What will travel look like in 2022 and beyond? That’s one of the big questions The Independent’s travel team attempted to tackle during a live Independent virtual event following a spate of new restrictions around the world in response to the new omicron variant.
Hosted by travel editor Helen Coffey and drawing on the expertise of illustrious travel correspondent Simon Calder, the event allowed Independent readers to get in touch and put forward their most pressing queries on all things travel and holiday-related.
Amid questions on whether it would be possible to fly into Switzerland and ski in France (yes) and whether leisure travel to New Zealand was likely to be possible in January (no), many viewers had broader questions about the future of getaways.
To watch highlights from the event see the video below
Travelling without traffic lights
Would red tape, testing and forms blight our travel plans for years to come, or was this just a flash in the pan? Would we still need to wear masks on planes by next February? Would we ever return to the “old way” of travel?
Speaking of the current restrictions, Simon Calder said they made getting into the Soviet Union during the Iron Curtain seem like a “piece of cake”.
“Passenger Locator Forms are going to stay for the medium term – so three, four, five years,” he predicted. “It might be that we get a global Passenger Locator Form where effectively all your details will be contained in that. I think we will just have to get used to them.”
Regarding the “day two” tests currently required for inbound travellers, Simon said he previously would have expected these to be scrapped by the New Year, but the omicron variant had scuppered the chances of this happening after the UK had gone “one step forward and two steps back”, swapping lateral flows for PCRs once again.