HOLIDAYMAKERS will get a bumper bounce in 2021 in a new world of cheaper and more responsible travel.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told the annual World Travel Market this week: “None of us have experienced such a global pandemic. We thought, at worse, a volcanic eruption would reduce capacity by 5-10% for a couple of weeks.

“Even after 9/11 we were grounded for four days and got back in the air pretty quickly. We had no scenario for this.

“I believe volumes will go back [to pre-Covid-19 levels] pretty quickly, in 2021-2022. Airlines, retailers and hotels will offer discounts to try to recover the business they’ve lost.

“Airlines adapting quickly to the new circumstances will emerge from this stronger and much more able to offer people the really low fares they need.”

With the current normal, before any vaccine arrives, meaning travel abroad is only allowed through the presentation of a negative Covid test there has been a clarion call through the summer and autumn for airport testing.

And while across the water Ireland last week launched its first airport testing centres at Cork and Shannon, starting at €145 per person, here in Scotland and in the UK at large there remains no consensus on the proper way forward.

Glasgow Airport has told the Sunday National: “Blanket quarantine isn’t working. There are tests where you can get the results in three minutes, three hours, three days with varying costs.

“Customers who have been asked are saying different things about whether they would pay the extra costs but let’s find the test before the cost lands on the market.”

The Scottish Passenger Agents Association went further with president Joanne Dooey saying: “Rapid airport Covid testing could save the Scottish travel industry.

“People want to travel but are put off by the ever-changing travel corridors and the possibility of having to quarantine for 14 days, even if on departure their destination was on the ‘safe list’. Or that a holiday will be cancelled at short notice.

“Pre-departure Covid testing could be the lifeline for travel and this should lead to multilateral testing arrangements with other countries.”

But airport testing within the UK remains limited to selected routes from London Heathrow.

And O’Leary spoke out against airport testing at all, insisting that the British Government should be doing more to test its population anyway. And that the £180 cost of tests holidaymakers needed to spend before getting to travel abroad was prohibitive.

He said: “It’s too late, it takes too long and what do you do when you have a couple of people with positive tests in the middle of an airport terminal, empty the terminal?

“People should be coming to airports with negative tests and then actually, certainly in short haul, we can go back to flying with reasonable confidence and reasonable security.

“Longer haul will be a bit of a longer recovery but certainly short haul and intra-travel should start up quickly.”

With the appetite built up over a year in and out of lockdown and a vaccine on the cards, 2021 is expected to see an exodus of people from our shores to all of our old favourites, particularly Spain and its islands.

Mark Tanzer, CEO of the Association of British Travel Agents believes that while this year may have been one of domestic travel because of Covid that next year will see an uplift in numbers going abroad.

HE said: “They’re very different experiences. We’ve never built the mass tourist infrastructure that they have in the Mediterranean so even if everybody wanted to take a family holiday in the UK it would be quite expensive to do that.

“And, of course, we don’t have the climate in the summer for that either.

“So I think that there are all sorts of natural reasons why international travel will resume.

“Our consumer research says that people are looking forward to travelling next year and it says they are going to spend more than they would have normally done because they didn’t spend the money this year.

“They are not spending it on consumer goods, they like holidays, they like travel and they want to be able to start that up again.”

The fear remains though that as one ailment is cured that, in our rush to get back travelling again, we will worsen another by polluting our environment and accelerating climate change.

Garry Wilson, the CEO of EasyJet Holidays, insists that it is all too aware of its responsibilities.

Wilson added: “Looking at it in the context of what’s happening with Covid you see the impact on people’s lives when you cannot visit destinations and travel.

“People want to travel, people want to connect with other communities, connect with other cultures, connect with other destinations in other countries.

“You do have to be as responsible as you can with this. For too long aviation dragged its heels and I think we have tried as much as we can in the last few years.

“We launched the carbon offsetting where all of the fuel that’s used on flights is offset.

“Of course that’s not the answer, us saying we’ve done our part, but it’s a step in the right direction to say we take this seriously, we understand this is a big issue, and it shows our intent that we want to do the right thing in this space.

“And behind the scenes obviously we have been looking at the amount of weight an aircraft will carry for the amount of fuel it consumes and taxiing on one engine instead of two that would cut down on emissions.

“And we’re also a big sponsor into electric energy with an aircraft that we’re working with Airbus on.

“And we’re absolutely open to support any renewable energies or new technologies that can help cut carbon.

“But I think the blunt instrument of saying ‘just don’t fly’, you see the impact of not flying is having on the world at the moment, the impact on people’s lives, the impact on economies, in communities.”

Wilson believes we all as individuals can play our part and while he will continue to do his small bit in trying to change the world there is one small corner of the planet he has a particular vested interest in.

He added: “I come from a house on a little island on the west of Scotland, absolutely beautiful.

“But it’s not on the tourist route and you notice the cruise ships going past as they visit the more popular islands on their way to Skye and it has got me thinking how do you spread some of those benefits across those lesser-known communities?’’