The sun on our skin, sand between our toes, a cold drink on a warm evening – these are just some of the things we can’t wait to experience again, but what about the travel industry leaders who’ve spent the past 12 months battling to save their businesses?

We asked them where they’re longing to go on holiday as soon as the ban on non-essential travel is lifted, and if they’ve dared to book yet.  

Hays Travel Chair Dame Irene has certainly shown her faith in the industry she represents, having got three holidays in the diary already.

“I’m looking forward to a quiet family holiday by the beach in Ferragudo in Portugal, a visit to Nice in the South of France for some autumn sunshine, food and culture, and a trip of a lifetime cruise on the Amazon next year, which is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. Way to go Dame Irene!

Ferragudo, Portugal

We asked other industry leaders to share their holiday plans.

Joanne Dooey, President, Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association

“The last year has been difficult in many ways and not being able to travel has added to challenges for my business – and for my own well-being.

I’m confident that we’ll be able to return to risk-managed, international travel soon and I already have two holidays booked and another on the cards.

With an optimistic – and positive – eye on the near future I have a holiday booked at the end of May to a villa in Lanzarote. This is a family holiday.

Lanzarote villa

We’re a close family and we’ve all found it difficult not seeing each other as we usually do during lockdown. So, our Lanzarote holiday will see us spend quality time together with my brother and sister and their other halves in the sunshine on the beach and around the pool, we have a lot to catch up on.

I’m a huge lover of the girly holiday too, so roll on September when I’ll be heading to Ibiza with my closest girlfriends for plenty more fun in the sun. I’ve got a group of friends who have always been there for each other and our sunshine girly breaks are a huge part of our bond. You’re never too old to love Ibiza!

My other half Jimmy and I, both travel professionals, also have a great love of music and we’re just about to book a trip to Nashville. I’ve been before and loved it and after watching the series Nashville in lockdown I’m desperate to get back to the Blue Bird Cafe, the Country Music Hall of Fame and hear some great country music.

Wish I was here
Nashville, US

John Bevan, CEO dnata Travel Group

“I’ve been too busy responding to the impact of the pandemic on our people, customers and businesses to have booked anything yet – and besides, much to my wife’s frustration, I always leave organising our holidays until the last minute, despite having worked in travel my whole life!

“When the opportunity to get away does arise however, I will ensure we make the most of it. We have family in Greece who we haven’t seen in years, and likewise friends in Miami where we used to live. It would be good to spend quality time with both. Also, I have an old friend in Perth, West Australia, who has spent the last few months battling throat cancer, so getting down there to see him would be fantastic.”

Wish I was here
Miami, US

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage CEO

“I have booked to go to Sardinia in mid-August for a 10-night family holiday. It’s a holiday carried over from last summer, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. The only thing that would put me off travelling is if the government placed Italy on a red list at that time because of the possible risk of quarantine, however, for the time being I’m not worried as it’s still four months away.

I haven’t got anything else booked yet due to family commitments, with one son sitting his finals at university and the other taking his GCSE mocks. However, we will be looking to book another trip later in the year and we have started considering trips for 2022 to celebrate two belated birthdays for my husband and I, who both turned 50 during lockdown!

I haven’t booked a UK break for this year, although my last one was to Suffolk with friends in 2019. I’ll always opt to go abroad whenever I can because I love guaranteed sunshine.”

Wish I was here

Gary Gillespie, Managing Director of Independent Travel Experts

My favourite place is Boston in the US.  Love the atmosphere, history, nightlife and food.  The people are so friendly.  It’s actually got a European vibe which makes you feel right at home.  Looking forward to sitting in a café in the harbour area, drinking Long Island Iced Teas and watching the world go by.  Perfect.

The only reason I haven’t booked yet is because my partner previously worked for Virgin Atlantic but, like many people in travel, he was made redundant last year so we didn’t want to commit.  We will be booking soon though!

Boston, US

Steve Witt, Not Just Travel and The Travel Franchise co-founder

I’ve booked a couple of places actually. The first place is Croyde Bay in North Devon. I went there on holiday as a kid, and I can’t wait to take my niece and nephew there this year. It’s a hidden gem – it’s just glorious. 

I’m also looking forward to getting back to the ski slopes this winter. We had to cut short our holiday there last year due to Covid, and so I only got one day’s skiing in, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there.

Gemma Antrobus, AITO Agents Chair, owner of Haslemere Travel

August will mark one year since I last took an overseas holiday and got on a plane.  A trip then to one of my most favourite hotels in the world where I knew I would be very well looked after – the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como.  The trip was predominantly to recharge after the first lockdown, which had really taken its toll (oh how little we knew then).  I also wanted to travel to explain the process to clients, take tons of photos of new airport procedures and be in the best position to advise those who were keen to get away last summer. 

I’m hoping to travel this summer, but if not then definitely before the end of the year and most certainly with my family, as well as for business purposes.

Mount Fuji Japan

Where will we go first?  We have family in the Caribbean, South America, Dubai and New York, so seeing them is our absolute priority.  It’s always a busman’s holiday, so even when travelling for leisure or to see the family, we always ensure that we check in with our favourite hotels and also take the opportunity to see new ones.  My family has already voted on where to travel to next….Japan is top of the agenda.  Having visited previously, I always promised to take them and they are holding me to that promise.