Holidays around the world have been left in tatters, with cancelled flights, closed borders and global disruption due to the pandemic.
Australians have been told we’ll have to wait until the end of this year – or even beyond – before international travel will restart.
The federal government says now is a good time to start “dreaming” about your next holiday but you may have to look domestically first.
Earlier this month, Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it remained impossible to forecast precisely when travel restrictions will be removed, because that will be a matter dependent upon the health advice at the time.
“This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for quite some time to come,” he told the ABC.
“Certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, a bit of planning, think about that Aussie break that you might take when we do finally get to the other side of this.
“There may come a time where at least we can relax some of those travel restrictions within Australia and that will give you a chance to be able to get out, if you’re in a position where you can afford to do so – perhaps to support some of those regions who at the start of the year were dealing with bushfires, or indeed the many other tourism regions who are struggling at present because of the loss of business.”
Here is the latest advice from experts on when you can expect to be able to travel abroad again.
When should I book a holiday?
The current advice from the government is to avoid all non-essential travel indefinitely, with no date put forward on when domestic or overseas trips can resume.
Any current advice on when holidays are to be expected could change at the last minute with experts and tour operators unable to say for definite when trips will resume – especially if coronavirus cases surge again.
While airlines have revised their routes throughout April, May and into June, carriers in the UK are expecting to resume their normal flight ahead of the peak July and August summer season.
Both Jet2 and Ryanair hope to restart flights in June, while easyJet has launched holidays for late 2020.
Experts have said that a trip in the next three months could be on the cards if you’re already in Europe, but a European summer for Australians is looking unlikely for 2020.
Mark Hall, Director of Product at TUI UK told Sun Online Travel that international trips are likely to be much later for the European summer season.
“Whilst it’s difficult to predict, we do think that autumn and winter getaways could prove more popular than ever as people still want their yearly holiday,” he said, noting Christmas trips to European countries may be on the rise this year.
“We may see more late bookers as people cautiously search for the best deals and popular familiar destinations.
“Family favourite destinations such as Florida, mainland Spain and the Canaries are still top on searched destinations and we may see a demand for Caribbean holidays for winter sun at the end of 2020 and into 2021.”
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the strict lockdown would be extended to May 11.
Tourists are not currently able to enter the country if their reason for travel is a holiday.
The lockdown has been in place since mid-March, with stronger restrictions introduced on April 6.
While the lockdown end date is expected to be pushed forward again, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for trips in the summer.
The Tour de France has been postponed until August, meaning travelling around the country could be on the agenda by then.
Spain is beginning to lift their lockdown measures, with non-essential industry workers such as manufacturing able to return to work.
While the rest of the country remains indoors, coronavirus cases are slowing with the lowest daily growth recently reported, and normal life for citizens could begin to return by the end of the month.
A tourist firm in Benidorm said a spike in bookings for August and September was good news for the industry.
“I don’t personally think that we’re going to start recovering from this until June or July and even that’s maybe early,” President of Benidorm’s British Businesses Association, Karen Maling Cowles previously told Sun Online Travel.
“But British tourism I don’t see happening until September. Because the UK is still so far behind Spain and until you have it contained, people won’t be allowed to come and have their week in Benidorm.”
Some of the Greek islands, including Santorini, Crete and Kos, are yet to report any cases of coronavirus.
Despite this, tourism is not expected to return to the country for months, with the flight ban being extended until May 15.
Turkey introduced strict new measures to fight coronavirus over the weekend, with a new lockdown lasting 48 hours across 31 cities that took many by surprise.
Despite this, their government is still optimistic that they could be open for business by the end of next month.
The country’s culture and tourism minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said: “Hopefully, we will see that tourism activities will start again during the Ramadan Feast.”
The Ramadan Feast, also known as Eid ul-Fitr, will be celebrated at the end of May.
He added that he expected flight schedules to return to normal by the end of June, with air travel likely to start with Asia, followed by Russia, the Balkans and then Europe.
– with Kara Godfrey, The Sun