November 25, 2020
Good News…Bad News
As we’ve talked about in previous blogs (Ski Holidays in the Age of Covid, Covid Airport Testing Begins), the world is a very different place now compared to just twelve months ago. Coronavirus, lockdowns and bubbles have all become part of our everyday conversations (even being named amongst the ‘Words of the Year 2020’) – and uncertainty surrounding what will be possible from one week to the next has become commonplace.
The European ski season got caught in the first wave of Covid-related lockdowns back in March 2020, but we all agreed thar we had gotten off relatively lightly compared to the summer holiday season which was heavily affected by travel restrictions just 3 months later. Our sincere hope though was that things would be back to relative normality for the start of the 2020/21 ski season in December.
On reflection, this may have been a little optimistic, and while there are definitely reasons to be cheerful right now, it does look as if the impact of coronavirus will be felt by skiers & snowboarders in 2020/21. It’s not all doom and gloom, and there will still be skiing in some form this season for sure. Today just felt like a ‘good news, bad news’ kind of day for all those involved in the travel industry so we thought we would take a look at two major stories with an impact on ski and snowboard holidays…
We’ll start with some positive news for the travel industry…which is that the required quarantine time for those arriving back to the UK has been cut from 14 days to just 5 days. The BBC reports that from 15th December it will be possible for tourists returning to the UK to pay for a private Covid test to significantly reduce their quarantine time.
On the basis of obtaining a negative test result, passengers would be able to leave their quarantine period early and resume normal life. The government hopes that this will encourage more international travel for both business and pleasure, and will be a step towards resuming the travel industry as a whole.
This has been seen as a good step towards saving the aviation industry and allowing people to book Christmas holidays, however some in the industry have gone on to say it does not go far enough towards assuring travellers of minimal disruption – and with the private tests costing up to £100 per person there are questions about how many holiday-makers will be convinced to book flights right now.
Perhaps more encouragingly, The Independent reports today that five airlines (including Swiss International) are rolling out digital health passports to encourage travel. These standardised Covid tests will allow travellers to record a negative test prior to travel in order to cut, or even eliminate, quarantine times once they arrive at their destination.
It is early days for this scheme, but with the UK involved there could be some very positive developments soon. In the longer term, the ‘CommonPass’ could also be used to record passengers who have received a Covid vaccination and could therefore travel relatively unimpeded.
Unfortunately, we do also have to report some bad news as far as ski resorts are concerned too… In his address to the nation on Tuesday night, French President Emmanuel Macron strongly suggested that the opening of French ski resorts would be almost impossible before Christmas.
There is still to be an official announcement regarding ski resort opening dates within the next 10 days – but more likely than not this will reflect an estimated opening date of January. This is clearly very sad news for everyone involved in the ski season, be it through travel or working in resort. We will wait for the official announcement of course, but as The Local reports – the ski regions of the Haute-Savoie and Savoie have the two highest case numbers in France, so things aren’t looking great at this point.
So there you have it, some good news and some bad news. It’s just been that type of year – but we will continue to remain positive about ski holidays, and travel in general, becoming possible in the near future. From all of us at Snowcompare – stay safe, and we hope to see you on the slopes again as soon as possible!