Spain entry rules could hit bookings, Advantage boss warns

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By Steve Jones
Home » Spain entry rules could hit bookings, Advantage boss warns

Strict entry rules that require children as young as of 12 to be double vaccinated may hit bookings to Spain, Advantage Travel Partnership has warned.

While the overall market continues to rebound, barriers remain that could disrupt the flow of bookings, according to the network’s Chief Executive Julia Lo Bue-Said.

Yet in a positive twist, the ongoing confusion surrounding Covid entry rules to a number of destinations could play into the hands of agents, retailers said.

The comments came as ABTA launched a portal on its website telling consumers what they need to know before heading overseas.

“The difficulty we have with countries such as Spain requiring 12-15 year olds to have been double vaccinated to enter the country is that many children/teens within that age bracket won’t have been offered a second jab yet,” warned Ms Lo Bue-Said.

“There also remains some hesitancy around vaccinating younger people, as we can see in the figures which show that only around 60% of children within this bracket have had one or two doses of the vaccine – a much lower uptake than adults.

“This could therefore jeopardise existing and future bookings to Spain from the UK market.”

She said the refusal of Spain to recognise proof of recovery certificates was also a problem, suggesting it will ‘cause issues for imminent half term departures’.

“This could very well cause cancellation issues over the next few months for agents and tour operators alike,” the Advantage boss added.

But she suggested the nuanced rules could further demonstrate the value of travel agents.

“There are a number of barriers still in place for the industry to navigate. It has never been so important to book with a travel agent who will be able to guide travellers through the various requirements,” Ms Lo Bue-Said commented.

 Miles Morgan, chairman of Miles Morgan Travel, echoed the comments, suggesting ‘complexity is good for agents’.

“The more this happens the more the use of a travel agent makes sense,” he told Travel Gossip. “It will probably drive people from booking direct into going to an agent to check out what they should be doing

“In a way complexity is good news for the travel agents. It’s another way we can demonstrate value.”

Mr Morgan, while warning that Spain entry rules could be a ‘banana skin’, said the overall picture was increasingly positive, predicting this week’s sales should exceed 2019 and 2020.

“We’ve had individual days where we have done that but this week we should exceed 2020 and even 2019 which is brilliant.

“Momentum is definitely building and I expect it to continue.”

Not Just Travel co-founder Steve Witt said Spain, the Canary Islands and Balearics remain its top selling destinations despite the strict entry requirements.

“It is difficult to say if we are seeing any side effects of this rule,” he said. “Maybe sales would be even higher, but as sales are so strong across all markets and we are not receiving feedback from consumers to say it’s affecting their decisions.”

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