British travellers have been warned they may be unable to claim a refund for a holiday lost to a local lockdown, regional quarantine rules or the need to self-isolate on return.
Overseas trips will be possible once again from this weekend, after the Government revealed its plans for “travel corridors”, but with a number of countries retaining a variety of entry restrictions, Britons risk being a victim of disruption.
Alex Neill, CEO of arbitration firm Resolver, said he does not expect to see a fall in holiday-related complaints over the summer. “We expect to see further cancellations from providers but at least in those circumstances consumers should get their money back,” he said.
“What isn’t being made clear enough to people booking now is that they are bearing all of the risk. If local lockdowns, holiday quarantine rules or being notified of the need to self-isolate in the UK stops you from travelling then you’re very unlikely to be able to get a refund.”
In recent days, Spain has imposed two local lockdowns in response to a surge in infection rates, one in Galicia and another in Catalonia, while Leicester in the UK has also been subject to greater restrictions.
Follow the latest news below.
Private jet enquiries soared after travel ban eased
A private jet brokerage services said it saw enquiries soar 258 per cent over the weekend after the Government eased travel restrictions.
Air Charter Service said its number of new customers nearly doubled, up 93 per cent, with the top destinations being mulled over including Ibiza, Palma, Nice and Cannes.
The figures suggest that the wealthy were the most keen to escape to the Continent when the UK eased the Foreign Office travel ban, even though they would still be required to quarantine if they returned before July 10.
Justin Bowman, CEO of Air Charter Service, said:
“We have been inundated with enquiries for private jet hire over the weekend. While we could not have anticipated numbers of enquiries to rise so significantly, we had expected an increase as we know that many of our clients are eager to travel internationally again for leisure and business, and this move now makes it possible.
“Understandably, we are also seeing a rise in new customer enquiries because as well as accessibility, private jets offer an extremely high level of hygiene with minimal human contact and allow passengers to avoid busy airports and travel in a bubble of close family and friends, which is now a key consideration for post-lockdown travel.”
The curious collection of countries the Government says you can (but also can’t) visit
If you were left feeling perplexed by the Government’s ‘travel corridor’ announcement last week, you were not alone.
Emma Beaumont writes:
The Department for Transport actually published two separate lists of countries where restrictions have been lifted – and they don’t completely match-up.
The first details 59 destinations are where ‘travel corridors’ have been established, meaning that from July 10 arrivals from those places (including returning holidaymakers) are no longer required to self-isolate for 14 days. Countries on the list include France, Spain and Italy, as well as a few far-flung nations like Vietnam.
The second list sets out the 67 countries and territories where the FCO blanket advice against non-essential travel no longer applies. This also includes most of our European summer holiday favourites, but also the likes of Thailand, which is not on the first list.
See the full list here.
‘It is rather baffling’ we cannot travel to Portugal
There is growing consternation in the tourism industry as to why Portugal has been left off not just one of the Government’s travel lists, but two.
The popular holiday destination is not one of the “travel corridors”, exempting visitors from the need to quarantine, nor is it on the list exempt from the Foreign Office travel ban, apart from its islands, the Azores and Madeira.
Kerry Golds, managing director of tour operator Cox and Kings, said: “Looking at the numbers, it is rather baffling that Portugal wasn’t on the list when comparatively it has done a good job in managing the pandemic.
“We’re seeing an uplift in demand from clients looking to travel to Portugal; for its enviable beaches and eclectic architecture to quaint fishing villages and famous vineyards, Portugal is a culture-rich country brimming with old-world charm and a clear favourite.”
‘How can Debenhams reopen but not cave tours?’
The Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (WAVA) has accused the First Minister Mark Drakeford of having a “messiah complex” in his failure to address when tourist sites in Wales can reopen.
Co-chair of Wava, Ashford Price, said: “The Welsh First Minister has cleared outdoor attractions, but there’s still no relief for indoor sites. Welsh attractions are still on a cliff edge, and he is continuing to act as though he is the Messiah.”
Wava, which represents some 60 attractions in Wales, including Pembroke Castle, Penderyn Distillery and SeaQuarium in Rhyl, said some could be lost unless the Welsh administration reveals plans for their reopening.
“Why can it be okay to wander into somewhere like Debenhams to shop right now, but not okay to visit the Show Caves, or to take a distillery tour?” said Mr Price.
“Providing people follow social distancing guidelines, and staff wear necessary PPE, there are no feasible reasons why these attractions cannot re-open alongside outdoor exhibits.”
Etihad steps up summer flying schedule
Etihad Airways says the easing of travel restrictions in the UAE will help it relaunch services to 58 destinations, including the UK, from July.
The carrier is a long-haul gateway for many Britons who use its hub at Abu Dhabi for onward travel to South Africa, Asia and Australia.
Etihad will employ at Wellness Ambassador on every flight, who will help ensure customers feel safe and follow new cleanliness protocols.
The current scene in Crete
Our reporter Heidi Fuller-Love is in the usually boisterous resort of Malia and it’s still looking very quiet. The beaches are ‘near deserted’, she says, and look at the lonely streets:
Funway Holidays goes bust amid Covid-19 crisis
Another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, travel firm Funway Holidays has announced that it will cease trading on September 20.
“All bookings departing on or after 1 September are now cancelled,” a notice on its website reads. “These bookings and all refund credit notes will be refunded in full.”
The travel agency was founded in 1993 with a focus on holidays to the US for Britons; later expanding to cover the Caribbean and Mexico too. In 2003 it was voted Virgin Atlantic Tour Operator of the Year.
Nick Talbot, sales and marketing director, told TTG media : “It’s an incredibly sad day for the Funway team and our closure reflects just how severely the travel industry is being impacted by Covid-19.”
This outdoor suite is now the ultimate post-Covid luxury
Post-coronavirus, the more fresh air the better; and a fleet of new outdoor suites in extraordinary settings is offering us just that, without skimping on luxuries, writes Chris Caldicott.
Step forward Su Gologone, a rustic chic ‘Experience Hotel’ in the mountainous Supramonte region of Sardinia with two new indoor-outdoor Country Suites, just a short stroll down a lantern-lit path away from the main house. Mine, Room 103, performed with bells on.
Read his full review here.
Has a mini-break in Paris lost its allure?
Mark Stratton visited the City of Lights to find out.
In normal years I make several journeys to Paris by Eurostar. Freed from the crushing drudgery of flying there are many things I love about Eurotunnel. The febrile pre-journey ambience of St Pancras concourse, an espresso and patisserie, the easy check-in, and the meal platter on occasional forays in Eurostar Premier. A cheeky little bottle of vin rouge sir, as it’s nearly midday? Hmm, don’t mind if I do.
Yet so early into what cannot be called a post-coronavirus era as infections persist, I wonder if my fondness for this journey might be tempered by watchful suspicion of fellow passengers? Have they got it? Have they not?
Read the full story.
Listen: ‘I was almost kidnapped in Mexico’
The latest episode of Postcards, Telegraph Travel’s podcast, is ready for your aural pleasure.
Listen to former Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan discuss his travel highs and lows, including a hairy moment in Mexico.
See his choice of images here.
Cancel your trip ‘no questions asked’, says leading tour operator
Audley Travel has launched 11 new European destinations to cater for a surge in demand for trips closer to home in the wake of the pandemic.
The tailor-made travel operator is perhaps best known for its long-haul holidays, but will from this summer offer nearly a dozen new countries in Europe, including Croatia, Ireland and Switzerland.
Audley is also offering the flexibility to cancel trips with full refunds “no questions asked” up to seven days before departure.
Vicky Hawker, head of product for Audley, said:
We have always known that our UK clients want to travel in Europe with the same one-off experiences, as well as a curated selection of exceptional hotels, that they have enjoyed in our long-haul destinations.
It has always been our intention to launch these destinations here, and the unexpected events of this year have inspired us to bring these launches forward so that we can offer a wider range of Audley experiences closer to home and in a way that clients feel comfortable.
Visitors to Dubai must be tested within four days of arrival
Dubai is the latest destination to reopen to international tourists.
With a “welcome” passport sticker and coronavirus tests on arrival, Dubai reopens its doors to international visitors Tuesday in the hope of reviving its tourism industry after a nearly four-month closure.
But businesses are mainly betting on those already living in the gleaming desert city to energise its ailing economy and serve as a test run before wary foreign holidaymakers return.
“A warm welcome to your second home,” says the sticker applied to passports at Dubai airport, where employees wear hazmat suits and vending machines offer personal protective equipment.
The reopening comes even as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United Arab Emirates climbs to 52,068 included 324 deaths, with millions of foreign workers living in cramped accommodation particularly hard hit.
Incoming tourists are required to present a negative test result taken within four days of the flight. If not, they can take the test on arrival, but must self-isolate until they receive the all-clear.
In pictures: BA begins to reopen lounges
British Airways has begun a phased reopening of its lounges, beginning with its First and Arrivals offering at Heathrow Terminal 5.
The airline says it is trialling contactless lounge entry screens to minimise contact between passengers and staff.
BA said: “Upon entry, customers will be provided with a card to place on their seat when the leave, allowing cleaners to thoroughly sanitise the seating area after each use. Throughout the lounge customers will also find a number of sanitisation stations and safe distance markers. Bathrooms and shower facilities will be meticulously cleaned after each use.
“British Airways’ customers will now be able to order food and drink through a new online service which will be accessible once in the lounge. Once ordered, customers can sit back and relax, and their order will be brought directly to their seat.”
The forgotten Croatian island that offers a perfect post-lockdown escape
You know Hvar and Brac, but nobody’s heard of Solta.
Mary Novakovich writes:
It’s an unknown quantity for most British visitors, but is seen by locals as a suburb of Split. If only all suburbs had pebbly coves, olive groves, vineyards, blue-green Adriatic waters and the languid atmosphere that makes the Dalmatian coast so appealing. On Solta, the sound of the suburbs comes from cicadas clicking away in the pines.
After a 55-minute ferry ride from Split, I’m in the port of Rogac, about halfway down this 12-mile-long island. I’m heading to the westernmost edge of the island, to the fishing village of Maslinica, where I’m told there are spectacular sunsets. I’m glued to my west-facing balcony in my little apartment in Villa Berg just above the village, marvelling at the glowing sky.
Read the full article.
Manchester Airport to reopen all terminals
Manchester Airport has urged travellers to check which terminal their airline is using after it announced plans to reopen Terminal Two from July 15.
The northern hub said it is moving some carriers, including Tui.
It said: “This will mean all three of the airport’s terminals are operating, helping people travel safely while keeping their distance from others wherever possible. As passenger volumes increase as will the airport’s retail offering.”
Terminal Three re-opened on July 1 and currently serves British Airways, Air France, KLM, Ryanair, Loganair and Eastern Airways.
We will soon be able to return to France – but where is best to go?
Our return to France is nearing.
From July 10, Britons will be able to visit our Gallic neighbours by air, sea or road, without the need to quarantine once home.
But where to go? Our expert Anthony Peregrine details where is safest, where will be busy and where will be deserted.
New services allows travellers to order ‘virus-free currency’
Holidaymakers concerned about handling currency in a post-pandemic world can order sterile banknotes as part of a new service.
Currency provider Spendology has launched its Clean Currency offering after its research showed 57 per cent of travellers were concerned about the spread of the coronavirus on cash when overseas this summer.
The “virus-free currency” is available in euros and US dollars and ordered new and direct in Mint-sealed envelopes. Only staff wearing PPE handle the notes, which is made up of small denominations to avoid the need for change when abroad.
Karen Gee, from Spendology, said: “Cash generally and foreign currency in particular is considered to be especially dirty. Brits strongly prefer to use cash on holiday rather than cards, I thought virus free cash, designed for our new coronaphobic world would offer reassurance and peace of mind to enable British holidaymakers to travel and use foreign currency again.
“We’ve all been living a strange new lockdown life and become very aware of germs and cleanliness, our germ-free notes enable holidaymakers to get on and enjoy their holidays with one less thing to worry about.”
Norway kicks out German campers
Four Germans have been expelled from Norway after entering the country in a campervan and breaching travel restrictions.
Stein Kristian Hansen from the police in the northern region of Finnmark told the VG newspaper that the family in the van claimed to be unaware of Norway’s border regulations.
“There were two adults and two minors in a camper van with German plates. We got a tip off from the public and met them in downtown Alta,” he said Stein Kristian Hansen.
Norway currently only allowed tourists to enter the country if they are residents from Denmark, Iceland and Finland are allowed. This is due to be reviewed on July 10.
From July 10, Britons visiting Norway will not need to quarantine on return to the UK.
How has the coronavirus changed the Louvre?
Paris’s foremost museum opened to visitors for the first time in months yesterday. Telegraph Travel‘s Mark Stratton was one of the first in line.
Now the museum is permitting just 8,400 daily visitors. All must book tickets online and reserve a time slot. Today was full; tomorrow is already sold out.
Over 800 Perspex panels have been installed to protect administrative and security staff. A one-way system has been devised and all visitors are urged to respect social distancing and use sanitiser, available at the main entrance. Visitors must wear face masks at all times. A few that I saw removing their masks for a selfie with ‘Mona Lisa’ received a polite yet firm rebuke from watching security.
Read the full story.
Air New Zealand halts new bookings
New Zealand’s national carrier has put a temporary hold on new bookings for flights into the country while the government tries to find enough quarantined hotel rooms for people returning home.
Air New Zealand says the hold will last for three weeks and it is also trying to better align flights with the hotel locations.
New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of the coronavirus but is still getting cases at the border. For the most part, only residents and citizens are able to fly into the country and must remain in a quarantined hotel room for 14 days.
Housing Minister Megan Woods says the government is currently housing nearly 6,000 people in 28 quarantine facilities and is seeing rapid growth in the number of returning residents as the pandemic worsens globally.
Follow the latest coronavirus news here.
Ryanair to fly 500 UK routes this summer
Ryanair says it will offer 500 routes to and from the UK from today as it ramps up its flying schedule in the wake of the Government’s easing of travel restrictions.
The low-cost airline kept a number of key flights operating throughout the pandemic but returned to the skies in earnest last week. It now says it will fly more than 500 routes this summer.
Dara Brady, from the airline, said routes include Spain, Italy and Greece. He said: “Following the lifting of travel restrictions, British holidaymakers can now look forward to planning a well-deserved summer getaway on the lowest fares and with the new health measures that Ryanair has rolled out to protect the health and well-being of its people as it ramps up operations this summer.”
The airline is offering 15 per cent off 500,000 seats for travel in August and September booked before midnight on Thursday.
Last week, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary told Telegraph Travel he believed British families were travelling regardless of quarantine restrictions.
Theatres reopen in Milan
Milan was one of the first cities in Europe to go into lockdown. Now, normality is beginning to return.
Here, spectators wearing masks sit prior to a show at the La Scala. The theatre in the city centre has reopened after a four month closure.
Young people least likely to take out travel insurance
More than one in ten Britons do not purchase travel insurance when heading abroad, according to Compare the Market.
The comparison website said those between 18 and 24 are least likely to take out cover. Patrick Ikhena, head of travel at comparethemarket.com, said the news was “concerning” given the likelihood of coronavirus-related disruption this summer.
“It’s important to note many providers have stated they are unlikely to cover for Covid-19 related claims, including cancellation,” he said.
“If you are planning to go away, it is worth checking with your insurance provider to understand what your policy will cover for you. For example, whether your policy will cover you for a ‘travel corridor’ destination where a country might restrict UK arrivals.”
He said it was still possible to find “comprehensive cover” for trips this year.
“Although certain travel restrictions will be lifted from July 10, before travelling, it is always advisable to check any restrictions in place in local areas as you will have to comply with the restrictions of certain countries,” he said.”This may include self-isolating or providing your details to local authorities.”
Greece flights to resume by mid-July
Good morning, here are some the key stories from Monday, which you can read about here.
Holidays to Greece will be possible this summer, with direct flights to restart from July 15
The PM expects more countries to welcome Britons in coming weeks – currently around 25 countries have no restrictions on UK holidaymakers
However, airlines and tour operators are still cancelling hundreds of summer holidays due to reduced demand
The Louvre has reopened, and you might actually get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa if you head there this summer
Many UK hotels face closure unless rules on spas and swimming pools are relaxed
Welsh travel restrictions have finally been eased