Travel agents booking additional flights for school holiday despite warning

The passenger terminal at Tallinn Airport.
The passenger terminal at Tallinn Airport. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

While the COVID-19 infection rate is growing in Estonia, travel agents are busy organizing additional flights to cater to school holidays demand. Parents ignoring the government's recommendations need to make sure children remain in isolation for ten days upon returning from abroad.

Even though the government recommends against traveling unless absolutely necessary, travel agents have sold out flights to school holiday destinations and are now booking additional flights. While traveling is not recommended and schoolchildren will have to isolate upon returning to Estonia, the European Commission decided in January that there are no scientific grounds for restricting air traffic.

Olev Riisberg, head of marketing at travel agent Novatours, said that long-awaited Egypt trips proved so popular that the company had to announce additional school holiday flights. Novatours will book a total of seven flights to Egypt and the Canary Islands.

Head of operator relations for Estravel Katrin Samlik said that even though passenger figures are three times lower than in previous years, school holiday trips are very popular and people can book tickets for additional flights.

Samlik said that parents are asking about school break trips and that she considers Estonians to be sensible travelers.

At the same time, the government strongly urges people to avoid holiday travel. Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research Mart Laidmets said that the government's message today is that people should not go on holiday trips.

Olev Riisberg said that passenger safety is the number one priority for Novatours and that the company complies with official recommendations.

He added that responsible conduct is required not just from travel agents but also customers.

Taivo Linnamägi, head of the aviation department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, said that the government has no right to ban additional flights, adding that travel agents are urged to behave responsibly.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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