UK firm On the Beach pulls summer holiday sales due to travel uncertainty

12 May 2021, 22:05 | Updated: 12 May 2021, 22:25

A crowd of people seen on the beach of Barceloneta in Barcelona, Spain
A crowd of people seen on the beach of Barceloneta in Barcelona, Spain. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

UK holiday firm On the Beach has stopped selling summer trips abroad in response to the Government's new traffic light system for quarantine-free travel.

Chief executive Simon Cooper said the travel retailer had "no interest in selling holidays that are unlikely to happen" and would suspend sales for trips in June, July and August.

Under the traffic light system, which has been adopted by England and Scotland, countries are divided into three categories - green, amber and red.

READ MORE: Which countries are on the green list for quarantine-free travel?

WATCH: Grant Shapps unveils holiday 'green list' at press conference

Travellers who visit a country on the green list when international travel resumes from May 17 will not have to quarantine upon their return.

The Government will review its list every three weeks, with countries potentially added or removed partly based on their Covid-19 case rates and the success of their vaccine rollout.

Mr Cooper said: "We don't know enough yet about how the traffic light system will work in practice, and it doesn't currently give any certainty or clarity beyond a three-week window.

"In the coming weeks and months - until vaccination programmes across Europe and beyond are further along in their rollout - it is very likely that we will see regular fluctuations in destinations' traffic light classifications, and so there is likelihood of disruption or even cancellations for the many customers who want to book more than three weeks in advance."

Mr Cooper said the suspension of sales will be reviewed in line with the next government announcement.

He added: "Unlike many of our competitors, we have no interest in selling holidays that are unlikely to happen.

"In the meantime, we will focus our efforts on helping and advising our customers who already have bookings of their options to either still go on their holiday, amend their holiday or, where the holiday is cancelled, refunding them in cash within 14 days."

Meanwhile, just one in nine people in the UK is confident of going abroad on holiday this summer, according to a YouGov poll.

A survey of 4,247 adults in Britain, carried out on May 12, also found 71% of respondents have not booked any summer holiday yet while 20% have made plans for a UK vacation.

Despite being among the first groups to be vaccinated, only 9% of the over-65s said they believed they would go abroad in 2021, but 17% of Britons aged 18 to 24 were confident they would get away.