A new campaign by UK authorities urges tourists to “Get Travel Smart” before heading off for a holiday this summer.
Running across Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) social media channels, the campaign “signposts travellers to the essential information they need as they prepare to go overseas”. It is supported by partners including TUI, Gatwick Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, ABTA and the Association of British Insurers.
According to the UK government, research shows that the FCDO is the most commonly used and trusted source of advice for Britons travelling abroad, with more than 150 million views of FCDO travel advice pages registered In 2021.
FCDO travel advice is available for over 200 destinations, including Gibraltar, and it is constantly reviewed to ensure it reflects the latest information. “FCDO travel advice aims to provide objective information and advice to help British people make better-informed decisions about international travel and plan for a trouble-free trip. It covers essential topics including entry requirements, safety and security issues, health risks, details about local laws, and information on the threat from terrorism.”
The campaign also emphasises the importance of obtaining appropriate travel insurance and making sure travellers know what their cover does and does not provide.
Commenting on the campaign, the FCDO’s director of consular, Jennifer Anderson, said, “People are naturally excited about what may be their first holiday abroad for two years. The first step for anybody thinking of going abroad is to Get Travel Smart and check the FCDO’s travel advice and subscribe to updates.
“In the event of an emergency overseas, a consular officer is available 24/7 to provide initial support and advice. But purchasing the right travel insurance, declaring any pre-existing conditions and familiarising yourself with policy exemptions is an absolute must. Without insurance, you risk being left with a bill of thousands of pounds if things go wrong while abroad.”
“This summer will be the first time that many people have travelled overseas since the start of the pandemic,” said Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA – The Travel Association, “so we’re keen to remind holidaymakers of the important steps they need to take to have a safe and enjoyable trip such as checking FCDO travel advice, making sure their passport will be valid for their travel dates and taking out travel insurance.
“When travelling, people should make sure they arrive at the time advised by their airline, get the travel documents they need ready for check-in, and familiarise themselves with the rules around hand luggage.”
Government “Amnesty” to Minimise Flight Cancellations
The UK government has presented regulations before Parliament aimed at helping airlines prevent last-minute flight cancellations during the summer peak.
The regulations will allow a one-off “amnesty” on airport slots rules, “enabling airlines to plan ahead and deliver a realistic summer schedule that minimises disruption at the airports. This is being provided as an exceptional measure while industry makes progress in recruiting necessary staff.”
In a press release the government explained, “A bit like parking spaces for planes, slots are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports. A slot gives permission to use the full range of airport infrastructure (runway, terminal and gates, for instance) necessary to operate an air service at an airport on a specific date and time.
“Highly valuable commercial assets, airlines must use slots a certain amount of times each season in order to keep them. However, many parts of the sector have been unable to recruit enough staff in time to fly the number of flights they have planned for, leading to flights being cancelled at short notice.
“The government will now give airlines a short window to hand back slots for the rest of the summer season that they are not confident they will be able to operate. This will help passengers find alternative arrangements ahead of time, rather than face the kind of last-minute cancellations seen over the Easter and half-term holidays.”
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, welcomed the step, saying “it will help build greater resilience into operations this summer, coming on top of measures already taken by the sector. We will continue to work with ministers and the whole aviation ecosystem to ensure the summer peak runs as smoothly as possible for our passengers.”