Manx travel agents and tour operators have welcomed the potential opening of the borders in September, with hopes still alive for a late summer escape or making getaway plans for 2022.
The gov’s exit strategy, which was published on Tuesday, points towards a full opening of our borders by September. This is of course dependent on both the situation on and off island.
Island Travel owners Rikki Dunnage and and Edward Cox
‘We welcome the news that we have a potential way out of the border restrictions. Our industry is among the worst affected with little or no travel being booked by island residents for almost a year.
‘Keeping a viable business going has been tough but light at the end of the tunnel fills us with optimism, winter 2021 and summer 2022 are both fully on sale so we hope to see a spike in bookings as confidence grows.
‘There are still a lot of unknowns with entry regulations to other countries etc and know our day to day will be very different than it once was, however we know how important trips away can be for our customers and look forward to getting back to doing what we do best.’
But it isn’t only people travelling off island that could make a dash for a much needed holiday when the borders open, tour operators who organise breaks on the island are hoping for a good staycation summer. The potential of tourists to grace our shores this year is unlikely, but not impossible, there are even hopes of a return to the Channel Islands, or other air bridges, being on the cards.
Island Escapes owner John Keggin
‘We focus on inbound tourism into the island, so this news heavily affects us. Whilst protecting our island life must take priority, the potential loss of another tourist season is certainly a blow , especially given the level of bookings we have for the summer months, coupled with fact that the UK is gearing up for a great British summer.
‘However, I appreciate the Government now giving us a realistic date to work to, we’re in an industry that needs to plan ahead and this gives us the opportunity to contact our many customers and rearrange their holiday and we can now start to do that. Up until now we had been in limbo.
‘It looks like it is going to be another staycation summer for the locals, the Manx population have supported us well so far and I’m sure they’ll continue to do so. When the time is right it would be great if the Government could consider reinstating the Guernsey or any other suitable air bridges too.’
If there is one thing the island has become really great at for tourists in recent years, it is experience holidays. People come to see our historic castles and ruins, ride on our Victorian railways, sample our exquisite food (not just CGG), experience the thrill of driving on our iconic TT course and play a round or two of golf.
Ged Power, owner of Powerwheels and Isle of Man Golf Holidays
‘News of a possible ‘September window’ for tourism trade is encouraging. My heart goes out to those in the sector who will have spent countless hours administrating enquiries that will never happen. I hope that we can get our act together for a Channel Island ‘Air Bridge’ as a summer without tourism is almost inconceivable.’