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Julian Simmons plans getaway to beat pandemic blues

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Travelling man: Julian Simmons is hoping to go on holiday to Dubai

Travelling man: Julian Simmons is hoping to go on holiday to Dubai

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Travelling man: Julian Simmons is hoping to go on holiday to Dubai

Former UTV presenter Julian Simmons has revealed he is counting down the days until he can "let it rip" on his next trip abroad.

Julian, who is a regular traveller, is due to get his second Covid vaccine later this month,

He is already starting to plan for getting away, with trips to Guernsey and Dubai on his to-do list. He is hoping for more clarity soon on when the holiday sector can take off again.

"I was watching the Prime Minister's announcement the other day and it was just a whole fudge," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I know there's another proper announcement coming soon from the global travel team so hopefully that will shed a bit more light on things."

A frequent flyer in happier times, Julian usually takes around four flights overseas every year.

He added: "I was hoping to go to Dubai in January and that was knocked on the head. I was going to go to Guernsey for Easter and that was knocked on the head too."

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Hoping to reschedule the trips later this year, he said the constant uncertainty caused by the pandemic has been a nightmare for those dreaming of sitting on a sunny beach with a cocktail.

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Dubai

Dubai

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Dubai

"At one stage I used to go to Guernsey every Christmas with my mum and we stayed in the Duke of Richmond Hotel and happy times were had by all. But this has just been such a frustrating time," he said.

Having previously enjoyed staycations with friends in Donegal when restrictions allowed, Julian said some long weekends to locations like Portmarnock in the coming months will provide some much needed respite.

While praising the "excellent" tourism sector in Northern Ireland, he said for many getting away will be the only cure for the pandemic blues.

"With the winter and everything we've had and people being locked down, people want a break completely away with darn good weather and entertainment and restaurants and everything.

"That's what people in Northern Ireland like."

Asked how he will feel to finally go abroad again, Julian added: "Ecstatic I think, to be away and letting it all rip. I'm going to Maderia as well right after the rescheduled trip to Dubai so I'm hoping Portugal stays off that list."

While many will nervously take their first steps back into the world after restrictions end, Julian said he hopes to feel at ease.

"I used to love going out after a shift at UTV to go to places like Rain and that sort of thing. You didn't think anything about people being all crushed together," he said.

"And now, by the 22nd of this month I'll have had my second vaccination. So I hope I'm going to be somewhat immune to all this."

On the psychological barrier, he said: "I think I will do my best to crash through all that. I think with a lot of people there will be a certain amount of worry and double thinking about everything."

With his new holiday dates circled in the calendar, Julian said he only has one tactic left before the next government update, adding: "All we can do is pray."


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