The Managing Director and founder of JetsGo Holidays, which specialises in UK holidays to Mallorca, Daniel Reilly, is all set to resume operations to the island but he made it clear to the Bulletin this week that, as far as Spain and the Balearics are concerned, there are still too many variables and more clarity is needed.
Daniel, who spends most of the year based in Mallorca, founded JetsGo Holidays in 2016 after having moved into the tourist industry full time in 2010 after having spent five years serving in the Merseyside Police Force. And now, he is all set to resume flights to Mallorca in the post Covid era.
“The announcement made by the British government was very welcome, at least it was clear and it gave us some dates to work on, it allowed us to set out a roadmap. Personally, I doubt it will be take off on May 17, we’ve opted for the middle of June to be safe and to prevent any further complications, set backs and false starts for our customers.
“That said, it would be helpful if members of the British government would stop contradicting what Boris Johnson outlined in his lockdown lifting announcement. There is a lot of pent up demand but it’s still going to be a very tough season.
“Sadly it’s going to be the year of the haves and have nots. There are those who have spent some 15 months on furlough, sitting at home and have more money to spend than they would usually. They will be going on holiday and have more options.
“On the other hand there are those who have lost their jobs and, if they can afford a holiday are going to be watching their pennies. That said, we’ve had a number of cancellations from people who had booked but can no longer afford a holiday this year due to a downturn in their financial situation. And this is where Mallorca has got to be very careful.
“I’ve been in negotiations with hoteliers over the past few months and many are determined to put their prices up.
“Over the past few years, Mallorca has become an expensive destination. I know hoteliers have invested in upgrading their hotels to four star and want a return on their money. But this is not the year.
“Reports of a 500 percent increase in bookings with easyJet, for example, are what hoteliers are basing their price increases on. But they’ve got to be realistic. In easyJet’s case, for their bookings to return to anywhere near normal, they would need a 10,000 percent increase in bookings.
“So, hoteliers have got to be careful they don’t price Mallorca out of the market.
“As we’ve seen. Greece has come in very hard this year and is ready to open its doors. Apart from offering extremely good value for money and competitive prices, it also has its travel requirements clearly laid out.
“The Greek tourism authorities have been in close talks with London for months and have worked out that the best approach is to allow tourists in who have either had a vaccine or a a test and a rapid antigen test is accepted.
“And this makes sense. PCRs are far too expensive and take time. For a family of four, if they need to have just the one PCR each, that’s an extra cost of 400 pounds, if they need more, it does not make the holiday financially viable and this is where Spain needs to start transmitting a positive message.
“Last year Madrid and Palma were extremely vocal about the need for air corridors etc., now they’ve gone quiet. We need clarity from Madrid and Palma.
“There is still a lack of confidence in the UK market, people want to travel, they are desperate, but they want safety and security. They want to know what is going to happen, what’s the protocol in resorts. And, I can’t stress enough that price is going to be king more than ever this year, so Mallorca needs to decide very quickly how it intends to open this year - otherwise it could miss out. If it’s plan is to wait for a late booking market, it may find it’s missed the boat this year and we can’t afford to waste another season considering that the opportunity is now there to slowly start getting back to normal.
“If the bars are going to start reopening gradually this week, we need to know what is going to be happening in four months time otherwise people will look elsewhere.
“We’ve got four flights per week out of Belfast, Derry, Inverness and Teeside and 70 percent of those who lost their holidays last year, have rebooked for this year, so we are in quite a good position. Plus two of the airports have contracted companies to carry out the rapid test. That means people get tested prior to checking in and then get their result 15 minutes later. These tests are quick and cheap. The vaccine passport is going to take months to roll out, and that’s providing it all works first time. It’s all too complicated and we need to know what the Balearics are planning because the industry in the UK is ready to fly and so are millions of Britons.”