Credit: Pixabay JESHOOTS-com

Press pause. February’s newsletter is a panic-free zone.

February is such a short month yet it already feels like we’ve an entire year’s worth of shock headlines, strong opinion and scare stories. Everyone wants to go on holiday and tour operators want to sell their packages. The overwhelming message though is look before you book.

The best travel tip is to be prepared. A staycation is the simpler option. If you’re travelling abroad this year there will be extra costs involved to cover testing, possible quarantining and unknown expenses you might face if you get caught in a local lockdown.

Other points to consider include: will there be social distancing on the plane? What happens if you test positive for covid before the flight? Also, you’ll have to wear a mask for many hours: from the moment you enter an airport through to landing and leaving at the other end. So, pack lots of them, along with plenty of hand sanitiser, plus anything else you might need (a loo roll, snacks) just in case.

At Chalkmarks, we have been looking at the data and the charts used by tourism agencies that help them see a clearer picture. The facts and figures will lead us back to those sunny beaches.

Here is a rundown of the up-to-date numbers that take out the noise. Thanks for reading. Have a good month. 

February: fast facts

£2.4bn: the cost of the UK covid variant on tourism.

Corfu, Orlando and Faro: top three destinations booked by Brits for 2021.

Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany: Europe’s top five destinations for 2021.

51%: Europeans are eager to travel by the end of July.

Hotel chains: most trusted choice for overnight stays.

100,000: Tourists arrive in the Maldives in the fist 35 days of 2021.

*figures from VisitBrtiain, Visit Maldives, ETC, ForwardKeys, STR.

What’s trending: “vaccine tourism”. Shortly after the remarkable news a jab had been developed that could end the coronavirus pandemic, people were Googling where they could travel to get the vaccine. Start reading!

The cost of covid: What’s the cost of the UK variant? VisitBritain puts it at £2.4bn. Exclusive here!

Whale of a time: Tenerife becomes the only marine hub in Europe recognised for its responsible whale and dolphin watching. Must see!

No way Pedro: Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, frightened everyone in the UK when he suggested that he wanted 70% of Spaniards vaccinated before tourists returned this summer. Explore more!

One more thing: The biggest barrier to travel is consumer confidence (after the pandemic, of course). The UNWTO is drawing up the world’s first tourism Code to protect travellers. Sneek a peek at the plan!

Code to protect tourists

“Many of us – and I include myself here – are not afraid to travel again, at least not because of the virus but we are afraid of the situations we expose ourselves to when we book a trip.

“There seems to be a lot of questions that a traveller needs to carefully assess that didn’t exist before covid-19 and the fact that the answers are so different from one airline to another and one travel company to another and one country to another is not helping at all. There seems to be too many obstacles.”

Alicia Gómez, legal counsel at UNWTO.

Vaccine tourism

“The area that is definitely growing and that needs to be managed from a communications perspective is the relationship between the vaccine and travel. People are trying to figure out all the rumours. This is really for DMOs [Destination Marketing Organisations] and other major stakeholders in the industry to make sure that accurate and up-to-date information is provided.

“There’s a lot of interest in vaccine tourism, as controversial as it might be, that’s why it’s important to manage this topic.”

Google’s global destinations marketing partner Iva Kutle Skrlec.

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