Holidaymakers living in countries with high rates of coronavirus vaccinations will be “dressed up with nowhere to go” until other nations catch up, an expert has warned.
Some 29% of the UK population has received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, putting it behind only Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Travel firms reported a surge in bookings after Boris Johnson announced this week that people living in England may be allowed to go on foreign holidays from May 17.
But Professor Kelley Lee, an expert in international relations and global health governance at Simon Fraser University in Canada, said there will be a limit to the number of overseas destinations that vaccinated people can visit.
“Countries that are already vaccinating much quicker than other countries, they’re going to be out of the block first,” she told a Chatham House briefing.
“But they’re going to be dressed up with nowhere to go because other countries haven’t caught up with them yet.
“So, those countries will have an advantage in that their citizens will be able to move about more domestically, but until we get the whole world – or at least more countries – to have a high level of vaccination… then we can’t really have an effective global system.
“So it really comes down to getting that vaccine out as far and wide as possible.”
Prof Lee went on the say that the UK “went too soon” in relaxing its border restrictions last year.
Travel corridors were introduced in July 2020, allowing international arrivals from certain locations to avoid mandatory self-isolation.
The UK was “trying to balance” controlling the virus with enabling people to go on holiday, Prof Lee explained.
She said: “It didn’t go very well. There was a lot of importation of the virus into the UK because of these travel corridors.
“They went too soon. They didn’t focus on really getting the risk down first.”