- Is your UK holiday now illegal?
- The 24 countries you can (feasibly) visit right now
- Holidays may not return to normal 'for three years'
- Test4Travel: 5,000 travel businesses call for airport testing
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Four more countries have been removed from Britain’s list of quarantine-free travel options: Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and the Caribbean island of Curacao.
From 4am on Saturday any arrivals from those destinations, including returning holidaymakers, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The changes were announced on Twitter by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps following the Government’s weekly review of its controversial quarantine policy.
It means Britons now have just nine holiday options that don’t include some form of test or restriction; both Greece (except for travellers from Scotland, or those visiting certain islands) and Italy survive, along with the likes of Turkey and Germany.
Each of the four countries ditched from the green list has seen a recent rise in Covid cases. Denmark, for example, currently has a seven-day case rate of 65.2 per 100,000, while Iceland’s is 80.4. Slovakia’s exclusion is more surprising, while the removal of Curacao is unlikely to affect many Britons – the only flights to the Dutch Caribbean islands are via the Netherlands, which has already been taken off the travel corridors list.
See below for the latest updates.
That's a wrap
Thanks for joining us today. A reminder of the key stories:
- Four countries have been removed from the list of travel corridors: Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and Curacao
- No new countries have been added
- Tourism bosses have said new measures announced by Rishi Sunak will not be enough to save the industry, with some saying airport testing is the only solution
- Families risk losing thousands on half-term holidays if they heed the pleas from the Welsh and Scottish governments not to travel
- Ryanair has launched the first buy-one-get-one-free sale in its history to tempt reticent fliers
We go again tomorrow. Sweet dreams.
What holiday options are left (part two)?
In addition to those listed below, if you are willing to take a test or quarantine for a short period, there are a few other options:
3. Faroe Islands
7. Antigua and Barbuda
10. St Lucia
11. St Vincent and the Grenadines
'Further evidence that airport testing is the answer'
Responding to the news that four countries have been removed from the travel corridors list, Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said:
It's sad to see the list of countries growing on the quarantine list in line with the resurgence of Covid-19 in several parts of the world. It now makes even more sense for traveller testing to be introduced as soon as possible, reducing quarantine times and enabling economies to get going again. A co-ordinated, global programme, combining testing with short quarantine periods if necessary, would help protect lives and livelihoods.
What holiday options are left?
There are 66 destinations left on the Government's travel corridors list, but many – like New Zealand – are still not welcoming UK holidaymakers or have significant restrictions. In fact, there are only nine truly open (no tests, no quarantine) overseas travel options:
Travellers must report to the authorities if they have been in a “relevant area” in the 14 days before their arrival in Gibraltar. Failure to do so constitutes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £1,000. A relevant area means a country, area or territory outside the European Union but does not include the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.
3. Greece (Partially open)
Travellers returning to Scotland from the whole of Greece must self-isolate.
For England and Northern Ireland, those returning from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos must quarantine; for Wales, the exclusions are Mykonos, Zakynthos (Zante), Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos, Crete, Santorini, Serifos and Tinos.
You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a fine on arrival, or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country.
4. Italy (including Vatican City)
You should download and complete a self-declaration from the Interior Ministry before you travel.
While Liechtenstein is on travel corridors list, it has no airport and its only land borders are with Austria and Switzerland – both of which are not. To reach it without needing to self-isolate on your return to Britain you will need to fly to a travel corridor country (such as Germany) and drive to Liechtenstein without leaving your vehicle to mix with anyone in a “red list” country.
7. San Marino
You must travel through Italy to reach San Marino. See “Italy”, above.
All arrivals into Turkey will be subject to a medical evaluation for symptoms of coronavirus, including temperature checks. Any passengers showing symptoms will be required to undergo a PCR test.
Rolls-Royce on track to test 300mph electric plane
Rolls-Royce is closing in on its attempt to build the world’s fastest electric aeroplane, completing ground testing of the powertrain for the aircraft that aims to hit 300mph.
The full-scale replica of the 500 horsepower system has been run up to full speed of 2,400 revolutions per minute driven by a battery pack with enough energy to power 250 homes.
Rolls has continued work on the programme – called project ACCEL – despite its difficult financial position.
Coronavirus has caused demand for passenger flights to collapse, hammering the company which makes half of its £15bn annual revenues from civil aviation.
Marseille and Paris furious over French government's Covid clampdown
The French cities of Marseille and Paris have reacted furiously to fresh restrictions due to rising Covid infections, with local leaders saying they had not been consulted by the government about the clampdown.
All bars and restaurants are to be shut for two weeks from Saturday in Marseille, after the Aix-Marseille area, along with the overseas French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, was placed on “maximum alert”, reached when the infection rate per 100,000 surpasses 250 for the general population and 100 for old people while at least 30 per cent of intensive care beds are taken up by Covid patients.
Along with the bar closures, all establishments receiving the public will be shut except those with strict protocols in place.
Paris, meanwhile, now joins a string of other major French cities, including Bordeaux, Lyon and Nice, which are on “reinforced alert”, meaning that all bars and restaurants must shut after 10pm from Monday and private groups must be reduced to ten people and public organised gatherings to 1,000, down from 5,000.
What other factors come into play when it comes to quarantine?
The seven-day case rate isn't the only factor, according to the Department of Health.
Risk assessments draw on, but are not limited to:
- The prevalence of coronavirus in a country/territory
- The numbers of new cases testing rates, positivity and strategy trajectory of the disease in that country
- Imported infections to the UK
- Extent and effectiveness of measures being deployed by a country
- Volume of passengers coming into the UK from that country
Which countries are likely to be removed?
A reminder: Iceland, Denmark and Ireland are most at risk, but Slovakia, Sweden and Greece are not completely safe. As a rule of thumb, Grant Shapps gets an itchy trigger finger when a country's seven-day case rate creeps above 20 per 100,000. However, there have been signs of leniency in recent weeks after Britain's own case rate rose to more than 40.
Less than one hour until Grant Shapps sends his dreaded tweet
Every Thursday at 5pm the transport secretary tells the country (via Twitter, because that is apparently the best way to announce major policy changes) which nations will be added or removed from the list of travel corridors.
Here's how he did it last week:
'Locals were scared of us' – meet the backpackers who went on gap years during the pandemic
Every day, for the past couple of decades, hundreds of gap year students and professionals on a sabbatical land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to kick off months-long journeys along the well-trodden paths of the ‘Banana Pancake Trail’, a classic, loosely defined route through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, lined with budget-friendly accommodations, postcard sights and plenty of boozy bars on palm-fringed beaches.
This year’s cohort, however, saw their once-in-a-lifetime trip take an unexpected turn when the coronavirus outbreak resulted in border closures and emergency travel warnings.
But, while many backpackers scrambled to secure a spot on repatriation flights, a more intrepid crop of travellers decided to carry on travelling.
Comment: The 10pm curfew is pointless – and London will struggle to recover
It’s been an extraordinarily tough few months in the hospitality world. During lockdown the country was in a spin, and uncertainty over the future forever loomed in a cloud, writes restaurateur Mark Hix.
We got some fantastic news and encouraging help from the government with the Eat out to Help Out scheme, which I know many businesses benefited from. Historically, before this initiative, I’ve always felt that the food and drink side of travel has never been fully supported or recognised historically from the government, especially given the amount of jobs and tourism it brings to the country.
Finally there was a boost. It was great to customers eating out comfortably again – yes, there were rigid rules but this surely gave people confidence that life could return to normality in some sense.
But now the thoughtfulness has gone, and restaurants and bars have been dished up with tricky new issues to deal with.
From today, all the customers need to have cleared their plate and downed their drinks by 10pm. This has thrown up all sorts of issues, and has seen myself and others in the industry busy on the phones calling diners – some who have booked months in advance – to tell them they will need to vacate earlier than planned otherwise they will be lucky for dessert in a takeaway container.
Quarantine replaced with Covid tests for Hawaii visitors
United Airlines is set to offer rapid-response Covid-19 tests to passengers as an alternative to quarantine.
The nasal swabs will be made available for flights from San Francisco to Hawaii, with the latter due to lift mandatory quarantine restrictions on arrivals on October 15, provided they have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.
Customers will have to pay for the tests themselves, although they will not be required to use United's service.
The airline's executives are hopeful that if the programme proves successful, regions currently closed to US travellers will be opened again if a similar testing regime is put in place.
Comment: Ignore the predictions of doom – now is not the time to stop travelling
It has been six long months since the world collectively lost its mind, says Annabel Fenwick-Elliott. We deserve a break.
After a brief post-lockdown respite over the summer, when borders reopened and mostly healthy Europeans scattered across the Continent to stretch their legs and bask in the sun, the gates are closing again.
More countries are today expected to join the Foreign Office’s ever-growing list of quarantined countries, Denmark and Iceland among them. How ironic that Sweden, the only nation to have refused a nationwide lockdown, is one of the few the UK now deems most safe to visit. Mounting evidence suggests that aiming for herd immunity over mass isolation wasn’t such a terrible idea.
For the rest of us, of course there was going to be a rise in cases once citizens were released from house arrest and started mingling both domestically and internationally again. It only goes to show how futile those months of lockdown really were.
'It is vital to get the British public travelling again'
Yet another leading travel firm has joined The Telegraph's Test4Travel campaign, calling for quarantine to be scrapped and replaced with a comprehensive airport testing programme.
Aled Evans, head of business development at adventure travel specialists Undiscovered Destinations, said:
At Undiscovered Destinations, we wholeheartedly support The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign. It is vital to get the British public travelling again. Many of the destinations that we offer are now opening up once again and the small local suppliers who rely on our clients for their livelihoods are desperate to see business return.
However, while many destinations are open for UK visitors, the issue of having to quarantine on return can be off-putting for travelers. Removing the need for quarantine by issuing airport tests would make travel to many destinations around the world which are open to UK travellers, more accessible. Testing at the airport is a quick, easy and safe way to boost our beleaguered industry and should be implemented as soon as possible.
UK and EU must join forces to open up travel, says Ryanair boss
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said that the UK must join the EU's plan to coordinate travel restrictions across Europe, or risk the loss of hundreds of thousands of travel jobs.
The outspoken CEO also highlighted the need for a 'proper' replacement for the furlough scheme, and urged the Government to scrap Air Passenger Duty for the next 12 to 24 months.
Speaking earlier today, Mr O'Leary also slammed Boris Johnson's handling of the pandemic while predicting a 'doomed' winter season.
“You know the example that we point to all the time is that the Italians and the Germans have been allowing flights, intra-EU air flights, since the first of July and have managed to keep their Covid case rates down around 20 per 100,000," he told ITV.
“In the UK [...] the government is mismanaging the situation. They’ve limited the number of flights people can take and yet you’ve seen huge outbreaks."
I took a little risk visiting busy Brighton, in return for a big gain
It was perhaps not the best thought-through of ideas to choose Monday – the day on which the “Rule of Six” came into force – to make a day trip to the ever-popular south coast resort of Brighton, writes Adrian Bridge. But the forecast was for glorious sunshine and temperatures touching 30C (86F). I craved adventure; I craved a swim in the sea. I would be careful; I would be cautious. But above all, I would once again allow myself to be curious.
Curious, for a start, about trains: how does it work for longer journeys wearing a face mask – it was a one-and-a-half-hour run from my part of London – and trying to keep a distance from fellow passengers? Er, the masks are not ideal, truth be told, but it’s doable. Social distancing was more problematic. I was not the only one who had the idea to go to Brighton on Monday…
And of course it was busy there. But, oh, the thrill of wandering through the cluster of quirky independent cafes, guitar shops and handcrafted jewellery stores in the quintessentially Brightonian North Laine district close to the station, which is just beginning to stir again.
It was busy on the sea front, too, but it’s a big beach. Those photos showing heaving crowds don’t quite tell the whole story. I wandered down to Hove to meet a friend, drink coffee and then, at last, to swim in the sea, to taste the salt and to feel the beating sun. How refreshing, how exhilarating, how intoxicating after these long months of lockdown and restriction.
Read the full article
Families risk losing thousands on half term holidays
People in Scotland and Wales who have booked holidays over October half term risk losing thousands of pounds, after the devolved governments warned against non-essential travel over the school holidays, reports Greg Dickinson.
Both Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, first ministers of Scotland and Wales, have advised people to avoid non-essential foreign trips over the October school holidays.
Despite these warnings, the Foreign Office travel advice has not changed. There are still around 60 countries and territories where people from Scotland and Wales can visit because the UK Government assesses them as “not posing an unacceptably high risk to travellers”.
This means that if a holidaymaker follows the informal “stay home” order issued this week, but their holiday company carries on with their holiday in accordance with Foreign Office advice, the individual or family will likely lose money without scope for a refund.
'Airport testing is the answer'
More calls have been made for the Government to give the green light to airport testing. The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign was launched this month and already has the backing of dozens of businesses and medical professionals.
Chris Galanty, CEO of corporate travel at Flight Centre, said:
We welcome the news from Rishi Sunak that the government is launching the Job Support Scheme, and the cancellation of the VAT increase for the hospitality and tourism industry that was planned for January. However, this is little reprieve for the travel industry – both business and leisure travel – that has been hit so hard by this pandemic.
To get both travel and the economy moving the Government needs to agree consistent standards and transparent guidelines for travellers. More specifically it should heed the call from airports and airlines to introduce testing on arrival – a model that is working successfully at many airports around the globe, such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dubai.
The ongoing impact of the pandemic is causing great anxiety for our customers, our people and our business, and is clearly having a massive impact on the UK economy. In the UK, business travel is critical to the economy, contributing around £220 billion in GDP in 2019. Business travellers get the deals done and build relationships which drive global trade. That’s going to be even more vital not only in rebuilding the British economy post-pandemic, but also post-Brexit.
'VAT cut won't save the tourism sector'
Following the announcement from the Chancellor that the reduced 5% VAT rate, applicable to the hospitality and tourism sector in the UK, will be extended until March, Sue Rathmell at accounting firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson has said it will do little to help businesses survive:
It is very doubtful how helpful the extension of the 5% rate will ultimately be for the UK’s hospitality sector. Previous measures were very effective. The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme was definitely a success in getting the public to visit restaurants and the lower VAT rate, where it was passed on, has encouraged people to take holidays in the UK.
However, given the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and new government restrictions to try and prevent a second wave, coupled with the arrival of autumn and then winter, demand in the sector will inevitably fall as fewer people take holidays.
It is not clear what the government can do to improve the situation for the tourism and hospitality sector, but the extension of the VAT cut is a very meagre sticking plaster at best.
Why autumn in Sweden offers the ultimate stress-busting escape
Sweden is one of our few options for a quarantine-free holiday, and a trip to its wild west offers the sort of escape we all need right now. Holly Tuppen writes:
We’ve been bobbing along Bohuslan, a chunk of West Sweden’s fragmented coastline, for a couple of hours. Sheltered by rocky outcrops, the water is so calm that seagrass, starfish, jellies and shells are visible shimmering far below. Curious seals occasionally pop up to survey goings-on, and seagulls soar overhead.
I had worried that West Sweden would be too perfect and pristine, but there’s a bleakness to the landscape that feels exhilaratingly wild. Rock grey and sea blues stretch as far as the eye can see, peppered only by red cabins perching precariously above the water.
Why doesn't Egypt have a travel corridor?
Plenty of countries have been removed from the UK's green list in recent weeks (namely, Slovenia, mainland Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia, Spain, France, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Andorra, Luxembourg, the Bahamas, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, Guadeloupe and Aruba), but only a handful have been added (Sweden, Cuba, Thailand and Singapore).
A large number of countries with far lower case rates than the likes of Italy and Greece have good reason to feel aggrieved – Egypt being one. The north African nation has a seven-day infection rate of just 0.8 per 100,000 and is welcoming tourists who present evidence of a negative test. So why doesn't it have a travel corridor?
Here are a few other countries on the red list with hardly any Covid:
- Serbia (7 per 100,000)
- Uruguay (2.9)
- Kenya (2)
- Madagascar (1.3)
- Rwanda (0.9)
- Sri Lanka (0.2)
Chris Johnstonreports that Ryanair has launched its first "buy one, get one free" sale in a bid to boost flagging passenger numbers.
Customers who book a flight before midnight on Thursday for travel up to December 14 on 1,600 routes will get a second ticket at no extra cost.
The move follows the airline's decision to further reduce operations due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
Its capacity in October will be 40pc of 2019 levels, compared with the 50pc it previously announced.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said demand for future bookings was terrible.
"Into November and December our forward bookings are running at around 10pc. That's about a quarter of where they would normally be at this time of the year," he told Sky News.
If you are feeling robust in the face of constantly changing restrictions and you fancy booking a holiday, how do you best avoid the risks of cancellations, local lockdowns and sudden changes to quarantine rules?
One of the best bets is to book a last-minute city break to Italy. It is one of the few countries in Europe which seems, for the time being at least, to be suppressing a second wave. Numbers are rising slowly, but it is still well below this country. (In fact, the biggest risk as I write is not that the UK government adds it to the quarantine list, but that Italy takes action itself – possibly requiring visitors from Britain to have proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test, or to take a test on arrival, as it does for visitors from France and Spain.)
And on the positive side, you will enjoy a (hopefully) unique opportunity to see what are normally some of the world’s most overcrowded destinations without the usual tourist crush. And you will be there at one of the most beautiful times of year.
But how late should you book, what is availability like and how much will you have to pay for a few days away?
Comment: There's only one thing worse than dogs – the arrogance of dog owners
Dog owners not only believe the universe revolves around their pets but, also, that we all want to share in their puppy love. Well, we don’t, says David Atkinson.
When I’m out to enjoy a cosy post-walk pub lunch, or to make the most of a weekend break at a British countryside hotel, then I don’t want their poorly trained pet making a dog’s dinner of my Sunday roast. Nor do I want my kids terrified by an out-of-control hound whose owner has no consideration for others. Has the hashtag #dogsoftwitter brainwashed us? The lack of respect for non-doggy-devotees is getting out of control.
“He’s just playing,” dog owners always say as the mud-splattered mutt tries to make off with my sausages. “He’s only being friendly,” they add as the pampered pooch starts sniffing my steak pie.
I’ve had enough of it. I’m not calling on pubs and hotels to ban dogs, and nobody disputes the vital role of assistance dogs, but I think they should put deluded dog owners back on the leash.
The safest last-minute holiday options
The following countries have a seven-day case rate below 16 per 100,000, are not on the quarantine list, and are feasible holiday options for UK travellers:
- Germany (15)
- Poland (14.7)
- Turkey (14.2)
- Liechtenstein (10.6)
- Cyprus (7.1)
- San Marino (3)
- Barbados (2.1)
- Antigua (1)
- St Lucia (0.5)
October half-term holiday tracker: The best options for a family escape in 2020
Missed out on a family holiday this year? You couldn’t make the most of the lockdown sunshine; your summer trip to the Med was cancelled; your staycation break was blown away by the August gales. Now schools are back, so you have one last chance for a rewarding trip for all – the autumn half term, writes Nick Trend.
At the best of times you have to be selective about your destination – late October is a tricky time weather-wise. And the current Covid world of quarantine and cancellations and the unpredictability of the “air corridor” arrangements is going to make things even more complicated. You are going to have to tread very carefully and be prepared for last-minute changes. But don’t give up.
We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the uncertainties and maximise your chances of getting away – whether you’re determined to find sunshine or just want a good dose of culture on a city break.
'Chancellor's one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work'
The Government's new Jobs Support Scheme will not compensate for the lack of tourists coming to the UK, the CEO of UKinbound has warned.
Joss Croft, who heads up the trade association representing inbound tourism businesses, said:
Undoubtedly, today's announcement will help many tourism businesses and safeguard jobs, which of course is incredibly welcome. H owever the desperate needs of British inbound tourism businesses, who bring international visitors to the UK and support tens of thousands of viable jobs, have once again been overlooked.
These businesses have received no visitors since March, can't pivot to capture domestic business, continue to be excluded from rate relief and grants and, with so few international visitors, won’t benefit from the extension of the VAT reduction. These businesses are sustainable and will be profitable again, once international tourists can return and are no longer impeded by measures such as quarantine.
Whilst we welcome these measures, especially the Jobs Support Scheme, the Government's one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work and is having a detrimental effect on these previously profitable companies, which generated £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019.
'Rural hotels are not the problem – the Government must amend its clumsy curfew policy'
It seems the Government has unwittingly just banged another nail into the coffin of the UK hospitality industry, writes Robin Hutson, owner of the Pig Hotels group:
From today, all pubs and restaurants across the whole of England will be ordered to close at 10pm each and every night – possibly for the next six months – as the authorities try and put a lid back on the rising Covid-19 infection rate.
At face value this might not seem like an especially drastic restriction, but for small hotels and restaurants out in the countryside, the effects could be disastrous. This is why I have written to Downing Street, on behalf of Rural Hospitality and other small business owners, asking that the new rules are rewritten to allow our businesses to survive.
Chancellor's rescue plan – a reprieve for tourism workers?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a new wage subsidy initiative to replace the furlough scheme, which is due to end on October 31.
Numerous travel businesses have warned that without either furlough or tourists, they will be forced to close by mounting wage bills, rents and interest payments.
So what's changing for tourism?
- The Government will top-up the pay for workers at who return to work at least a third of their normal hours – employers will pay for the hours actually worked
- The VAT cut for tourism businesses – reduced from 20 per cent to 5 per cent last July – will be extended from January 12 to March 31
- Government loan schemes will be extended to December 31, with the period of repayment raised from six years to 10 in order to reduce monthly repayments.
Survey shows 'pent-up demand' for cruise holidays
There is major interest in booking a cruise as soon as Government restrictions are lifted, a new consumer survey has shown.
Specialist travel agency Panache Cruises, who commissioned the research, said this showed “there continues to be a high level of pent-up demand”.
Out of 380 respondents, 31.4 per cent said they weren’t sure when they would do so, with 26.5 per cent answering “ASAP”. Just over 30 per cent said summer 2021 and winter 2021.
Only seven respondents said they would never be looking to cruise.
Norway to give enormous cash boost to domestic tourism industry
The Norwegian government is proposing to bail out its struggling tourism sector with a NOK 1.5 billion (£1.2 billion) cash injection.
With the number of visitors to the country having dwindled since the start of the pandemic in March, travel companies based in Norway will be able to apply for grants to supplement their lost revenues.
An additional NOK 250 will also be put aside for regions such as Svalbard, where the local economy is reliant on tourism.
“The tourism industry is the largest industry on Svalbard. The companies have a very demanding six months behind them and are now facing a low season. Therefore, we are now creating a temporary scheme that can contribute to the reconstruction, restructuring and innovation of tourism,” said Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø .
'Farcical rules make it easier for Britons to take group holidays in Turkey than in the UK'
Frustration is mounting at the 'farcical' Government rules that now forbid groups of Britons from holidaying together in the UK, but not from doing so abroad.
Peta Darnley, managing partner of the Netherwood Estate (an ensemble of house rentals and Michelin-star restaurant in Herefordshire), said:
The constant changes in Government strategy and lack of clarity about possible time-frames for the latest restrictions means that everyone is in a state of limbo.
As we don’t know how long the 'rule of six' will last, guests are reluctant for us to cancel their bookings, for example for autumn half-term, in case the law about group numbers is relaxed again. But that means we are not able to re-let to smaller groups and recoup some of our losses.
Moreover, the Government funds to promote rural UK tourism at a time when they are effectively closing many accommodation providers and discouraging people to travel within the UK is farcical. They now have made it easier for people to go on holiday in a large group to a foreign destination such as Turkey or Greece without quarantining when they return, than to stay in the UK.
Demand drops for late summer holidays in Greece – and so do prices
The number of Britons booking holidays in Greece has dipped by 17 per cent in the last 14 days after seven Greek islands were added to the UK's quarantine list.
But the price of a Greek package holiday has dropped even more, with some now 41 per cent cheaper than this time last year, according to price comparison site Travelsupermarket.
In contrast, demand has surged for trips to Poland (a 25 per cent increase) and Italy (18 per cent).
There has also been a 55 per cent bump in the number of searches for holidays in Thailand following its addition to the UK's travel corridor list (although the Thai border is still closed to tourists).
'We've had £14,000 of cancellations so far': holiday rental companies react to UK shutdown rules
With weeks on end of whack-a-mole quarantine measures introduced at short notice for countries with travel corridors, staycations had begun to seem like the safest option for many and self-catering bookings in Britain had boomed, writes Aisling O'Leary.
But when the 'rule of six' measures came into force on September 14, the upcoming holiday plans of any group larger than six became illegal. Cue the cancellations flooding in.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, self-catering business owners and travel professionals all over Britain have explained what six more months of the 'rule of six' could mean for them.
The situation in Italy
While the holiday favourites of France and Spain have seen a big rise in new cases, Italy had seen fewer signs of a second spike. However, in the last month its infection rate has doubled.
Nevertheless, it is still lower than much of Europe, including the UK – so it looks unlikely to be added to the quarantine list this week.
British Virgin Islands to reopen in December
The UK has had a travel corridor with the British Virgin Islands since July, although since the Caribbean territory has been closed since April, there hasn't seemed to be much point in it.
But Britons will soon be able to travel to the BVIs – an archipelago of more than 60 islands in the Lesser Antilles – when they reopen to travellers on December 1.
Premier Andrew Fahie said: “The territory has two full months to prepare and we must get it right and we must get it done by all working together, both the government and private sector.
“We must all play our part and play it well, to ensure that we adhere to all approved social distancing measures, to reduce or eliminate any possible spread of the virus.”
Details of the reopening have not yet been revealed, but the possibility that visitors from the UK will have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival has not been ruled out.
Test4Travel campaign: 'Use test and trace to get travellers back on the road'
Since it was launched at the beginning of September, The Telegraph's Test4Travel campaign – calling for airport testing to replace quarantine – has continued to garner support from the travel industry, health experts and senior MPs.
Brian Young, managing director at G Adventures and Chairman of ATAS (Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers), is the latest to add his voice to the cause.
Recent events have shown that the Covid-19 pandemic is not set to pass quickly, and is a situation we will need to navigate through, until a vaccine is found. The tightening of restrictions across the UK this week will continue to affect consumer decision making when it comes to travel, further impacting an industry that has, at times, felt unheard by the Government through the pandemic.
The air corridor and quarantine on return restrictions have made it harder for travellers to pick destinations, but the last minute changes in policy around certain destinations, which has led to travellers scrambling to get home to avoid quarantine, is what has dented customer confidence.
The travel industry needs proper test and trace on arrival, which would help reduce the quarantine period, and therefore give people reassurance to get back on the road.
As we approach the end of furlough, more needs to be done by the Chancellor to consider the ongoing impact to the travel industry and rethink how the Government can protect businesses and livelihoods. It's not just about the aviation industry, this is about the whole of the travel industry, from front line travel agents, tour operators, inbound and outbound, and the infrastructure that supports the travel industry as a whole.
Ryanair boss says winter holiday season is doomed
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has once again slammed Boris John's ongoing handling of the pandemic and its devastating effect on the travel industry, reports Annabel Fenwick-Elliott.
Demand is a mere tenth of its normal level for winter holidays in November and December, he reports, stating: "We have never seen such awkward forward bookings.”
Speaking to ITV, O'Leary said: “The British government doesn’t have any competence, never mind confidence.
“You know the example that we point to all the time is that the Italians and the Germans have been allowing flights, intra-EU air flights, since the first of July and have managed to keep their Covid case rates down around 20 per 100,000.
“In the UK [...] the government is mismanaging the situation. They’ve limited the number of flights people can take and yet you’ve seen huge outbreaks."
In a bid to boost limp sales, Europe’s biggest budget carrier has today launched a ‘buy one get one free’ offer for 24 hours on 1,600 routes for travel until December 14.
Which countries will be removed from the quarantine-free list today?
As a rule of thumb, the Government starts getting twitchy when a country's seven-day case rate exceeds 20 per 100,000, writes Oliver Smith. However, the UK's own case rate has now passed that threshold (as of September 24, it stands at 44.1), so it seems to be exercising a little more leniency.
Denmark, Iceland and Ireland are the countries on the green list with the highest case rates (56, 69.3 and 39, respectively), so appear the most likely to face the chop. However, other factors come into play such as a country's population size, the number of Britons who visit, and other measures introduced to stop the spread of the virus. Iceland, for example, tests all overseas arrivals twice, with a five-day quarantine period in between. It is also a small country visited by relatively few Britons. These factors could keep it on the list of travel corridors.
Given the complications posed by the Common Travel Area, Ireland may also be spared.
The UK Government reviews its policy every Thursday, announcing changes on Twitter at 5pm, with destinations usually removed from 4am on a Saturday morning.
Hospitality hits back at new 10pm curfew
Business leaders in the hospitality industry are speaking out against the new anti-coronavirus restrictions that take effect today, requiring restaurant and bars in England to close at 10pm or risk being fined.
Jeremy Goring, managing director at The Goring hotel in London, said:
Nobody’s yet explained how an hour more or less spent sitting in a restaurant is going to make any difference to infection rates. It sure will make a difference to hospitality workers though, because this means yet more job losses on top of the million predicted already.
It’s so horribly sad, especially in an industry know as an enabler of social mobility and provider of opportunity for all.
We in UK hospitality are massively appreciative of how the government has assisted the sector, and as instructed, everyone worked hard to space out bookings across the evenings so as to safely distance our guests. However this new directive seems to contradict that and some operators will now face stark choices: squeeze more tables in to survive, lay off more good people, or close down
No holidays in Wales (unless you really want one)
People in England can still holiday in Wales, but should also avoid all unnecessary travel, the Welsh First Minister clarified at a press conference yesterday.
Mark Drakeford confirmed the Welsh government is "not saying no holidays to people" as new safety measures come into force today, requiring pubs and restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10pm as Covid-19 infection rates continue to rise.
“If [journeys] are necessary you must make them. If they’re not necessary, please don’t travel unless you have to. That is the message here in Wales," he added.
Revealed: Which countries are 'red' under EU's proposed 'traffic light' travel rules
The EU is expected to roll out its 'traffic light system' for European travel next month: travellers in 'red' countries will be slapped with quarantine and testing restrictions, while those in 'amber' (at risk) and 'green' countries will be free to cross borders.
As things stand, this is how European countries have been categorised, according to data pooled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and travel consultancy The PC Agency.
It is understood the UK will not sign up to the new system, instead opting to assess and implement its own travel corridors and quarantine restrictions.
Were it to do so, however, Denmark, Iceland and Greece would definitely not be added to the quarantine list later today.
'Earth is 71 per cent water – we’re confident that cruise travel will persevere'
Speaking exclusively to Telegraph Travel, the president of Seabourn, Josh Leibowitz, has revealed some of the trials and tribulations of taking over a cruise line during a pandemic.
The favourite note I received when I took on the job was from a former partner of mine at [consulting firm] McKinsey, whom I hadn’t spoke to in a while, and it said ‘congratulations’ – the congratulations was followed by question mark and an exclamation point.Right now we are in an unusual mode where we have the opportunity to have everything on pause – everything is on pause – and revisit everything. What’s working, what would we change?I will tell you that the one thing [past passengers] emphasises, is that our guest experience is the number one experience in travel. That’s a strength that’s unmatched, so we’re going to stick with that strength and deliver extraordinary experiences.
Hong Kong to introduce stricter travel rules for 'high-risk' Britons
Hong Kong is set to add the UK to its list of high-risk countries, introducing stricter for Britons travelling into the region.
All travellers will have to show evidence of a negative PCR Covid-19 test before departure, and will then have to self-isolate in a hotel room for 14 days, according to the South China Morning Post.
Reports indicate that the new measures will come into force from October 1, and are a response to the UK's rising infection rate, which now stands at 44 per 100,000 people in the last seven days.
Could Greece be removed from the UK's 'green list'?
Greece recorded 453 new cases on September 21, its highest daily figure since May, and was removed from Scotland's travel "green list" recently. Furthermore, several islands, including Crete and Mykonos, have been removed from the quarantine-free lists of England and Wales.
However, deaths remain low and the mainland is unlikely to be removed from the UK-wide list any time soon.
Before we start, here's a reminder of yesterday's main travel headlines:
- A lack of testing capacity could devastate winter holiday plans
- Scots have been urged not to travel overseas next month
- Self-catering holiday firms fear financial ruin and have accused the Government of cancelling Christmas
- London business owners have warned that the curfew will be catastrophic for the city
- One of the world's biggest cruise lines has been forced to sell two of its ships