Steve Heapy spoke by video link at a tourism seminar in Majorca about how the new ‘normal’ is received by holiday makers.
Heapy urged governments to work together to draw up common Covid-19 protocols ‘to get Europe moving again’ as he commented on the frustration of the situation saying that he has seen ‘glaciers move faster’.
He also criticised travel firms which have failed to refund customers, as he warned that pressures being placed on travel firms in the current climate was putting their future at risk.
He said: “People continually talk about the new normal. Well, they don’t want a new normal they want the old normal back.
“They don’t want, for the rest of their life, to walk round with a face mask on, or to stand two metres apart from people and sanitise their hands every 15 seconds.
“Unfortunately. with the pandemic the way it is it’s very difficult to provide a holiday like the ones they experienced previously.
“People want certainty. They don’t want to travel abroad with a chance they might be tested positive and have to go into quarantine.
“We can’t, as an industry, give them that.
“When they go on holiday they want to feel like they are on holiday, they want to relax, they want to do what they want, when they want.
“They don’t want to be told where to go, told to put their mask on, and have all these other restrictions.
“They want to go on holiday and not feel as though they’re starring in The Shawshank Redemption. Things might end up like that if we have to mandate lots of restrictions,” he continued.
“They want to be treated with respect and not like cattle and not have people shouting at them about what they should or shouldn’t do.
“We have to make people feel safe so we have to put in place the protocols, but they must be as light touch as possible.
“We have to make sure we don’t become too obsessed with rules and regulations and become too officious and make people’s holiday a misery.”
Turning to corporate responsibility, Heapy made comment on how some UK companies have not been issuing refunds to customers for cancelled holidays, saying that this reflects badly on the industry, creating a ‘very bad image’ which will affect the industries future.
He “said: “That is not a sustainable way to continue. I won’t mention names, but some multinational, vertically integrated tour operators are not paying their hotel payments until next year.
“That is not sustainable.”
“We need to work as a global community to get travel back on its feet and the actions of some companies are not helping that.”