Planes, trains or automobiles: What will holidays look like in 2021 and just how far could we travel?

Will we be dusting off our passports and returning to scenes like these? Credit: PA Images

After a gruelling 12 months of restrictions on our daily lives, most people could be forgiven for pining for a holiday.

As cases of coronavirus continue to fall across Wales, many people are now wondering if holidays - perhaps even international travel - may be able to resume once again this summer.

  • Domestic Holidays?

On Friday, the Welsh Government announced changes to current restrictions around travel and holidays.

The toughest, 'stay at home' version of lockdown, will be replaced by a 'stay local' message on Saturday, meaning people can travel up to five miles in any direction from their home for exercise or recreation.

Wales-wide travel is to be allowed once again from March 27.

Holidays in self-contained accommodation - such as caravan parks - will be allowed in time for Easter; provided the public health situation continues to improve.

Self-contained accommodation will be permitted again in time for Easter, provided the situation continues to improve Credit: PA Images

However, that courtesy will not extend to people across the border in England with the First Minister saying it would not be safe for people in England to holiday in Wales just yet.

Mark Drakeford also warned that any infringements of that rule would have consequences.

He told the PA news agency: "People who let accommodation should not be taking bookings from people who live outside Wales.

"We will be talking with our local authority colleagues and with the police next week, just to see if there is anything we need to do to mobilise our own enforcement authorities.

"If the industry were to act irresponsibly, the penalty would be we wouldn't be able to carry on reopening the industry.

"I know there are rogues in any part of life.

"But I think that the industry will absolutely recognise that we want to go beyond self-contained accommodation. We want the tourism industry in Wales to have a longer and better season this year than we managed last year."

The Welsh Government has cast doubt over whether we will be able to board international flights once again this year Credit: PA Images
  • Holidays involving a passport?

The prospects for international travel look slightly less promising, with senior figures in the Welsh Government cooling any notion we could be boarding flights again this year.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday morning, the First Minister said he had "anxieties" over any resumption of international travel on May 17, a date earmarked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and potential reimportation of the virus.

Reflecting on 2020, Mr Drakeford said September was a "difficult month" in Wales as people returned to the country from holidays abroad and brought Covid-19 with them.

"I do not want to see all the hard work that people in Wales have put in over recent weeks being undermined by the reimportation of the virus," he said.

"The Prime Minister's road map for England is very clear that these are indicative dates and when I've raised this with UK ministers they always emphasise that the decision would be made in the circumstances much closer to the time.

"I am saying that for me, that does look early.

"I would want to be completely confident that we are not running the risk of a reimportation of the virus, particularly now that we know there are new variants of this virus in other parts of the world."

Mr Drakeford went further at Friday's Welsh Government press briefing, saying: "I discussed this matter [international travel] with Michael Gove and the other First Ministers on Wednesday evening on our regular call. We have engagements on a regular basis. 

"It's not that we want to stop people going abroad.

"Its just that we had an experience in Wales in September where we had people coming back from many destinations in Europe and they were infected by the time they came back to Wales.

"Before we begin to reopen international travel again we need a plan that has taken that into account and doesn't run the risk that everything we've done together over the difficult weeks around and after Christmas isn't put in jeopardy.

"So it's just a plea for it to be done in the most cautious, sensible, coronavirus-aware way."

In early September the Government moved to instruct people returning from the popular holiday island of Zante to self-isolate for 14 days, after Public Health Wales identified at least 16 coronavirus cases - from three different groups - on a Tui flight to Cardiff.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething also said at the time that public officials had identified "multiple separate clusters" linked to the holiday island.

It is unclear which countries will be green on the traffic light system - meaning no isolation upon return. Credit: PA Images

Speaking to the i newspaper on Thursday, the First Minister outlined his broad view on the remainder of 2021 and said "I think coronavirus is with us for the rest of this year".

He also indicated that he felt a fourth wave of coronavirus was inevitable, saying it was "baked into things now".

Vaughan Gething has also recently said he has doubts over a summer return to international travel.

He said the data and advice he was receiving did not suggest a wider return looked possible.

Sharing his view on Boris Johnson's ambitions for a return to international flights in May, he said: "I don't see a path to re-normalising international travel in May.

"And the third week of May is a long time in the course of a pandemic. And the June date, again I think that is optimism rather than taking a data-led approach."

The Welsh Government has stressed that the changes it has announced to travel and self-contained accommodation in the coming weeks are dependent on the public health picture continuing to improve.

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