The majority of Britons agree with the Government’s decision to reinstate quarantine restrictions on arrivals from Spain, with 84 per cent expressing support for the decision, according to a new YouGov poll.
Just 31 per cent of those surveyed believe more warning should have been given before the sudden announcement last Saturday, while 56 per cent have said they remain unsympathetic towards those who have already departed for their Spanish holidays.
The research also reveals that 82 per cent of Spaniards believe the coronavirus situation in Spain is getting worse, in stark contrast to a survey in June when 89 per cent thought the situation was getting better.
It comes as Matt Hancock is expected to announce more changes to the FCO’s “safe list” tomorrow, including the possibility that more countries will join Spain in having their quarantine-exempt status reversed as a result of infection spikes.
Telegraph Travel’s recent poll suggests that more than half our readers aren’t planning to take a holiday at all this year, even a domestic one.
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Britain’s top indoor snow centres and dry ski slopes
The UK’s snow centres and dry ski slopes have begun to reopen, providing Britons with the chance to hit the slopes on home soil this summer.
Aside from being a fun day activity for the entire family, the UK’s vast array of dry ski slopes and indoor snow centres provide the perfect opportunity for a pre-season warm up or to sample skiing or snowboarding for the first time.
Here are some of the best that have opened so far
Japan’s domestic tourism campaign blamed for record number of new Covid infections
The number of new daily cases of coronavirus in Japan has soared above 1,000 for a second day straight, a week after the government launched a campaign to promote domestic travel.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hoped the initiative would help revive the country’s battered tourism industry, but instead the government is being widely criticised for putting public health at risk.
“I’m all for supporting the tourism industry … But we should not do that when infection is resurgent. The virus spreads as people move. This is clearly a mistake,” said Dr Norio Sugaya, a member of the WHO panel.
“Doctors will soon be signalling the red light. Hospitals will soon be filled, so will ICUs (intensive care units).”
With Tokyo having seen the steepest rise in the country, with 367 new cases reported today, the capital’s governor, Yuriko Koike, has said she will consider placing the city in a state of emergency of the situation continues to escalate.
The safest destinations for a last-minute summer holiday
After UK tourists in Spain were sprung with the news that they’ll now have to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, and it’s understandable that others might be feeling a touch reticent about their upcoming holidays.
France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg are all expected to be hit with fresh quarantine restrictions in the coming days, but there are still some destinations that can still be considered a safe bet for those who don’t have two post-vacation weeks to spare.
Oliver Smith outlines the options
New Abta guide offers ‘snapshot of the current travel landscape’
Abta has published an online guide to countries exempt from the FCO’s advice against non-essential travel, detailing the Covid-related entry requirements, health checks, and quarantine rules for each destination.
It promises an ‘easy-to-digest snapshot of the current travel landscape’, and will be updated regularly as countries are added to, or removed from, the UK’s approved list.
Abta’s head of destinations, Angela Hills, said: “The varying rules, regulations and restrictions for overseas destinations can seem quite complicated, and we hope that these new tools will help our members to answer questions from customers so they can book with confidence and look forward to their holidays.”
More than half of destinations worldwide still closed to tourists
Countries are increasingly opening their borders to commercial travel, but more than half of all countries and territories still have a ban on tourists, according to a UNTWO report.
The organisation has found that 115 destinations (53 per cent) are continuing to keep borders closed as they strive to contain the spread of Covid-19.
While 87 destinations (40 per cent of the total) have now lifted some travel restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic forced large parts of the world into lockdown, only four of these are now completely open to tourists.
Canary Islands safer for Britons than most of Europe, says minister
Lanzarote’s Minister of Tourism Promotion, Ángel Vázquez, has criticised the UK’s ‘unnecessary’ decision to quarantine Britons returning from their holidays in the Canary Islands.
He points out that the Covid-19 infection rate is a great deal lower there than most of Europe, and has urged the UK government to reconsider.
Based on data published on 29 July, the Canary Islands currently have an accumulated infection rate of just 2.41 per 100,000 people (based on data over the last seven days). This is an extremely low figure; indeed, much lower than the rate in most European countries where no travel ban is in place.
Additionally, in Lanzarote we have our own detection protocol for possible cases which continue to be very few. This detection protocol aims to detect positive cases or infections both at the airport on passenger arrival as well as during their stay in their opted accommodation. This protocol has recently demonstrated its effectiveness meaning that UK visitors can have complete confidence and a guarantee that we can offer a rapid and rigorous health response.
For this reason, we are deeply saddened by the travel advice and the decision to make quarantine mandatory for those who visit the island on their return. We feel it is an unnecessary measure given the evolution and epidemiology of the crisis on the island and will have a detrimental impact on our tourism and hotel sector.
Oktoberfest returns… to Camden
While the number of foreign visitors visiting the UK remains at an all-time low, the German traditions of thigh-slapping dancing, Dirndl and Lederhosen and Bratwurst sausage are set to return to the capital this autumn as tickets for Camden’s Oktoberfest have gone on sale, reports Lucy Aspden.
The event, which takes place at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, will be introducing a number of Covid-19 safety measures including reduced capacity capped at 50 per cent, one-way systems and temperature checks on entry – if the event is forced to cancel all tickets will be automatically refunded.
Camden Oktoberfest will take place over four daytime and four evening sessions on October 3, 10, 17 and 24. Despite new Covid rules the event’s wild party antics are set to return, with live bands, German fancy dress and fully-kitted Bavarian beer hall – all inspired by the original event that takes place in Munich. It will be one of the first large-scale public events to take place since the pandemic.
Comment: Rather than play quarantine roulette, why don’t we test people at airports?
We should be staying in step with the likes of Germany by swabbing airport arrivals – there’s surely no shortage of staff to do it, argues Angela Epstein:
Passenger testing is a way to keep our travel, trade and commercial interests open for business. During this crisis, we’ve been left behind by our competitors too many times. Brexit is all about rebranding Britain as a global market player, so how can we not stay in step with the rest of Europe? Germany has already said it will introduce mandatory coronavirus testing for people returning from countries designated as high-risk.
That’s why it has to make sense. Unless, of course, I’m missing something, like just another opportunity to fight the virus.
Read her full comment here.
Fear of Going Out: Half of Britons won’t even take a domestic holiday this summer
Forget FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). We’ve all got FOGO now (Fear Of Going Out).
Our new poll found that more than half our readers plan to stay at home and do nothing this summer. But those who do have plans, despite the current risks and difficulties of travelling abroad, are fractionally more likely to leave the country for a holiday than they are to have a ‘staycation’.
We want to hear your holiday plans for this summer.
— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) July 29, 2020
Is this reluctance to pack one’s bags a symptom of “Project Fear”?
A recent study indicates that the public vastly overestimates the number of Covid-19 casualties we have suffered as a result of the pandemic. Results published by Kekst CNC Research on Tuesday gathered insights from around Europe and showed that the average Briton believes seven per cent of our population has died from coronavirus; at least 100 times more than the official 0.06 per cent.
Annabel Fenwick Elliott has the full story.
Italian Alps hotel serves meals using pulley system to maintain social distancing
A luxury hotel in the Italian Alps is encouraging guests to make the most of their remote location with a new dining experience, set amid the Alps’ highest mountain.
The Auberge de la Maison in Courmayeur Mont Blanc has launched a socially distanced culinary experience that sees guests seated at a lone outdoor table on the hotel’s grounds and under the shadow of Mont Blanc. They are served by a picnic basket, delivered by a pulley system direct from the hotel’s kitchen.
“Le Solitaire” is available at lunch, dinner, aperitifs or as a tasting menu and is the latest in a string of alfresco dining options being rolled out in the Alps as resorts and hotels adopt new Covid safety measures.
As quarantine rules are reintroduced for Spain, can I visit my second home?
What are the chances of spending the rest of the summer at your chateau in Provence (you lucky thing) or your villa in Greece?
When it comes to second homes, each country has its own, often complicated, set of rules and time frame for implementing them. Francesca Syz has the lowdown on each.
Face masks? ‘No point’, says Swedish virus expert
Sweden’s leading coronavirus expert has dismissed the effectiveness of face masks as the country’s Covid-19 rates continue to tumble.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has been a staunch defender of Sweden’s controversial decision not to go into lockdown during the pandemic, even when the Swedish mortality rate far outstripped that of neighbouring Scandinavian nations like Norway and Finland, where much stricter measures were imposed.
Now, with the number of new infections having fallen rapidly over the course of July, Mr Tegnell has backed the Swedish government’s decision not to implement rigid face masks rules that could prevent a second wave.
“With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” he said.
Many other European countries have been tightening rules surrounding masks in public areas in recent weeks: both Greece and Romania yesterday made them mandatory in shops and supermarkets, while Madeira is now enforcing their use on beaches and mountain walks.
Passengers failed by airline regulator over refund debacle, says Which?
The governing body of the UK’s airlines is failing consumers in their battle for money back for flights cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the view of consumer group Which? following the publication of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) review into the airline refunds crisis that saw billions of pounds owed to British holidaymakers.
The CAA found that “a number of airlines were not performing adequately” in their legal obligation to process refunds for cancelled flights within two weeks. It says, however, that carriers are doing better, “without requiring enforcement action”.
The CAA said it will not hesitate to take further action against any airlines where necessary.
But Rory Boland, travel editor of Which?, said the regulator has failed.
“The reality is that people are still owed millions of pounds in refunds, are facing financial and emotional turmoil, and continue to be fobbed off by a number of airlines who have been brazenly breaking the law for months,” he said. “These airlines will now feel they can continue to behave terribly having faced no penalty or sanction.”
“It is obvious that the CAA does not have the right tools to take effective action against airlines that show disregard towards passengers and the law, but more worryingly, it’s not clear the regulator has the appetite to use them.”
Is this UV cleaning system the future of virus-free flying?
Anew system that promises to reduce certain viruses and bacteria on aircraft surfaces has been put into commercial use this week, reports Emma Cooke.
Honeywell Aerospace, a manufacturer of aviation products, unveiled a new, state-of-the-art ultraviolet cleaning system (UVC) back in June. Designed for airlines, it promised to help keep cabin surfaces free from ‘certain’ viruses – though no testing has been done specifically on whether it offers protection against COVID-19.
Read the full story.
Sweden lifts restrictions in step towards opening up Nordic travel
The Swedish government has made a move towards reopening links with the rest of Europe by lifting travel warnings for four other countries.
Swedes are no longer advised against non-essential travel to Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, which Foreign Minister Ann Linde hailed as “another step towards the desirable goal of a Nordic region that’s free from obstacles for people to move.”
However, Sweden has extended its travel warnings for the rest of Europe, including the UK, until August 12.
A postcard from one of the UK’s last ‘proper’ seaside towns
Weymouth is finally back in business for the summer season, and Lottie Gross is among the many holidaymakers to have journeyed down to the Dorset resort.
With the mercury rising, Britain’s seaside towns and beach resorts are readying themselves for the onslaught of sunbathers from London and other landlocked areas this week. As the skies clear and the mini heatwave approaches, it’s likely that many coastal residents will be plotting their escape routes.
Even Weymouth – which has long been characterised as a rather shabby seaside town – has seen significant crowds on its vast stretch of sand. While it didn’t suffer nearly as badly as Bournemouth back in June – possibly thanks to its ‘rough-around-the-edges’ reputation – photographs taken today showed people gathering in their hundreds, each claiming their spot between windbreaks, pop-up tents and children building sandcastles.
Read the full story
Is it safe to travel to Cyprus?
Jet2 has suspended all holidays to Cyprus due to “prohibitive entry restrictions”, but what does the UK Foreign Office say about travel to the popular holiday destination? What Cyprus says about British holidaymakers?
Hugh Morris has the answers
Tui to close 166 travel stores in UK and Ireland
Travel company Tui has announced that it will close 166 of its high street stores after a prolonged sales slump caused by the coronavirus.
Some 900 staff will be affected by the closures, although the German-based company has said it hopes to relocate employees to other stores, phone sales or customer support, rather than make them redundant.
Farewell to the 747
Boeing has announced that it will cease making the iconic 747 jumbo jet in 2022.
The aircraft manufacturer has also announced plans to cut 10 per cent of its workforce (around 16,000 jobs) and slow down its production lines after posting a loss of $2.4 in the second quarter of 2020.
“The reality is the pandemic’s impact on the aviation sector continues to be severe,” said chief executive Dave Calhoun.
“While there have been some encouraging signs, we estimate it will take around three years to return to 2019 passenger levels.”
EU to drop Algeria and Morocco from ‘safe’ travel list
Algeria and Morocco are both set to be removed from the EU’s ‘safe’ travel list after a spike in coronavirus cases.
The North African countries are currently included on a list of 13 nations deemed to have the virus under control, and Algerian and Moroccan residents are thus permitted to travel into EU territory for non-essential purposes.
But with both now reporting a sharp rise in new infections, EU officials are reconsidering whether to continue with the travel arrangement.
Serbia and Montenegro both had EU travel permission revoked earlier this month under similar circumstances.
Brazil resumes international flights as Covid-19 deaths continue to rise
Brazil has reopened to international flights today, despite the country wrestling with the world’s second highest Covid-19 outbreak.
The country’s borders have been closed since March, but even as it reported a record day for new cases and deaths yesterday, the Brazilian government has announced that foreign visitors are to be welcomed back.
Other South American countries, including Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia, are still closed to international travel, with the continent now considered to be at the epicentre of the pandemic by WHO experts.
The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to Brazil.
British skiers eager to return to Europe’s slopes
The British public may still be nervous about the prospect of travelling abroad this summer, but over 97 per cent of UK skiers intend to return to the slopes next winter, a new survey by the Ski Club of Great Britain has found.
A quarter of those surveyed for the Club’s annual consumer report had their travel plans disrupted by coronavirus last season but research into future travel intentions found that skiers and snowboarders haven’t been put off by the pandemic and are confident they will return to the mountains in 2020/21, reports Lucy Aspden.
Tour operators and agents look set to benefit as 23 per cent of those who would usually book independently (40 per cent of the entire market) now say they would book a package for the extra security and protection. France remains the most popular destination for British snow-sport fans, followed by Austria, Italy and Switzerland – all of which are currently accessible by quarantine-free travel corridors.
“The enthusiasm for ski holidays remains undaunted,” said Roy Barker from Spike Insight, who carried out the research, which was shared today with the industry.
Holidaymakers head for the Highlands
Tourists are steadily returning to the north of Scotland after lockdown restrictions were lifted earlier this month.
The Highland village of Ullapool has seen an influx of camper vans in the last few days, sparking hopes of a summer boom that would relieve pressure on local tourism businesses hit hard by recent travel bans.
Prince Harry: Travel industry must ‘build back better’ after pandemic
Prince Harry has told the travel industry that it has a responsibility to reshape the way we travel after the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a virtual global summit on behalf of his sustainable tourism project, Travalyst, the royal said: “We need to build back – but we need to build back better. And that means there’s a responsibility, a responsibility we cannot avoid or dismiss, for us to reshape this industry in a way that benefits everyone and everything for decades to come.
“Before the pandemic unfolded we witnessed more and more young people expressing an interest in authentic travel experiences and an ability to partake in trips that are greener, that allow them to support local communities, uphold heritage and protect destinations and cultures.”
Travalyst was founded in autumn 2019 with the purpose of protecting the environment and helping poorer communities reap the benefits of tourism.
Scotland announces £14m injection for hotel sector
With an entire industry still on a knife-edge, the Scottish government has pledged a £14m recovery package to support the country’s hotels until summer 2021.
It is hoped that the cash injection will protect up to 3,000 jobs as Scottish hotels struggle for survival, with travel bans and quarantine continuing to take their toll on profits.
Some Scottish hoteliers have complained that even English guests have been cancelling bookings for 2020, citing concerns over Nicola Sturgeon’s repeated warnings that Scotland could impose quarantine restrictions on the rest of the UK.
What if the quarantine fiasco were all an episode of The Thick of It?
Government flip-flopping on travel bans and quarantines has drawn more than a few comparisons to Armando Iannucci’s political comedy over the last few weeks. The series ended years ago, but unwilling to waste such excellent source material, Chris Leadbeater has reimagined the entire farce in true Thick of It style (with much less swearing, of course).
[A heavily-carpeted room in central London]
Quarantine? Now? Seriously? I mean, I’m a big fan of us all sitting on our hands – it’s what we do best. But we’ve had our fingers wedged against our posteriors for five weeks. Johnny Europe pulled down his shutters faster than a Magaluf bar when Crewe Ladz On Tour start throwing chairs, but we’ve had every Covid case this side of Milan traipsing through Heathrow to cough all over the cab rank. The horse isn’t even in the yard any more – let alone the stable. It’s giddy-upping on the motorway, causing 47-car pile-ups.
Yeah, but the boss has had his close shave, hasn’t he? Taking it seriously now, isn’t he?
That little speech was toe-curlingly bad. What was it? “Quarantino, quarantinas, quarantinat.” I hate it when he does his classical-scholar thing. We’re not doing After Dinner Speakie-Drinkies tonight mate. Drop the ancient greek thing. No-one’s impressed.
It was latin, you laminated spatula. Latin. How do you even get out of bed?
Read the full article
Jet2 cancels flights and holidays to Cyprus
Strict entry requirements for British travellers has left Jet2 with “no choice” but to cancel all trips to Cyprus until August 17.
Britons have been banned from the Mediterranean island since it opened it borders earlier this month due to the UK’s high coronavirus infection rate, although entry restrictions are set to be lifted this Saturday.
However, in order to enter the country UK tourists will have to follow a series of strict rules, including providing proof of a negative PCR test on arrival
A Jet2 spokesperson said: “Because of prohibitive entry restrictions into Cyprus, we have no choice but to suspend flights and holidays to Larnaca and Paphos up to and including August 16.”
UK travel bosses demand end to blanket quarantine
Some of the country’s top travel chiefs have urged the Government to abandon its ‘cliff-edge’ quarantine policy.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, almost 50 signatories pleaded for blanket quarantine to be replaced with regional travel corridors following the Government’s decision to reintroduce a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for arrivals from Spain.
“We are in a situation where the government is advising against travel to areas of Spain that have lower rates of Covid than the UK,” the letter said.
The signatories, including British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz and Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, also highlighted the threat to the travel industry, calling the UK’s quarantine reversal “the latest significant blow to a sector which now risks being permanently scarred”.
Yesterday’s main headlines
Greece, Romania, Madeira impose mandatory face masks
Flights to Europe offered for as little as £1
IATA: Air travel won’t recover ‘until 2024’
Tui extends Spain cancellations
Hong Kong shuts restaurants over new outbreak
Heathrow sinks to record loss as passenger numbers plunge
Greece to lift cruise ship ban from August 1