• Self-catering accommodation will be 'front of the queue' to open on July 4
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Self-catering accommodation will be 'front of the queue' to open on July 4

    Yesterday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden spoke in the House of Commons in support of a summer of British holidays, saying that he had high hopes for the cottage and self-catering industry in particular.

  • Visit Britain revives call for bonus October bank holiday
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Visit Britain revives call for bonus October bank holiday

    Visit Britain has renewed its calls for a one-off October bank holiday to generate some much-needed revenue for struggling hospitality businesses up and down the country.

  • How Antigua will reopen to tourists, from testing on arrival to socially distanced beaches
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    How Antigua will reopen to tourists, from testing on arrival to socially distanced beaches

    Antigua has just reopened for tourism with strict new health and safety protocols. An American Airlines flight from Miami landed on the evening of June 4 at the country's VC Bird International Airport, the first commercial flight to the island since its borders were closed in March. It's reported that most passengers were returning nationals, though there were some tourists.

  • The new rules of safari holidays: why we must consider community health before choosing where to stay
    News
    The Telegraph

    The new rules of safari holidays: why we must consider community health before choosing where to stay

    Over the past two months, there’s been ample conversation about the resumption of tourism: what it means for the traveller, how properties can entice guests, how heavily local and national economies and conservation rely on tourism. But there has been scant mention of what travelling during a pandemic means for the health of people living in and around tourism destinations.

  • EU puts 13 UK airports on 'high risk' list, but only two from France
    News
    The Telegraph

    EU puts 13 UK airports on 'high risk' list, but only two from France

    So-called 'clean' regional airports – including Edinburgh and Southend – could offer a gateway to quarantine-free holidays this summer An EU aviation body has placed 13 UK airports on a list of “high-risk” transport hubs, yet only two from France. The list, put together by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), highlights the airports from which aircraft should be subject to heightened disinfection. However, some countries, including Greece and the Netherlands, are using the list to inform travel restrictions and other measures on arrivals, which the EASA has spoken out against. “The list is not intended to suggest travel restrictions or other public health measures (such as quarantine) at State level,” they state. “There is a lot of confusion about what this list means. Its purpose is simply to indicate routes on which extra disinfecting of aircraft should take place to avoid spread of COVID-19. There is no travel ban or travel warning associated with this,” an EASA spokesperson told Telegraph Travel. “We are keen not to perpetuate the misinterpretation of the list as a travel advisory tool and we are putting out this message to all relevant parties.” The Greek government confirmed on Monday that Britons would be able to travel to Greece from June 15 and would face more or less strict screening measures depending on which airport they flew from. Those travelling from airports on the EASA list would all be tested and face seven days of quarantine if they test negative or 14 days if they test positive. Tourists coming from airports not on the list would only be subject to random testing. “There are already UK airports from which, after June 15, visitors may come to Greece without going through quarantine,” tourism minister Harry Theoharis told the Telegraph. UK airports not on the EASA list include Belfast, Aberdeen, Southampton, Cardiff, Southend, Edinburgh, Bristol. When this was raised to the Greek Embassy and tourism board, they maintained that the current advice (based on the EASA list) still stands, although the country is revising decisions daily. As such, between June 15 and July 1 international flights will run to Athens and Thessaloniki airports - those flying from airports not on the EASA list will only be subject to random testing. For British holidaymakers this will require finding a connection through another airport not on the list, bearing in mind that the list is continually updated. Britons could try to reach Greece through circuitous routes between June 15 and July 1. Wizz Air is running regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, with a stop in Budapest, which is not currently on the EASA list. There are also regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, via Zurich - another airport not on the list. The Netherlands is also using the EASA guidelines to inform which countries must fill in a “fit-to-fly” form. On the FCO page, it states: “Travellers to the Netherlands from high-risk areas as listed online by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, including those transiting the Netherlands, are required by airlines to fill in a ‘fit-to-fly’ health declaration form. “This will contain questions about your situation and health, including whether you have symptoms of Covid-19. You may be refused permission to board based on your declaration. “On arrival in the Netherlands your declaration will be checked by public health and security authorities. Travellers from high-risk areas are also strongly advised by the Dutch government to quarantine themselves for at least 14 days.” Some countries, such as France, only have one region (Ile de France) listed, meaning only two airports are “high risk”. Only three of Italy’s 20 regions are on the list (Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Piemonte). When quizzed on how the list is formulated, a spokesperson from EASA said: “One of the parameters used to determine which areas/airports are included on this list is input from the public health authorities (so in the case of the UK, the NHS). The way the authorities compile this information differs from country to country. This in turn leads to the fact that in some instances airports are listed, in others it is regions.” They added that the EASA list “ should only be of interest for readers who are interested in the recommendations for the technical disinfection of aircraft." However, the fact that British holidaymakers can avoid quarantine and health measures in Greece or the Netherlands (and potentially, soon, more countries) by travelling via “clean” regional airports means the list will indeed be of interest to anyone hoping to go on a holiday this summer. Which European airports are on the EASA list? Belgium All airports France All airports in Ile-de-France Italy All airports in: Emilia Romagna Lombardy Piemonte Netherlands Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Eindhoven Airport Maastricht Aachen Airport Rotterdam / The Hague Airport Poland Katowice Airport Portugal Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto) Lisbon Portela Airport Spain All airports in the following regions: Castile and Leon Castilla-La Mancha Catalonia Madrid Sweden All airports in the Stockholm region United Kingdom Birmingham Doncaster Sheffield East Midlands Gatwick Glasgow Heathrow Leeds Bradford Liverpool John Lennon London City Luton Manchester Airport Newcastle International Stansted

  • 'It’s not a race to reopen': major ski resort delivers blow to would-be guests this summer
    Business
    The Telegraph

    'It’s not a race to reopen': major ski resort delivers blow to would-be guests this summer

    Vail Resorts will not be rushed into reopening its resorts as skiing recommences in the mountains of America and Europe

  • A postcard from Hvar – the sleepy Croatian island that's refound its charm
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    A postcard from Hvar – the sleepy Croatian island that's refound its charm

    Gone is Hvar's clamouring glamour – now it has refound its dignity

  • Why you should skip Lulworth Cove this weekend and go here instead
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Why you should skip Lulworth Cove this weekend and go here instead

    I went to school in Ramsgate. The town didn’t mean all that much to me, except for the café where I’d flirt with boys over chips and cheese, the churchyard where I’d pretend to like to smoke and the aptly named Pool Land where I spent free periods honing my eight-ball craft.

  • Countryside vs. capital: How London’s hotels will suffer from the UK quarantine
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Countryside vs. capital: How London’s hotels will suffer from the UK quarantine

    Leaders of Britain’s biggest travel companies have warned that the Government’s recently confirmed quarantine requirements, compelling travellers arriving in the UK from June 8 to stay at home for 14 days, will have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the British tourism industry. As holidaymakers respond to the measure, the skewed impact it will have on the hotel sector is becoming clear: cutting back on foreign breaks, Britons are choosing to stay in countryside hotels; reliant on international travellers, London properties are set for a painfully quiet summer.

  • Where to stay in Greece – the safest regions and places to avoid when you can travel again
    News
    The Telegraph

    Where to stay in Greece – the safest regions and places to avoid when you can travel again

    With less than 3,000 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, Greece is currently being hailed as one of the safest European countries for holidaymakers this summer.

  • The ancient Roman street worth exploring this weekend
    News
    The Telegraph

    The ancient Roman street worth exploring this weekend

    Two millennia before Cliff Richard moved in, the Romans paved a great road through the commuter town of Cheshunt. Starting down at the Thames in AD43, they progressed north across Hertfordshire en route to their stronghold at York.

  • Lack of clarity over guidelines may lead campsites to remain closed this summer
    News
    The Telegraph

    Lack of clarity over guidelines may lead campsites to remain closed this summer

    Camping has surged in popularity in recent weeks as British holidaymakers look to salvage their summer holidays. But campsites could be forced to turn visitors away amid confusion over new safety rules, the owner of one of the UK’s biggest camping networks has warned.

  • 'We will wait': How tourist boards are struggling to strike the right tone
    News
    The Telegraph

    'We will wait': How tourist boards are struggling to strike the right tone

    It is not, perhaps, the problem you prepare for most stringently when you are completing your degree in marketing.

  • Covid-19’s impact on the ski industry – experts share their thoughts
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Covid-19’s impact on the ski industry – experts share their thoughts

    Nervous holidaymakers need refund guarantees and flexible bookings

  • Family holidays were never the same again after Maddie – we kept our children that little bit closer
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Family holidays were never the same again after Maddie – we kept our children that little bit closer

    The aftermath of Madeleine McCann's disappearance coincided with the beginning of my career as a newspaper travel editor. I can still remember the indrawn breath whenever we discussed the possibility of publishing a piece on Portugal –anywhere in Portugal, not just the unhappy slice that contained Praia da Luz. But the story felt just as important to me personally. My first son was born less than a year before Madeleine – he turns 18 next week. I remember furious debate among my friends – most of whom had children of a similar age. Would we have left our five-year-olds alone in a room to go out to dinner, in what clearly seemed a secure, safe resort village, as the McCanns had? Would we ever do so now that we had witnessed their shattered lives played out in such awful detail in the press? Imagine being asked the question by a reporter if such a tragedy happened to you: Didn't you learn from what happened to Maddie? Package holidays were under the spotlight, of course. We’d all been on them, all embraced the sense of warm security that they engendered, all let our children snooze through the afternoon sun in the family room while we lounged by the pool, checking on them occasionally. Holidays were carefree, happy things, a chance for families to relish time together. Now, it seemed, a stranger had broken into this idyll, and trampled on all our holiday dreams. This wasn’t really about package holidays, of course. It was about families dealing with their worst nightmare in a foreign environment. It was impossible then, as it is now, to fully imagine the horror of what the McCanns have been put through, but the truth is family holidays abroad changed after the events of May 3, 2007. Because it wasn't just the dreadful abduction, it was the bewilderment in the parents’ eyes as the world watched them being forced to navigate not just their own personal tragedy but also an alien justice system. Perhaps we already knew how dreadful it felt to lose sight of a child, just for a few minutes, in a crowded local supermarket, when all the usual signposts of normality, of home, of security, were close by. How much, much worse it would be to experience a parent’s worst nightmare in a country where you might not know the language, wouldn't know the bureaucracy, the protocol, the right numbers to call. All you’d have was a suitcase full of all the things you'd thought you’d need for a child to be happy for a week in the sun: T-shirts, a sunhat, a ball for the beach. The story ran for such a long time, and every now and again a fresh peak of trauma would emerge for the family, with new Portuguese words for us all to learn as the parents were given arguido (suspect) status, and trails that led to dead ends, all played out under the burning white sunshine of the Algarve. The worst sort of advert for a destination famed for family-friendly package holidays. I quickly learnt that supposedly inspirational travel stories in my section about a destination that might also be on the front page of the paper the very same day were never going to be appropriate. As is the way with the world of travel – or was the way before the all-consuming coronavirus pandemic hit – we shifted our focus, moved on to other countries, the dreadful thrum of the missing girl being played out elsewhere. But as a parent, it suddenly wasn’t just the cuts and scrapes of a family adventure I would have in mind on a holiday, it was no longer simply a case of inflating my children’s armbands and applying sunscreen. We all gathered our children that little bit closer; and became a little less carefree as a result.

  • UK holidaymakers will struggle to visit Greece from 'safe' UK airports
    News
    The Telegraph

    UK holidaymakers will struggle to visit Greece from 'safe' UK airports

    Greece has clarified that Britons can avoid quarantine if travelling from airports not included on a high risk list, but options are limited British holidaymakers’ hopes of a quarantine-free trip to Greece are looking somewhat gloomy, despite the country confirming that Britons could visit from mid-June. The Greek government confirmed on Monday that Britons would be able to travel to Greece from June 15 and would face more or less strict screening measures depending on which airport they flew from. Those travelling from airports on the EASA list would all be tested and face seven days of quarantine if they test negative or 14 days if they test positive. Tourists coming from airports not on the list would only be subject to random testing. “There are already UK airports from which, after June 15, visitors may come to Greece without going through quarantine,” tourism minister Harry Theoharis told the Telegraph. These airports include Southend, Edinburgh and Bristol, yet there are no direct flights between these 'safe' UK airports and Greece between June 15 and July 1. Mr Theorharis added that the EASA list would be renewed weekly in the run up to June 15. Meanwhile, the EASA told Telegraph Travel on June 4 that countries should not be using this list to determine travel restrictions. “There is a lot of confusion about what this list means. Its purpose is simply to indicate routes on which extra disinfecting of aircraft should take place to avoid spread of COVID-19. There is no travel ban or travel warning associated with this,” said an EASA spokesperson. Yet the Greek Embassy and tourism board maintains that the current advice (based on the EASA list) still stands, although the country is revising decisions daily. As such, between June 15 and July 1 international flights will run to Athens and Thessaloniki airports - those flying from airports not on the EASA list will only be subject to random testing. For British holidaymakers this will require finding a connection through another airport not on the list, bearing in mind that the list is continually updated. Britons could try to reach Greece through circuitous routes between June 15 and July 1. Wizz Air is running regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, with a stop in Budapest, which is not currently on the EASA list. There are also regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, via Zurich - another airport not on the list. A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Our understanding is that it is the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control that developed the list and it is based on the R number in particular locations. We’ve had no communication with EASA on it. “Given the UK Government’s muddled quarantine policy any such list is rendered irrelevant as no-one will be travelling to or from the UK, causing untold damage to the UK tourism industry and economy.” From July 1, international flights will be permitted to all airports in Greece and visitors will be subject to random tests. However, the Greek government plans to continue to adhere to the EASA list and passengers from “blacklisted” airports might still be subject to further testing measures into July. However, July will bring more flight options from the British airports not on the EASA list. Wizz Air is offering frequent flights in July from Southend to Athens with a connection in Bucharest, which is not currently included on the EASA list. The FCO is advising against all non-essential international travel and travelling against FCO advice will invalidate virtually all insurance policies. From June 8, arrivals in the UK will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

  • Turkish Airlines to introduce 'hygiene experts' to monitor passengers
    News
    The Telegraph

    Turkish Airlines to introduce 'hygiene experts' to monitor passengers

    The airline has taken steps to ensure their new Covid-19 rules are being adhered to by passengers The national flag carrier of Turkey has introduced strict new measures on flights to ensure on-board hygiene. Many airlines have been introducing initiatives to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, which range from new uniforms to extra hand sanitiser. Turkish Airlines has gone one step further to ensure their own rules will be followed, by appointing a ‘hygiene expert’ on each flight. The carrier resumed domestic flights within Turkey on June 1 after two months of being grounded, with a host of new rules. Passengers are now required to wear masks throughout the flight, minimise their movement around the cabin, and socially distance while boarding and disembarking. The new hygiene-focused members of staff will be ensuring passengers comply with all this, as well as making sure passengers don’t remove their masks all at once during food services, instead organising a staggered mask removal throughout the plane. Cold meals in boxes rather than the airline’s usual catering service will help aid this process. Wearing protective shields, the experts will check the airplane for compliance with hygiene rules before, during and after the flight. Rather more unpleasantly, they are also responsible for disinfecting the on-board lavatories, as well as any other spots passengers may have touched. There will be one 'hygiene expert’ assigned per flight, which does beg the question of to what extent a single member of staff will be able to enforce these rules at all times on a large aircraft. Passengers are also presented masks and hygiene kits containing sanitizers before take-off. After each flight, planes are thoroughly disinfected, from seats to windows to lavatories. Airports in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Trabzon are all now open for a limited number of daily flights. More domestic airports are set to reopen this week, and Turkish Airlines will resume international flights to Europe on June 18. Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are the first countries the airline will be flying to, and will connect a total of 16 European cities with 14 Turkish cities. The airline is no doubt hoping to reassure passengers that it is safe to fly again with these strict measures. "Following two months spent away from the skies, our global brand is preparing for the new era by coordinating with national and international authorities," the national carrier said in a statement on June 2. As well as needing to comply with on-board rules, Turkish Airline passengers will also have to receive a code from the Health Ministry’s Hayat Eve Sığar (Life Fits Inside Home) app before they can board a flight. The code confirms the user’s health condition; sick passengers or those suspected of being infected are barred from flying. Passengers’ body temperature is also being screened at airport entrances with thermal cameras, and standard ticket checking procedure has now been cancelled. Instead, passengers scan a code on their paperwork into devices installed at the airport. Anyone seeing off a passenger is no longer allowed inside the airport terminal, and all hand baggage has been banned on flights, with the exception of laptops, purses and baby strollers.

  • Inside the small seaside town on the Algarve that was changed forever by Madeleine McCann
    News
    The Telegraph

    Inside the small seaside town on the Algarve that was changed forever by Madeleine McCann

    Search in the index of any guide book on Portugal and it is unlikely you will find Praia da Luz included and yet the millions of column inches that have appeared about this tiny seaside town in endless languages across the world have made it one of the most notorious spots in Portugal.

  • Exclusive: Air fares fall by two thirds for summer getaways to European hotspots
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Exclusive: Air fares fall by two thirds for summer getaways to European hotspots

    The cost of flying to Europe will plummet this summer as airlines use cut-price fares to woo back travellers, exclusive research for Telegraph Travel has shown.

  • 'Perverse' air bridge plan puts millions of jobs at risk, warns Sir Rocco Forte
    News
    The Telegraph

    'Perverse' air bridge plan puts millions of jobs at risk, warns Sir Rocco Forte

    Sir Rocco Forte has slammed the UK’s proposed air bridge scheme as ‘perverse’, claiming that millions of livelihoods are at risk while borders remain all but closed to European tourists. The British hotelier, who owns hotels throughout Europe, has stated that time is running out for the country’s suffering travel businesses and has urged the Government to ease restrictions that could drive away foreign tourists this summer. “For the tourism industry in this country it’s the final nail in the coffin,” he told The Telegraph. “Unless people know they can go to a country they’re not going to book a holiday there – they’re going to go elsewhere. So all the major tourist destinations in this country will suffer as a result. “If there are going to be air bridges we can’t wait three weeks, because by then we’re in July and August. They have to be announced now. It seems pretty perverse actually.” Under current plans, all arrivals to the UK will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days, or else face a fine of up to £1,000 or prosecution. The Government has opened talks to establish air bridges with Portugal, France, Spain and Greece, which would allow tourists to travel between these countries without the need to go into isolation. Sir Rocco’s comments follow Italy’s decision to admit British and EU tourists without requiring them to go into quarantine, with hopes that tourists can help stave off the country’s worst recession since the Second World War. The move that has drawn criticism from some experts who warn that fewer curbs on travel could lead to a second wave of infections, but the 75-year-old, who contracted and recovered from the coronavirus, believes the Italian government has done the right thing in weighing public health measures against economic strain of lockdown. “If they can do it, why can’t the UK? Why should the UK be closing its borders at a time when Italy is opening its own? “To close down an economy because of a certain section of the population who are perfectly capable of looking after themselves. There’s no sense in carrying on with this nonsense.”

  • Desert camping and off-grid safaris – the spacious destinations our writers can’t wait to return to
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Desert camping and off-grid safaris – the spacious destinations our writers can’t wait to return to

    Starry skies in the desert, camping among sand dunes and overtaking herds of camels… it’s time to think big

  • Which of these eight awful airport traits do you miss the least?
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Which of these eight awful airport traits do you miss the least?

    I miss travel. There we go. Three simple words. Very simple, in fact. Words that could in no way be described as “unexpected”. Words that you would entirely anticipate reading in a newspaper's travel section during a pandemic where nobody is doing much travelling – including a travel writer who had set foot on four continents before the first three months of the year were out, but has barely managed to see four postcodes in the subsequent two. So yes, I miss travel. I have been privileged to have it as a cornerstone of my professional existence for the best part of 20 years – and its current absence is a sizeable hole in who I am. So let the violins play. Let the angelic choirs sing in sympathy and sorrow. Let the gods look down from Olympus or Valhalla or wherever, and weep their eternal salty tears. [Sarcastic bit ends] One thing I do not miss, however, is the airport. If we were sticking to the standard script of this sort of article, there would now follow a paragraph about how travel is all about the destination and not the journey. Except in those cases – like cruises and road trips and rail holidays – where the journey is the destination. And about how the airport is merely a glorified bus-stop with added strip-lighting. But we'll skip that part. Because you've read it before. And because – obviously – you don't miss the airport either. There have been plenty of things you have been missing in the last 10 weeks – friends, positive headlines, personal space, haircuts, not having to pretend you are cocooned within a two-metre-square box when you enter any shop – but the big place with the planes isn't one of them. Which of the following Airport Thingies do you miss the least? That's the question here... 1. Mr Asking The Obvious “Did you pack this bag yourself, sir?”. Well yes, I do hope so. Because if my five-year-old did it, it's going to be very heavy on felt-tips and cheap plastic approximations of characters from irritating children's TV shows, but light on clothes, phone chargers, and all the other things I need to get through the next two weeks. 2. Ms Everything Is Too Much Trouble I appreciate airport security is an important task, and that peering into eight bags of other people's underwear every minute probably isn't fun. But do the Pat You Down Crew undertake training courses in being as po-faced as possible? “Don't you dare say a cheery hello while I'm checking if your small bottle of shampoo constitutes an international incident. And woe betide you if I find a mini tube of toothpaste that you HAVEN'T LAID OUT SEPARATELY! Roy, take over. I'm on break.” 3. The Fluorescent Maze of Doom In a rush to catch your flight, madam? About to hyperventilate because the board is already flashing “Final Call”? Absolutely, speed is of the essence. Please negotiate this labyrinth of perfume counters, flavoured vodka, Swiss chocolate and pricey cigars that you know, deep down, won't change your father-in-law's coldly negative opinion of you, now matter how many times you buy them for him. Yes, Theseus and the Minotaur are still here – they're selling Jo Malone over by the cigarettes. 4. 'A Big Discount on High Street Prices' “Two packets of paracetamol and a bottle of spring water? That'll be £47.52 madam. Cash or card?”. Which high street? Rodeo Drive? 5. The Non-Final Final Call Sorry sir, did you run through The Fluorescent Maze of Doom because we intimated that your flight was taking off in 10 seconds? Ah, bit of a lie. Please grab a seat over there for 40 minutes. You should probably go and wash your face. 6. 'Gourmet Airport Dining' For people who think that leaving home two hours early so they can nibble at some enormously marked-up chicken alla beige is an excellent idea. 7. Hunt the Water Fountain We're trying to save the planet. We've introduced free water dispensers to cut down on plastic bottles. Where are they? Ah, that would be telling. Take the dimly-lit back corridor past the broken service lift, and if you get to the taxi rank, ask Jeff at Go! Cars for further directions. We're all doing our bit you know. Polar-bear emoji. 8. 'Smart' Technology We've installed 37 auto-readers which can scan your passport in seconds. It will make the arrivals process completely seamless. And in honour of 47 flights landing together in the last five minutes, we've decided to open a random four of them. The back of the line is over there sir. Yes, in the next terminal. Get the shuttle-train. So yes. Airports. Awful dens of chicanery and spiralling frustration. See you soon. Please.

  • Britain's best dog-friendly breaks
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Britain's best dog-friendly breaks

    With international travel on hold, many Britons are looking closer to home for their holidays this year – and it seems we’re keen to escape with our four-legged friends. Dog-friendly holiday company PetPyjamas reported a 41 per cent month-on-month increase in forward bookings during May, as well as a 30 per cent uplift in overall traffic to the site.

  • No one is going anywhere before Government lifts travel ban, experts warn
    News
    The Telegraph

    No one is going anywhere before Government lifts travel ban, experts warn

    There is no point in arguing over the UK’s quarantine policy so long as there is no end in sight to the Foreign Office travel ban. This is the view of a growing number of travel experts as controversy rumbles on over the Government’s plan to ask all international arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8. “The Foreign Office advice is to best protect its citizens, and until that advice changes no one is going anywhere,” said Lloyd Figgins, international risk expert and chairman of the Trip Group. “This is why when airlines say they are going to be putting on flights in July, it’s not helpful as the Foreign Office advice is still against all but essential travel. The Foreign Office (FCO) first advised against all but essential travel in March as coronavirus spread throughout the world, and then amended its guidance to an “indefinite” travel ban in April. It has given no indication as to when that ban will be lifted; anyone who travelled against the advice would find their insurance invalidated, while the restrictions also mean the majority of tour operators will cancel upcoming trips. The Foreign Office now faces a mammoth task of amending a blanket ban to guidance based on individual nations. Figgins said each nation must be assessed on its infection rates, ability to contain and cope with the virus, and its healthcare infrastructure. “It would very remiss of the Government to change that advice until they have solid scientific advice that British citizens are safe to travel overseas,” he said. As the UK struggles to bring down its own R infection rate, Figgins said the first places to open up to UK travellers “will be the first countries who will be willing to accept British travellers”. John Bevan, the chief executive of dnata Travel Group, a group of UK-based travel brands, has written to the Government asking for more detail on the Foreing Office ban. “The guidance effectively delegitimises overseas travel and, more than the 14-day quarantine, undermines any real hope that demand can start to return,” he said. “Our customers tell us that while they are ready and willing to book and travel from this summer, they are nervous to do so while this FCO advice remains in place out of fear of being stranded in the event of a resurgence in the virus. Customer confidence is being undermined, irrespective of whether it is proportionate for a particular destination.” He said he no longer believed the Foreign Office was acting properly within its remit with a blanket ban on travel. “Many destinations that are very popular with British holidaymakers, including Spain, Greece, Portugal and Thailand, are reporting that they will lift restrictions and welcome inbound tourists from early July,” he said. “We are ready and able to make that possible for them with our products and services, but for as long as the current blanket FCO advice remains, our ability to do so is being made immeasurably harder.” Bevan pointed out that most travel businesses operate on a 28-day cancellation cycle, which means that operators are beginning to cancel July holidays, without knowing whether the Foreign Office is planning to change its advice. “This means holidays that could be taken will have to be cancelled, even though the destinations they are going to are opening, and the customers due to take them are ready to travel – through no fault of ourselves, the destinations or the customer,” he said. The Government is due to announce more details about its quarantine plans and has hinted that “air bridge” agreements with certain countries could be in place by the end of June, allowing for unrestricted travel. Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, home secretary Priti Patel said the Government owes it to the victims of coronavirus to introduce a quarantine.

  • Is the Algarve ready for us? Dispatch from the ground as Portugal stirs
    Lifestyle
    The Telegraph

    Is the Algarve ready for us? Dispatch from the ground as Portugal stirs

    The nearly seven week lockdown that the Portuguese government imposed on its citizens from March 19 until May 4 when the State of Emergency became downgraded to a State of Calamity seems to have gone by in a flash. It was never as draconian a lockdown as in neighbouring Spain, but the early reaction of Portugal to the threat of Covid-19 meant that it wasn’t necessary. The Algarve has to date recorded 372 infections and 15 deaths. Since June 1 we have been in the third and final phase of deconfinement, with everything opening up again. But how does it feel out on the street? And what will summer bring?