image captionOne travel consultant says more people are choosing “bucket-list destinations”
After a tough 2020 stuck indoors, many people are dreaming of a holiday this year.
Travel is currently limited to essential purposes in Wales, and international travel is banned.
But bookings for UK staycations are “coming in thick and fast”, and some are gambling on foreign trips in the hope rules will ease soon.
However, earlier in the week, Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was “too uncertain” to say people would be able to enjoy a summer holiday abroad this year.
So, BBC Wales asked people to tell us about their holiday plans for 2021.
‘Who knows whether we have a tomorrow?’
Following the announcement of the Covid vaccine rollout, interest in holidays abroad in 2021 has “spiked”, according Cowbridge travel consultant Louise O’Neill.
She said many people were choosing “more bucket-list destinations”.
One of whom is Paul Powell, who has booked to go to Japan and Jordan this year.
image caption“We all have things we enjoy, mine is just travelling and seeing the world,” says Paul Powell
Mr Powell, from Treforest in Rhondda Cynon Taf, had four holidays cancelled last year which left him with air travel vouchers, instead of refunds.
The 55-year-old has chosen to use his vouchers from last year to book his three-week holiday to Japan in November and Jordan in December with his son.
“We all have things we enjoy, mine is just travelling and seeing the world.
“We have created a bucket list of places of importance we’d like to see – like the seven wonders of the world, I want to tick them off.”
image captionMr Powell and his son Aaron travelled to India to bring in the 2020 new year
Mr Powell, who said he’s travelled to 60 countries, now plans to bring in 2022 on a hot air balloon over the Wadi Rum desert, near Aqaba.
“Some people wait until they retire to travel, but who knows whether we have a tomorrow?
“Why not plan these things today and not put things off for the future, when you may not have the health that you have today?”
Mr Powell said that it would be a “disappointment” if the Covid restrictions meant more cancellations but that he felt covered with cancellable hotel bookings.
He said booking the holidays was “more about hope” and having “something to look forward to”.
‘Desperate to go away’
image captionPaula and her 13-year-old son in Koutouloufari, Crete about to eat “gigantes” (giant beans)
Meanwhile Paula Hansen, in Cardiff, said she has had the Covid vaccine and, after shielding since March last year, she felt “a bit desperate to go away”.
Ms Hansen said she had booked a three-week holiday in Orlando, Florida, in December and also hoped to book an August holiday to Italy to celebrate her husband’s 50th birthday.
“I think it can be a bit depressing staying in the house. So I try to go away regularly, I just like going on holiday and it helps with my job.
“It is a way of life for us, to go away four or five times year,” she said.
Ms Hansen has worked as an independent travel agent for the past year, alongside her main job in credit insurance.
She said now she was beginning to see customers spend more on holidays over the next three years.
“We’re seeing interesting choices like going to Everest – things people wouldn’t generally book.
“People want to make the most of their time now.”
She added that Covid restrictions were “really confusing for people at the moment”, even those working in the travel industry.
Although she said she was “hopeful” travel would be allowed later in 2021, she advised that customers needed to be aware they “may need to move dates or get a refund” depending on rules.
‘I can’t see how getting on a plane can be safe’
image captionAndrew Williams is looking forward to taking the campervan down to west Wales’ coasts
Andrew Williams, from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, said he planned to take his campervan to St Brides bay in Pembrokeshire for a staycation this year.
“We have fantastic countryside in Wales, I can’t wait to get back up into the hills, mountains and the coast for the peace and quiet and fresh air.
“With Covid still around, I can’t see how getting on a plane can be safe.”
The 58-year-old, who has been shielding, said he had a holiday to Kefalonia cancelled in 2020 but this year he had chosen not to go abroad because of the pandemic.
“I don’t think you can make predictions about what will happen, everything is up in the air for everyone.
“But I hope this will be a boost for UK tourism – I think there will be rush of people for the countryside and beaches,” he said.
‘It’s not appropriate this year’
However, for Sally Roberts, who lives in Gronant in Flintshire, near popular holiday parks in Prestatyn, the prospect of many opting for a staycation was a worry.
“My concern is that these people coming here from all over the country will put us at greater risk, with more people in supermarkets.
“I don’t think huge holiday camps in small residential communities should reopen until everyone is vaccinated.
“Last year in July, it went crazy here – there was no social distancing in shops.”
Ms Roberts, 65, said she and her husband had no plans so far to travel abroad or in the UK in their motorhome this year.
“I like going on holiday, but there is no point being shut inside. Until everyone is vaccinated, I would feel more reassured and safer, especially with these new variants about.
“I doubt if I would feel safe in a Spanish campsite and also there’s the risk of introducing it to their population.
“It is supposed to be a really good fun time, lots of things for the kids to do, but I don’t think it is appropriate this year.”
What is demand like in the travel industry?
Tougher lockdown rules across Europe, the closure of air corridors, and uncertainty about post-Brexit travel, has added more pressures on the airline industry at the start of 2021.
The rules affect UK residents and Irish nationals travelling from 33 countries on the “red list” – which covers much of South America, southern Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal.
However, EasyJet said last month that bookings for this summer with its holidays arm were up 250% on last year.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said people wanted to go on holiday as soon as they could, and that May was currently the most popular month for bookings.
Mr Lundgren said the vaccination programme being underway in the UK and Europe was “undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again”.
National Express’s coach holiday businesses said bookings made by those 65 and over had increased by 185% in the last fortnight compared to last year.