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March newsletter: How far can we go?

Riiiiight! Good question. It’s not easy keeping up with all those roadmaps – for shops, pubs, hairdressers and weddings. But for travel, the short answer is, not far. On the flip-side holidays are set to resume from 12 April within England and on the 26th April in Scotland. There are no dates yet for Northern Ireland and tourism in Wales started this weekend.

My crystal ball tells that staycations are about to open up…way up. And thanks to the jab, there’ll be so much more that we can see and visit than last year. That’s a big win. From tomorrow (March 29) English Heritage is opening up 60 sites and VisitEngland has launched its new touring route the Great West Way that takes in Stonehenge. With British Summer Time here, it’ll be pure blue skies all the way with no fog anywhere.

I sooooo badly want to go abroad though? We’re with you. That’s the next big question. We’ll know more on 5th April. The UK government is looking at travel corridors – possibly with the US. With a third wave of coronavirus in Europe, many package summer holidays will be cancelled. Routes may reopen to Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece and Turkey for vaccinated sun seekers. Look before you book remains the mantra as holidaymakers are still waiting on refunds from last year.

But yo, how about those countries that have been quick to rollout the vaccine? That brings us to our top travel tips: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, Chile, Monaco, Bahrain, the US or China. Shake up your travel plans and have an adventure. This would be our safe travels roadmap out of lockdown. Happy holidays!

March: Fast facts

£61.7 billion: Predicted UK staycation spend for 2021.

£4.5 billion: Owed by package holidays in refunds.

30 million: The number of Britons who have received their first jab.

49 million: The number of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

21%: Britons who have booked a UK spring break.

Scotland, Southwest & north west: The most popular spring destinations.

Countryside and seaside: The two most popular hotspots.

Figures from VisitBritain, BBC, FT, Our World in Data.

What’s really new: The Great West Way. It’s 125 miles long. It boasts three World Heritage Sites, Bridgerton filming locations, royal palaces, Britain’s oldest road, canals, rolling English countryside and gastropubs with a Michelin star or two. Get there!

Something’s afoot: In the peachy sunshine of July we hiked the Rila Lakes in Bulgaria. It’s currently featured on the BBC2’s Pilgrimage, The Road to Istanbul. Here’s our winning summit shot!

For the love: With more than 100,000 couples missing out on their big day last year, venues are now backed up until 2022. How about getting hitched on a coach? On sale now!

What’s the craic: Not only is it castle to castle up in Scotland, it’s whisky central too. Try a wee tour around Speyside. Cheers!

Today we’re eating three desserts: Market research is showing that coming out of lockdown we want to shop and eat. If this is you, try this tour around Soho, London. For more health tips, follow the link!

The travel makers: The UK is considered the 4th most unsafe country by Chinese travellers to visit. Here’s the scoop.

Don’t WFH, work from Barbados, which looks set to extend its offer to stay for a year!

“The world that the Welcome Stamp responded to hasn’t changed: we are still dealing with covid, we are still dealing with lockdowns, people are still unable to go into their offices in the same way. We expect to be able to respond to the demands of the market and the demands are most definitely there.”

Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados

Travel corridors work: Egypt is growing!

“When the travel corridor opens, do we see any impact in the data? The answer is yes. Air corridors work. The air corridor established between Egypt and Russia: we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of bookings to the point that Egypt is actually growing in this market. Not compared to 2020 but compared to 2019. We are talking about proper growth here.”

Olivier Ponti VP insights for ForwardKeys

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