“Uncertainties remain particularly great this year in terms of tourism abroad”, Stéphane Jayet, the vice-president of the Swiss Travel Federation said in an interview with RTS public broadcaster on Wednesday.
Jayet was referring to unpredictable epidemiological situation in Switzerland and elsewhere in the next weeks and months. There is also no certainty at this point regarding future entry restrictions in foreign countries, as well as conditions in place in Switzerland for those returning from abroad.
Right now Switzerland has a quarantine requirement for arrivals from dozens of countries and regions. This is likely to discourage people from travelling abroad, especially as the list of high-risk countries is modified every 14 days. This means people who book holidays in a place that is safe now, may find that the country or region is high-risk at the time of travel.
Also, most countries in Europe and beyond require travellers to have a negative Covid test, which is also the case in Switzerland. So anyone coming back will have to go through the process of getting tested in a foreign country.
There’s no guarantee that all these requirements with still be in place in the summer, but they may well be.
It is not yet sure what large-scale impact vaccination against coronavirus will have on travel, but some countries are already permitting people who have had both shots to enter without having to quarantine or show a negative test. Among them are Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Iceland, Poland, Romania, and the Seychelles. It is possible that more countries will join this list.
There are also other encouraging signs of travel rebound. For instance, SWISS airline has scheduled flights to a number of holiday destinations.
So what should you do: wait or book now?
“What I tell clients is to contact travel agencies to make a plan, discuss it, take stock of the situation”, Jayet said, adding that the actual reservation “should be delayed a little.”
If you want to book now, perhaps because you found cheap air fares which will likely go up later, make sure you have a good travel insurance policy, which will reimburse your costs if you must cancel your trip.
This site explains in detail what you should look for in a travel insurance and what details are important in claiming refunds.
Also, most airlines offer free flight cancellations and re-bookings during the pandemic.