Irish Travel agents have been left frustrated with the Governments ‘green list’ of countries that have been deemed safe for travellers to visit this year. Popular destinations for Irish travellers such as Spain and Portugal are above the European Centre for Disease Control metric of 20 cases over the previous 14 days per 100,000 people and thus have not been included on the listing. These countries account for a large percentage of European family holidays departing from Ireland and so due to the potential liabilities that travel agents take on under the Package Travel Directive when booking client’s holidays, agents are not prepared to take on such risk. The Spanish Tourist board is lobbying to have specific regions that are experiencing infection rates that are the same or lower than those in Ireland, included on the green list rather than issuing a blanket ban across the country. This would allow travel to islands such as the Canaries and Balearics. Another potential problem for travellers and agents alike is that the list can be updated at any time, meaning that some people who are currently away on the understanding that they would not have to self-isolate upon return to Ireland, may have to do so if the country they are in is knocked off the list. Schools are also insisting that a
ny children who are away during August, quarantine for 14 days before they return to school. This means that this week (02/08/20) is effectively the last chance for families to do so without kids missing term time.
The elephant in the room at the moment remains that airlines are still permitted to operate whereas the government has advised citizens not to travel. This ambiguity leaves a lot of travellers uncertain and disgruntled in respect to the monies they stand to forfeit. The travel industry has been economically devastated this year and support from the Government in the form of a coherent strategy and sufficient financial supports in the form of grants and other stimulus initiatives is needed to allow recover of the sector commence.