is in favour of vaccine passports being introduced so that passengers feel reassured when travelling.
Graeme Brett, who has run the popular South Shields travel agent with wife, Joan, for the last 32 years, believes that a vaccine passport would be the best way forward for reopening the travel industry safely.
The Government has said in its road map out of lockdown that international travel will not restart until May 17 at the earliest.
However the Prime Minister has confirmed there will be a review into the idea of vaccine passports to act as formal proof that an individual has had their Covid-19 vaccination which could enable them to go on foreign holidays.
Westoe Travel owner Graeme said: “I think it would be really good.
"I think a lot of countries are going to ask for some proof of vaccination to allow people in and they are either going to have proof they have had the vaccine or that they have had a negative coronavirus test.
"So if somebody has a vaccine passport, it could potentially save them around £100 per person from having to have a covid test when they go.
"It could also potentially help on their return by either reducing the quarantine they have to do or having to have a test on their return.
"I think it would also reassure passengers if they know everybody they are travelling with has a vaccine passport.”
Graeme said many of his customers would also welcome the vaccine passport, as requiring a negative test to travel has been ‘stressful and a hassle’ for holidaymakers.
He said: “The UK is well ahead of the rest of the world with vaccinations so we need to find these travel corridors with other countries who want to welcome our tourists in.
"Lots of countries such as Greece, Turkey and Spain rely on tourism for their economy and they would be keen to have UK tourists this summer so will be doing everything they can to make it safe for tourists to visit.”
As the vaccine roll-out continues at pace, Graeme is already seeing an increase in holiday bookings among passengers of all ages for later in the year, with destinations such as Greece, Turkey and Spain among the most popular.
“Since the vaccine process started, we have had more people making bookings for later in the year and for next year,” he said.
“There has been so much doom and gloom with having the lockdown – people just want to have a nice holiday to look forward to.”
He added: “As the vaccine is being rolled out, it has given people the confidence to go ahead and start booking holidays for later in the year.
"Our bookings are increasing each week by 20% on the previous week.
"Now, the older groups have had their first vaccine and have a date for their second vaccine, they are thinking they will book their holidays so that they have something to look forward to."
Graeme is hoping the Government will provide clarity on the holiday situation for the summer.
"We have been going 32 years and last year was the hardest year we have ever had because of the restrictions in place,” he said.