Belgium’s ban on non-essential foreign travel until 1 March did not come as a surprise to people working in the travel industry but does leave a lot of questions, according to early reactions to the news – which was widely reported from Friday’s consultative committee meeting.
“In view of the situation of the pandemic in Europe, we are not totally surprised”, Anne-Sophie Snyers of the Francophone Travel Agencies Union (UPAV) told Belga.
“Nevertheless, we have many questions, questions that customers will want answers to. What are we going to do about booked trips to Switzerland, for example, where everything is ready to welcome the Belgian tourist? Who will pay the cancellation fee? Also, what will happen for those who leave without going through a travel agency? ”
At UPAV, we would also like to have a definition of what a non-essential trip is. In addition, there is concern that the ban may be extended beyond March 1.
While there have been rumours of 6 criteria that would be allowed for foreign travel, these have been unconfirmed at this stage.
This decision by the Consultative Committee will probably no longer have a fundamental impact on the number of bookings.
“Cancellations have been piling up for the past two or three weeks. We’re already down to 10% of what we usually have as reservations. The cancellations that will still have to be made will only add to the agencies’ workload,” added Snyers.