The head of the UK’s largest tour operator has said that British tourists will experience holidays that are close to normal, following the launch of travel corridors between the UK and overseas destinations on Friday.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK and Northern Ireland, said holidaymakers could expect ”90 per cent of normality” on their trips but would have to adjust to a few changes.
His comments came as the company restarted a limited amount of flights to Spanish destinations including Ibiza and Tenerife, the day after the UK government allowed people to travel to certain destinations without the need to self-isolate upon their return to England.
However, British tourists will still need to abide by the coronavirus regulations that are in place at their destination. For example, those who travel to the Balearic Islands will need to wear a mask from Monday unless they are exercising or at a swimming pool or beach.
Despite these local rules, Mr Flintham said people should ”be able to enjoy the major amenities”, stressing that ”the 90 per cent or the 85 per cent of the normality of your holiday is going to be there”.
Among other changes, tourists will see social distancing markers at pools, outside-only entertainment and no buffet services as precautions against the transmission of coronavirus.
On flights, hot food will not be offered and flight attendants will wear gloves and masks.
Ben Campbell, a 25-year-old cabin crew member at TUI, said he was “really excited” to return to work for the first time in more than three months.
“For me as a crew member this is probably the longest I’ve been in the UK for about six years, so it’s been strange for me,” Mr Campbell said.
He warned customers that procedures including disembarking aircraft would take longer than they did before the pandemic because of health precautions.
TUI plans to carry up to 12,500 people on holiday on up to 60 flights from London’s Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester airports in the next two weeks.
It will also soon reopen routes to Turkey, Greece and other Spanish destinations from further airports.
Additional reporting from Press Association