The value of holiday

‘Overseas holidays are a luxury’ many on Twitter bleated this week as the UK news was dominated by the question of ‘when will people be able to get off the island’. More accused people of ignoring the domestic travel market and being unpatriotic in their travel plans.

Let’s look at that last point first and dismiss it quick smart. People’s choices are people’s choices and you know what? We haven’t had a lot of choice of late. Life is more predictable – with an edge of anything-can-change-and-it’ll-be-out-of-my-power  – so you won’t be accused of control freakery if you decide that you want to go to Portugal. It is also worth nothing that one thing last summer highlighted was that there is not enough supply in the UK – if you build it they will come, but they may not have built it by the summer.

But it’s true, overseas holidays are not affordable by everyone, in as much as holidays are not affordable by everyone. When I was a nipper, we didn’t leave the country until I was 12 years old. Now we have budget airlines and budget hotels and it tends to compare quite favourably with a domestic holiday. So do keep your class war for another day.

Back to when I was 12. The first overseas trip we took was to see relatives in the US and seeing long-lost relatives is likely to be a motivator for an awful lot of people once travel restarts. More, it has been mooted, than getting back to business travel. Whatever certain members of the UK government may wish to accept, there are an awful lot of people who have close relatives who are in other countries and the need to see them is becoming pressing. It’s all very well selling yourself as Global Britain – people need to get out there and globe it up. Even just across the Channel.

A holiday, as was rammed home to us last year, is also utterly vital to mental health, no matter where you have it. A year on, the grind has now set in. 

Speaking to over 1,000 people during The Fatigued Employee webinar, hosted by workplace mental health organisation This Can Happen, bestselling author and psychotherapist Daniel Fryer said: “We have been coping with a crisis for a year. People are clinically and chronically fatigued. People are approaching burnout or are burning out. Be kind, be understanding, be supportive. Put supportive measures in place. Don’t expect everybody to hit every target and deadline. Don’t expect them to adapt immediately to new initiatives. In fact, save any new initiatives until the crisis has abated.”

So will it happen? For readers in Europeland, summer holidays are one of those things where the government would be wise not to mess with and, when you have countries where the sea warms up and the mountains are snow capped, getting out of the domestic market isn’t so pressing. 

In the UK TUI thinks Foreign will happen and said that it was “working closely with the government on the Global Travel Taskforce and look forward to understanding more about when international travel can take place when it reports on 12 April”. Since it said that, it was announced that some detail would be announced on 5 April, giving everyone itchy booking trigger finger. 

The vaccine is key to travel out of the country, although some countries warned that they needed to see a full vaccine course of both doses before the would let anyone in. The British government announced that it aimed to give every adult in the country a first dose of coronavirus vaccine by 3 July. With a 12-week delay until the second dose, you can see why the government is reluctant to release the pent-up demand.

There have been a lot of twists in the past year and there are many to come. But a holiday, no matter where and how, has been recognised as vital to our health and wellbeing. Let’s hope the sector which delivers this also gets the recognition it deserves once All This has passed. 

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