Covid travel: Coach firm not planning holidays abroad in 2021

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media captionChris Gentile said his coach company is one of many choosing to delay foreign trips

Some coach companies have said they will not run international trips this year, even if lockdown rules change to allow it.

Voel Coaches, based in Denbighshire, normally offers them but said it had already decided to cancel.

It said other coach operators across the UK it had spoken to were making the same decision.

Under current lockdown restrictions it is illegal to travel abroad from anywhere in the UK for a holiday.

There is currently no date for when people in Wales will be able to travel abroad for leisure.

image captionThe Denbighshire-based company does not plan to run trips abroad until 2022

Voel has a fleet of 38 coaches and during the summer season around half of the holidays it offers would involve trips abroad.

Marketing manager Chris Gentile said: "No matter what happens at this time, we will not be changing our mind" and that "if the government had been very clear, in their guidance, from day one, things could have been different".

He said that if the company did take customers overseas and there were rule changes, then it "would open us up to some great risks" having to get a coach full of passengers back to Wales.

When Covid first hit last year one of its coaches was in Spain and "had literally hours to get across the border", he said.

When will holidays abroad resume?

He said he had been in contact with a number of other coach tour operators throughout the UK and many of them had made a similar decision not to run foreign holidays this year because "there's too much of a risk".

"We're an industry that's been affected really bad and I don't think the risks really add up to even attempting that - I don't think it's the right thing to do."

Mr Gentile said it would be March next year before the company looked at offering holidays overseas again, which means it will also be missing out on taking passengers abroad for the next ski season.

image captionAnn Jones says Covid restrictions may bring younger people back to traditional travel agents

One travel agent said many people were being cautious when it comes to booking holidays abroad in the summer months.

Ann Jones from Teithiau Menai Travel in Caernarfon said booking inquiries had been "fluctuating" in recent months and many customers were looking beyond this summer for a trip abroad.

She said she had been rescheduling holidays "sometimes for a third time" and it was "very complicated" because of uncertainty caused by Covid restrictions.

"It's a lot of hard work and especially when you have no income coming in for it because we in travel don't get a penny for working until people actually go on their holidays," she said.

But she believed the complications involved in trying to arrange overseas travel could be a boost to bring customers back to traditional travel agents - particularly for younger people who would normally book online.

"They've found that they haven't been able to contact anyone, speak to anyone, talk about the refunds or moving their holidays," she said.

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