Popular holiday resorts in the Mediterranean are racing against time to welcome UK visitors this summer.
With the vaccine programme gathering pace, UK tour operators and airlines are confident they will be able to salvage the summer season and Tui has already reported a surge in bookings from the over-50s.
The Government hopes to have offered every adult a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by September, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
He told Sky : “Our target is by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose. If we can do it faster than that, great, but that’s the roadmap.”
He said that he hoped by the “early spring” some restrictions can be lifted “gradually” so the country can “get back to normal”.
This optimism is shared across Europe with some popular holiday destinations already planning to accept UK tourists in the coming months.
Turkish and Greek governments have a June deadline for their vaccine rollout so they can establish safe travel corridors.
Turkey is using the Sinovac (Coronavac) jab developed in China which is not subject to the supply issues faced with the Prizer or Moderna vaccines in the European Union.
Greece has already commenced its rollout and wants 70 per cent of its population immunised before summer.
However, progress is slower in Spain and resorts in the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Balearic Minister for Tourism, Iago Negueruela, told local media he was aware that some destinations were involved in a sprint to see who would be first to welcome tourists.
He said: “We demand that the Spanish government complies with the vaccine supply plan and guarantees deadlines in order to reduce the epidemiological rate in the Balearic Islands and recover economic activity as soon as possible.
“Establishing safe corridors is the goal of the Balearic tourism sector and they must be achieved before summer.”
He is hopeful the tourism season in the Balearics, which includes Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, to commence in time for Easter, but many local businesses do not share this view.
Travel expert Paul Charles of The PC Agency, predicted this week that staycations will begin again in England by the end of March, with short-haul trips to Europe starting by May 1.
Meanwhile, Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has written to European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, proposing that people who have been vaccinated are given a certification to allow safe and free movement within the EU.