Health Secretary for England Matt Hancock said the Government is doing “everything we can” to ensure people can get away for a summer holiday.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps both warned that it was still too soon to start booking holidays for this summer.
Mr Hancock, who has already booked a holiday in Cornwall, said that people wanted certainty over whether it was possible to go away – either in the UK or abroad.
“What we have all been saying is we will do everything we can to make sure that people can have a holiday but these are uncertain times,” he told Sky News.
“That is something people understand – especially after the last year, people really get that. The fact that we have all been talking in exactly the same terms that there is uncertainty but we want to bring an end to that uncertainty.”
Mr Hancock said the public will need to be “patient” over the prospect of summer holidays this year.
“I know that people are yearning for certainty over whether they can have a summer holiday, but pandemics are difficult times and there is a lot of uncertainty so I am afraid that people will have to be patient before we can get that certainty,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“We are doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that people can have a holiday this summer but the vaccine rollout is absolutely essential to that.
“We will set out more in more detail when we can, but at the moment unfortunately there is that uncertainty still.”
Noel Josephides, chairman of tour operator Sunvil and former chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents, said he believes once people are vaccinated they will not be worried about travelling abroad.
He said he is confident that two-thirds of the British population will be vaccinated by May and that there will be “so much pent-up demand by then” for overseas holidays.
Mr Josephides told LBC: “To put it bluntly, vaccination isn’t only about preventing death, but is giving the ability to live.”
He said the Prime Minister and various ministers have “never been completely accurate” during the pandemic, adding: “This is a huge, huge industry, a million jobs are at stake, and we don’t believe that once people are vaccinated they are going to worry about travelling abroad.
“And it’s on that basis that we are going ahead. And if, in fact, the Government waits til everybody is vaccinated then by that time there won’t be a travel industry.”
He said the industry cannot go through another year of refunding money, pointing out that millions of people have deferred their holidays from last year.
Mr Hancock said it is too early to know which coronavirus restrictions will still be in place by the summer.
“As the Prime Minister set out yesterday, we do have to be patient,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Because things like the vaccine rollout are going well – that is the progress that people want to see – but there is still the uncertainty around where we will be by the summer.
“I am saying exactly the same as every other minister is saying, which is there is uncertainty, and that means we cannot make categorical assurances but we are doing everything we can to get things back to normal.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk