The green shoots of a recovery in international travel

A photographer looking at a train departure board

The green shoots of a recovery in international travel

The easing of travel restrictions by the UK government, with the removal of the red list and expansion of countries from which vaccinations are now approved for entry, is part of an emerging trend towards easier global travel as the international community learns to cope with COVID-19.

Watch out for talk of ‘Vaccination Travel Lanes’ or ‘VTLs’ – a phrase we’ll hear more of in the coming weeks. These are reciprocal travel arrangements allowing easier movement of air passengers between countries. Singapore and Thailand have already announced plans for VTLs. Singapore’s VTLs have opened up travel with the UK, the Netherlands, and the US among other countries – prompting a flurry of flight travel enquiries. Thailand’s VTLs will start in mid-November. We’re hopeful that South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries will follow suit. Meanwhile, the reopening of US air borders will start on 8 November, making travel easier for travellers from Europe, the UK, Brazil, China, India, Iran, and South Africa.

Of course, the easing of restrictions and the opening of travel corridors, however welcome, are of limited value if there are no flights operating. Fortunately, the signs are that here too there are grounds for optimism. Mainstream carrier British Airways and low-cost airline EasyJet have both announced more flights, including to destinations in the USA, South Africa, and the Far East. Some believe there are good business opportunities to be grasped as travel enjoys a post-pandemic ‘bounce’, and entrepreneurs have even announced plans for new ‘no frills’ airlines in India and Australia to take advantage of this trend.

All in all, we are now seeing signs of a steady opening up of international travel opportunities worldwide and we look forward to welcoming our international students to study with us.