Never has a summer season been so critical for ski resorts in the French Alps, where winter seasons were cut abruptly short by lockdown in mid-March. But as mountain hotels and restaurants look to reopen, optimism is growing that this summer could be a très belle saison after all.
Searches for flights to and from the country – which is one of the airline's main markets – are increasing The budget carrier will not fly to Italy if the nation extends social distancing rules on planes beyond June 15, according to its chief executive. “It would be impossible for the companies to operate respecting the Italian social distancing and selling only a third of the seats,” Mr Johan Lundgren said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Mr Lundgren suggested an extension to the social distancing guidelines on planes would be harmful to Italy and would risk the country falling behind. He added that easyJet, which has said it will restart a small number of flights in France and the UK from June 15, has spoken to Italy’s Ministry of Transport about the matter but has yet to receive a response. Flight bookings are increasing, Mr Lundgren told the newspaper, as are online searches for flights to and from Italy. He said this was a sign “there are customers who want to take holidays in [the] country”. Italy is one of the main markets for easyJet and the carrier transports “more or less the same passengers as Alitalia,” said Mr Lundgren. He cited this in reference to the government’s decision to inject €3 billion (£2.69 billion) in Alitalia, which is being nationalised following financial problems. “I don’t question the nationalisation. But the support needs to be available to all, otherwise one creates distortion. Aid allocated in Europe risks going to inefficient carrier[s],” Mr Lundgren added. An easyJet spokesperson told Telegraph Travel: “When we resume flying we expect to operate to and within Italy in a way, which is standardised across Europe, and following aviation authorities, EASA and ICAO guidance. In consultation with them and national authorities we have implemented measures which help to mitigate being unable to practice social distancing onboard. “These include enhanced aircraft cleaning and disinfection and the requirement for passengers and crew to wear masks. Customers will be able to practice social distancing in the airports, at gates and during boarding. Onboard, and where possible, crew will invite customers to sit at distance from customers not in their party where seats are available.” EasyJet announced on Thursday that it plans to cut 30 per cent of its staff, which equates to the loss of up to 4,500 jobs, as Covid-19 delivers a blow to demand. Italy is due to reopen its borders to some foreign visitors on June 3. This includes travellers from the UK, other EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco. Italians will also be able to move freely between regions, though local authorities can limit travel if infections begin to spike. Since May 18, hotels, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation facilities in Italy are allowed to resume business, provided that a one metre social distancing rule is guaranteed in common areas. Britons are still subject to UK travel restrictions. This includes Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel and, from June 8, a two-week quarantine when returning to Britain from abroad. However, this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered fresh hope that British travellers might still enjoy overseas summer holidays this year. He suggested that the UK could have “air bridge” agreements in place by June 29. These bilateral arrangements would see countries with similar infection rates form travel links to circumvent quarantine measures. As of May 28, Italy had registered 231,139 cases of Covid-19 and 33,072 deaths.
Strict hygiene measures are being considered by one cruise line, alongside social distancing rules and temperature checks Passengers should expect a lot more space on board when cruising resumes if ships follow the advice of one line and chop more than a third of capacity. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line said it intends to limit the number of cabins by closing two passenger decks – which will leave capacity 40 per cent lower than normal. Cruise holidays are paused across the world as the industry grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. Bahamas Paradise is one of the first lines to give a clear summary on how post-pandemic sailing will look, and how the experience is likely to change for travellers. As well as lowering capacity, health and safety measures will include the disinfection of luggage before loading, pre-boarding temperature checks for passengers, fogging cleans of vacant cabins and strict social distancing protocols. “As things begin to return to normal after months of quarantine, we can all use a quick getaway. When we return, our on board experience may look a little different to our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “The wellness of our passengers and crew members remains our top priority and, as such, passengers can expect enhanced sanitisation procedures from embarkation to disembarkation so that they can enjoy a relaxing, safe, stress-free getaway.” As expected, self-service buffets have been removed, with all food and drink served by crew members who will wear face masks, gloves, hats and aprons. For shore excursions, tour buses will run at 50 per cent capacity and Bahamas said all operators will be trained using World Health Organisation guidelines. The new approach extends to crew members, who will be required to undergo temperature checks twice a day. The medical centre will have isolated wards for passengers who are concerned they may have been exposed to Covid-19. Sailings for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line are due to resume again on Grand Celebration from July 25, and from October 2 on Grand Classica. But Britons will be unable to join these voyages if the UK Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel remains in place. From June 8, British travellers could also be required to self-isolate when returning to the UK. Although Bahamas Paradise isn’t among the major cruise lines, its plans for safe cruising when travel restrictions ease could influence other operators, which have been discussing similar steps. Scylla, which plans to return to action from June 1 with a cruise in Germany, is also planning on fewer customers, compulsory face masks and the removal of self-service dining. And earlier this month Daniel Skjeldam, chief executive of Hurtigruten, told Telegraph Travel that there were hundreds of possibilities from screening to cleaning under consideration, including potentially testing guests before they came on board the ships. It would only become mandatory to wear face masks on board if there was conclusive scientific evidence in favour of such a measure. “That will be a last resort and we will wait as long as possible before making that decision,” Mr Skjeldam said, acknowledging it could be a deterrent for passengers if it was mandatory to wear them in a holiday environment. But the vast majority of cruise companies are keeping quiet on how their future operations might look. Tui said it didn’t yet have the details of what sailings would look like, and Royal Caribbean said it was unable to provide information at this time. A spokesperson for P&O; Cruises and Cunard Line was unable to give specific detail but said that “new enhanced measures may, no doubt, encompass rigorous pre-embarkation screening, changes to the on-board experience for guests”.
Kuoni, founded more than a century ago, has turned its attention to the UK amid travel restrictions
Mountain rescue teams in Scotland are “nervous” that a spike in people visiting the hills will leave them struggling to cope.
At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic here in Seville, people shared eerie photos and videos on social media of a forlorn city: empty streets, shuttered bars, piled-up chairs and tables. No activity, total silence – apart from cheeky resident peacocks revelling in the uncharacteristic lack of humans, strutting proudly around the Alcazar’s main patio, and even out into the narrow alleyways of Barrio Santa Cruz.
As coronavirus cases and deaths continue to fall in the UK, mainland Europe and some US states, attention has switched to Brazil, where almost 400,000 cases have been recorded as of May 27, as well as 24,512 deaths.
Although no concrete date for UK hotel openings has been set by the government, the Prime Minister stated that he hopes “to reopen at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places provided they’re safe and enforce social distancing” in phase three of the lockdown exit plan, which would be July 4 at the earliest. Many hotels across the UK, including some of the country's finest, are therefore looking to July 4 (and beyond) and making the necessary preparations in order to reopen to guests safely. Here, we round up the very best places that are planning to reopen, county by county – though do note that this is still a provisional plan, depending on the next phase of lockdown and subsequent governmental announcements. If you are looking for key dates of European hotel openings, see here. Cotswolds (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire) The Farncombe Estate, Broadway Reopening date: July 13 The estate includes Dormy House, a pretty boutique property; Foxhill Manor, an Arts & Crafts manor; and The Fish, a collection of treehouses, shepherd's huts and chic rooms. No firm plans have been released but they are hoping to reopen on July 13 at the earliest.
It’s worth starting this article by saying that it is very much a fool’s errand to second-guess the Government at the moment - so I must be a fool for even attempting such a feat.
According to a survey by The Ski Club of Great Britain last year, 20 per cent of more than 9,000 active skiers and snowboarders took a self-catered ski holiday the previous winter. Similarly results from the annual report produced by the London International Snowsports Trade Exchange (LISTEX) show 44 per cent of its database, made up of skiers and snowboarders who have consistently taken winter holidays since 2017, opted for a self-catered trip in 2019.
It’s been a while since most of us have taken a refreshing dip and, with temperatures rising, many will want to grab their swimming costume and head for a pool. However, in this new world order nothing seems straightforward and keen swimmers have been left confused as to what is currently allowed and, indeed, what going for a swim will look like in the future.
Matt Hancock may have ruled out “big, lavish international holidays” for Britons this summer – but once FCO advice changes to permit non-essential travel, avid travellers might be able to make it to Jamaica before too long.
Sweden’s controversially laid-back lockdown policy could see its citizens slapped with travel bans as the rest of Europe starts to ease border controls.
I’m a little nervous about my first post-lockdown holiday. Not because I’m worried about coronavirus, of course. As a 36-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions, I’m more likely to die in a car crash on my way to the airport. It is the strange “new normal” for travellers that I’m afraid of. With lockdowns easing, and European countries creaking open their doors to tourists, we’re starting to get an inkling of what the holiday experience will look like for the foreseeable future. And it’s not pretty. Join me if you will, on a post-lockdown break to Barcelona. From the second I enter Stansted Airport to the moment I’m deposited in the Catalan capital, I must wear a face mask. That’s five hours, give or take, of restricted breathing. The airport experience involves longer queues, thermal scanners, and lashings of hand sanitiser. I lose my wife in the duty-free shop because I can’t tell her apart from every other masked zombie. On the plane the atmosphere is fraught. Gone is the excitable pre-holiday chatter and the double G&Ts;, replaced by 30 rows of fearful eyes. I hear one passenger mutter to her husband: “I can’t believe the plane is so busy... it’s not safe!” She raises her phone to capture the evidence. It will be on Twitter as soon as we land. During the safety briefing, we’re reminded that, in the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, we should remove our face masks before putting on our oxygen masks. I roll my eyes. In-flight food of any kind is unavailable, but I’m offered a £5 bottle of water (card payment only). I raise my hand when I need the loo, and wait for permission from a flight attendant wearing the sort of military-grade PPE you’d expect in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. On Spanish soil, I’m whisked to my hotel. A masked woman greets me through a glass partition; my credit card is wiped and swiped. A man in plastic gloves takes my luggage, while a phalanx of cleaners in hazmat suits march around the property on a never-ending mission. In the half-empty restaurant I gaze wistfully at my beloved on the other side of a perspex screen. Our masked waiter regrets that he cannot accept our cash tip. We take a nightcap in a local bar, where some of the empty seats are occupied by mannequins, a slightly terrifying attempt to enforce the rules and create a bit of atmosphere. Our cocktails are extortionately priced, but with only 10 guests permitted at a time (we had to pre-book our slot a week in advance, and provide contact details for track-and-trace purposes) it’s hard to blame them. At Parc Guell we must queue for an hour in the stifling heat, wearing our masks, before entry is permitted. A one-way system sends us on the same pre-ordained route as everyone else. To cool off we head to the beach. Entry is only permitted after a temperature check, then we spend an hour or two inside a marked zone, shielded from the other beachgoers/potential killers. As I take a dip in the sea, a social distancing volunteer in a high-vis jacket warns me for straying too close to another bather. “Where’s your face mask?” he demands. “Idiota!” Maybe not all of these things will come to pass should I decide to visit Barcelona this summer (if I’m even allowed), but they are indicative of the sorts of measures already in place in destinations around the world. And that’s not nearly the half of it. Many hotels and restaurants, the smaller (and generally nicer) “boutique” kind, which cannot make money when they adhere to the rules, will still be shuttered. Options may be limited to soulless chains and fast food. Flight prices look certain to rise, and destination options could be limited. With demand expected to be dampened for some time, airlines might not risk launching routes to lesser-known cities. Some countries might still not permit “high risk” Britons to visit. At airports, bags might need to be “sanitagged”, while complex new boarding procedures threaten to create long delays. On planes, in-flight magazines have been scrapped. BA has decided to suspend its hot towel service. There shall be no hotel buffets of any kind. Some are even swapping room service for vending machines. Don’t expect crowded bars, live jazz or flamenco performances. Every enclosed space (and even some parks) will have tape on the floor. Stay in your zone or face the consequences. Italy’s proposed army of 60,000 social distancing snoops scares the life out of me. Florence’s Duomo is even asking people to wear necklaces that vibrate if you get too close to another visitor. Lord knows what else city councils, airlines and hotels will come up with in the all-consuming drive to prove their destination is “Covid safe”. And all the while there will be paranoid locals fearful that the return of outsiders threatens to spark the dreaded second spike. If you thought the residents of Barcelona and Venice hated tourists before, just you wait. I’m sure some people won’t mind all these overreaching regulations. The sorts who post facemask selfies (PP-selfie?) on Instagram will probably sing the praises of this depressing “new normal” – whateverittakes. But to me, it all sounds like the absolute antithesis of what makes travel such a joyful and worthwhile experience. It is the sense of freedom – from work, domestic woes, timetables and deadlines – that makes holidays special. They provide the opportunity to be spontaneous and forget the news agenda, to try new things on a whim, to get lost in a city you don’t know, discover hidden bars and raise a toast with people you’ll probably never see again. None of this will be possible in a world of social distancing and coronavirus fear. I’ll leave to one side the debate about which, if any, of these OTT measures will make any tangible difference to the spread of the virus. Nor will I get into the mental health consequences of it all. But what I will say is that hotels and tourist destinations should not forget what it is that makes travel such a wonderful experience in their rush to prove themselves a risk-free haven. If their offering is anything like I’ve described, I will go elsewhere – as will others. So where will I go? I hold out hope that Europe’s remote and rural corners will not be embracing the distancing diktat quite so eagerly as its honeypots. Which is why a villa on an unspoilt Greek island, or in the heart of Italy’s lesser-known Abruzzo region, is at the top of my wishlist. I’ll still have to contend with the airport faff, of course (though flying was always a dreadful chore) but I’ll have the freedom to roam, eat, drink – and wash my hands – when and where I fancy. And I won’t have to spend all day staring at people in face masks.
With relatively few new coronavirus cases over the past few weeks Greece entered phase four of lifting lockdown restrictions on May 25, opening bars and restaurants, and allowing domestic travel, a week earlier than planned.
Motoring used to be about journeys, not destinations. On the weekends of my childhood, my father would suddenly put down his paper and say, ‘Let’s go for a drive.’
Over a century of cruising to Alaska has allowed an incredible tourism product to develop, combining immersive on-shore attractions with scenery unlike any other. This year was meant to be a bumper cruise season.
Montenegro is stepping up plans to woo back tourists this summer under the banner of Europe’s first coronavirus-free country, after announcing it no longer had any active cases of the virus. The Balkan country said this week that its borders would open on June 1 to visitors from countries with fewer than 25 active Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents; in UK such a threshold would be 5,000 active cases. "Let me take off my mask," Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said triumphantly on Monday after health authorities announced that all infections had passed. The last new cases was recorded on May 5. Tourism operators from the small nation on the Adriatic coast have already launched promotional campaigns luring holidaymakers to “Europe’s first Covid-19 free country”. Montenegro’s draws include the fortified medieval town of Kotor, popular with cruise passengers, where there have been no known coronavirus cases. “Safety is something people are looking at the most," Ana Nives Radovic, director of the local tourism organisation in Kotor, told AFP. "They now are looking for a destination where people feel safe, respect some rules and where they can be assured that (the host) will not allow anything bad to happen to them.” While Montenegro does not expect a bumper season, it is hoping its virus record will help salvage something for a tourism industry that accounts for more than a fifth of GDP. Current estimates project a drop of 70 per cent in revenue. With its infection per capita restrictions it hopes to protect a population of 630,000 that has seen only around 300 cases of coronavirus and nine deaths, while also opening its doors to tourists. Prime Minister Markovic said target countries include Croatia, Germany, and Greece; the absence of high value markets such as the UK, Italy and Russia is a blow for luxury destinations like Porto Montenegro. "It will look very different this summer than it would have looked last year," said Kai Dieckmann, general manager of Regent Porto Montenegro hotel, whose pristine pools, lawns and beach front have stood eerily empty for weeks. He noted new hygiene measures would also be in place, such as "QR menus" at restaurants that allow patrons to read the menu on smartphones instead of touching a physical copy. We will "have to provide additional services to meet the 'new normal', whatever that is going to be," he said.
As detoxes go, being deprived of social gatherings, cultural events and travel beyond our backyards certainly puts any January fad diet in the shade. With the UK lockdown in its ninth week, we’ve become adept at doing a lot with very little. But this strict diet means that now, with lockdown restrictions easing, we’re all set to travel with heightened senses, refreshed tastebuds for life. So I refuse to accept that the British summer has “effectively been cancelled” purely because “big, lavish, international holidays” are unlikely to happen, as Matt Hancock unhelpfully suggested last week. Instead, we’re eagerly plotting visits to local beauty spots, camping trips and day trips to country estates. Right now, local residents aren’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for visitors. But the British hospitality industry, when it reopens, will desperately needs travellers, and visitors desperately need British escapes, so we need to work during this crisis to build a safe, sustainable tourism model that works for residents and visitors alike. The great British summer of 2020 is an opportunity for travellers and our national tourist industry, not an obstacle. In late March, as I self-quarantined, I didn’t long for fancy hotels, tropical islands or colourful carnivals abroad. Instead I pined for the Lake District, a region I’ve consistently failed to visit in my 10 years as a travel writer. The Lake District been on my travel to-do list since I studied Romantic Literature and fell for the poems of Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley and Coleridge. I was a broke Irish student at Glasgow University, without a car, so this adventure remained beyond my grasp. And when I finished university, I backpacked around Thailand for weeks, splurging the remainder of my student loan on cheap hostels, £1 bowls of spicy green curry and PADI diving courses. I don’t blame my 22-year-old self for making this decision. But I am embarrassed to admit that this same attitude that has kept me from the Lake District ever since. When I got my first job as a reporter in London, I was in one of the best bases for international travel on the planet. And the poor little Lake District didn’t get a look-in. There was always some showstopper of an alternative. Why bother with Windermere when there were cheap flights to Mexico? Did I really want to risk the rain of the Lakes when all my friends would be cavorting at a beach festival in Croatia? The Lake District was crowded and unfashionable, I was told, by people who wanted me to join them on yoga retreats in Tulum. But now, I’ve had weeks to revisit those poems that first fuelled my imagination, that built the Lake District of my daydreams – and I’ve had time to think about how to visit this over-visited region with minimal impact. I’ve thought about how residents are currently concerned about high visitor numbers and the viability of social distancing measures as lockdown eases. I’ve looked into lesser-known spots, uncrowded trails and more remote campsites, and tentatively planned my visit for the less-crowded autumn months. And for a recovering fast-paced traveller like myself, slowing down, and re-acquainting myself with my old tastes, desires and whims, has been a rewarding exercise. Right now we’re removed from dizzying distractions like flight deals or unmissable package offers. We don’t need to be at that jazz festival in the Alps. There is no requirement to giddily Instagram a “hot new” hotel or “hidden gem” of a restaurant in an up-and-coming European city. I know I’m not alone in taking this time to reassess the travel that really matters to us, and think about how we can visit the places that mean the most to us, without feeling complicit in their decline. Travel this summer will be more nature-focused, as open, air-filled spaces and outdoorsy pursuits reopen sooner. It will also be more family or friend-focused, with large gatherings and resorts out of the equation. It will be much more local, and largely UK or Europe-based, which we should celebrate, as we have a reeling economy that needs our tourist pound more than ever. Most of all, travel this summer will be more personal, as we all prioritise the holidays that matter most to us. Whether this is a long-overdue visit to family in Scotland, re-tracing the steps of your honeymoon in Wales, or, like me, a chance to turn long-held daydreams into a reality, our first taste of travel this year will be a feast.
Contemplating post-lockdown holidays other than in Britain is accounted treachery in some quarters. This is extreme. Naturally, if I lived in Britain, I’d see the case for Dorset, the Dales or the Cairngorms in 2020. But I’d also see the case for abroad, where no-one’s heard of Matt Hancock, Simon Cowell or Wetherspoons. We may neither wish, nor be able, to go far – but abroad starts just over the Channel. And ferries and tunnel permitting, we’ll be safe in our own cars. If that sounds like you, here are three off-the-peg week-long trips you might consider. They involve no excessive driving and, in two cases, contain serious patriotic elements.
When holiday-hungry Britons get permission for staycations, many will make a beeline for the coast. Beautiful Cornwall, Cumbria, the Isle of Wight – all besieged! Well, no thanks. Crowds aren’t for everyone, especially now. Now is the time to seek out lesser-lauded spots, where you can happily keep your social distance. Now is the time to hail the unsexy interiors.
At first glance, it makes no sense. On some of the world's most expensive real estate – flanked by Japan's Imperial Palace and skyscrapers home to Fortune 500 companies – Tokyo authorities have dedicated a big parcel of land to a severed head.
While the term 'super resort' might make some think of scale and nothing else, this is not the case for the five we have identified below. What you'll find instead is a collection of luxurious, warm and welcoming havens for a family holiday everyone will love. These hotels, many of them award-winning, have stylish and comfortable rooms; extensive, impressive and well-managed amenities; and excellent restaurants. Now that countries are starting to welcome tourists back and hotels are opening up, measures to protect the health and safety of guests and staff are more important than ever. These five family super resorts have found new ways to balance quality service with protective guidelines in a post-pandemic world. We might not be able to visit just yet, but at least we'll know what to expect when we can get there. Sani Resort, Halkidiki, Greece This summer, Sani will start welcoming guests back to its 1,000-acre resort on the north coast of mainland Greece. The award-winning estate, which comes with its own marina, private beaches, clutch of luxury hotels including Sani Beach Resort, plus nature reserve with wetlands and forest, has ‘remodelled’ to make use of space and observe social distancing guidelines as set out by the World Health Organisation.
Could reopening under social distancing guidelines be doing more harm than good to our favourite bars and restaurants?