Travel guide designed to keep on top of virus rules

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 11:16 am

A travel booking platform is helping holiday-makers navigate the myriad of COVID restrictions for international journeys.

Omio’s updated Open Travel Index (OTI) makes it easier to steer through the different rules across countries and the traffic light system.

New features for safe travel

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New features include showing any relaxed protocols for those that have already been vaccinated. It also displays return restrictions as well as outbound, which is especially useful for planning PCR tests.

The index, which is also available in-app, has been streamlined to focus on information relevant to the traveller’s country of origin, rather than all countries. You can choose from 67 originating countries.

Expert view

Justin Wang, vice president of brand at Omio, said: “We want to take the confusion out of colour-coding. With destinations likely to move between red, amber and green over time, and different rules in place once travellers have been vaccinated, our unique tool is the go-to bookmark for travellers.

As entry requirements evolve rapidly, we’re anticipating confusion among Brits and the OTI is something they can check often and easily for reliable information.”

Omio has also been tracking searches for destinations, which reveals that consumer appetite for travel is high across destinations expected to be on the green and amber lists.

Safe travel check

The most frequently-searched countries include many of our closest neighbours, with France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Ireland making up the top five most-searched destinations for travel from London. All bar Ireland, which has special status as part of the Common Travel Area, were on the amber list at the time of writing.

Justin added: “Our search data currently shows that Brits are most eager to get to Paris once regulations relax, followed by Amsterdam. Interestingly, Spain is the only country that features twice in the top ten, with both Madrid and Barcelona making it into the list of most-searched destinations. We’re keen to help people travel just as soon as it is safe to do so, armed with all of the relevant information to ensure that they can do so with confidence.”

He said the OTI helped simplify the traffic light system by presenting all of the destinations you could go to from the UK in realtime, alongside the relevant restrictions. It is updated weekly across core markets to ensure accuracy of information and offers quick links to specific regulations from hundreds of different travel providers including railway companies and airlines.

For registered users, the OTI also includes a ‘safety tab’, so that information tailored to individual travel can be saved down for ease of access.

Those that have booked travel through the platform will receive an email notification 24 hours prior to travel detailing the latest situation for their destination.

Justin added: “As countries reopen with a myriad of different restrictions and conditions, those looking to travel are drowning in information. Our objective is to simplify delivery of that information with the Open Travel Index.

We had fantastic feedback when we first launched the OTI in June 2020, helping customers navigate the complexities of reopening after the first lockdowns. As we enter a slow recovery in Europe heading into the summer season, the Open Travel Index is here to provide both a functional tool and future inspiration.”

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