Scottish hoteliers have complained that a growing number of English guests are calling to cancel their summer bookings amidst ongoing uncertainty over quarantine rules.
Many are abandoning their holiday plans after Nicola Sturgeon refused once again to rule out the possibility that the English, Welsh and Northern Irish will have to self-isolate when visiting Scotland.
The First Minister, speaking on ITV last night, said that forcing travellers from the rest of the UK to self-isolate was “not something I want to do if we can avoid that”.
However, she added: “But I am not going to shy away from doing anything that I think is necessary and appropriate and effective in protecting people in Scotland from a virus that we know now to our painful cost can take life and also as we are increasingly learning can do a lot of long-term health damage to people.”
Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to rule out imposing quarantine restrictions on English arrivals, despite opposition from tourism businesses that are heavily reliant on visitors from south of the border.
Follow the travel latest updates below:
Estonia unveils special visa for ‘digital nomads’
Working from home? A relocation to Estonia is one possibility thanks to a new scheme that allows foreign nationals to live and legally work in the country, for their employer, freelance or for their own company.
The Digital Nomad Visa will allow international visitors to stay in the country for up to a year, in an aim to boost Estonia’s Covid-hit economy.
However, applicants must show evidence that they are earning at least €3,504 (£3,184) a month.
Emma Featherstone has the full story
Benidorm beachgoers told to book ahead
Holidaymakers in Benidorm will have to pre-book a spot on the sand to use one of the resort’s most popular beaches from tomorrow after it was almost overwhelmed by crowds last weekend.
From tomorrow, visitors to Levante beach will have to reserve a space online or at one of several reservation stands, and will need to stay within a 13x13ft space marked out by rope.
“Controlling the amount of people on the beach is a legal obligation and we want to make sure as many as possible can enjoy sunbathing and swimming as possible during any one day,” said Benidorm’s mayor, Toni Perez.
Inside Westminster Abbey after its longest closure in 67 years
“When the great west doors of Westminster Abbey banged shut in March, nobody, least of all the new Dean of the historic church, could’ve foreseen that they would remain so for almost four months – the longest period since 1953, when preparations were being made for the Queen’s coronation,” says Teresa Machan.
“Now, 100 days later, one of London’s most iconic tourist attractions is open once more. Emerging from the eerily quiet back streets of Westminster on Wednesday evening it was encouraging to see a queue extending from the pointed arches of the Abbey’s Great North Door.”
Read the full story here
Airbnb to restrict under-25s from renting in the US
Airbnb is now banning users under 25 from making certain bookings in the US, and has published a new set of rules targeted at ‘problem’ guests, reports Emma Cooke.
The main problem Airbnb is looking to solve with these changes is large, unauthorised house parties.
Measures will be put in place to stop under-25s booking large properties close to where they live – previously a bad sign that guests were hoping to throw a party without being liable for the consequences.
Young people hoping to book will also need at least three positive reviews in order to do so.
Read the full story
10 Greek island holidays with the chill-out factor
Speaking of Greece, have you given any thought to which island you will return to first? Or, indeed, which one you’d like to explore for the very first time?
Chris Leadbeater has set out some of his best recommendations, from Crete to Kythira.
You can read the full list here
Greece second lockdown rumours were “nonsense”
Our Greece correspondent, Heidi Fuller-Love, reports that rumours of a second lockdown in Greece were “nonsense”.
Greece”s health minister has now confirmed that rumours of a second lockdown for Greece were ‘nonsense ‘ @TelegraphTravel
— Heidi Fuller-love (@FullerloveHeidi) July 16, 2020
However, she is hearing locally that British arrivals will soon have to take a Covid-19 test at airports.
— Heidi Fuller-love (@FullerloveHeidi) July 16, 2020
Ukrainian President signals end of lockdown
Ukrainians are fed up with the coronavirus lockdown and the government should be cautious about extending it beyond August, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said.
“Everyone is tired of this quarantine,” the presidential press service quoted him as telling government officials.
Ukraine imposed strict restrictions in March but partially eased them in May to allow for economic recovery.
It has been extending the lockdown monthly, with current rules in place until the end of July, requiring people to wear masks and adhere to strict rules in restaurants and public places.
“We need a clear framework for how we will continue it (lockdown), so that people have the opportunity to live safely, so that business can function, so that the economy does not stand at a pause,” Zelenskiy added.
“Therefore … we will extend it for a month, but not longer,” he added.
Ukraine has recorded 56,455 coronavirus cases and 1,445 deaths – relatively low numbers compared to western European counterparts, but there have been higher levels of new infections in recent weeks.
The FCO currently warns against all but essential travel to Ukraine.
Can you visit south-east Asia yet?
As the UK emerges from lockdown, the FCO lifts its blanket travel ban and certain countries are exempt from a 14-day quarantine on return to the UK – what does this mean for travel to south-east Asia?
Today, we look at all the travel entry requirements for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the rest of south-east Asia.
Fancy some escapism this lunchtime? Join Miriam Margolyes on a journey through her extraordinary life in travel. Listen using the player below.
You can see Miriam’s ‘postcards’, here, where you can also watch an uncut version of the conversation.
Near miss for Stena ferry
The third near miss in four years between a Royal Navy submarine and a civilian vessel has sparked “significant concern” from investigators.
A report into the incident between a submerged submarine and a Stena ferry, says that without the “great presence of mind” of a crew member on the civilian craft, there was a significant chance of a collision.
The near miss, on November 6, 2018, occurred in the busy waterway between Belfast and Cairnryan.
Dominic Nicholls has the report.
Pandemic sparks quest for privacy among the super-rich
The pandemic has sparked a wave of interest in private islands, yachts and beaches, according to luxury travel specialists.
Ali Samli, founder of high-end concierge service S2 Lifestyle Management, says: “This summer we are seeing unprecedented demand for privacy and exclusivity. Understandable of course given all that’s going on – but it’s going to far greater lengths than ever before. Most of our clients already have yachts but they are upgrading them for new ones this year – and planning long, private cruises with close family and friends rather than staying in luxury city hotels or bustling beach resorts.”
High-end hotels have reported a similar surge in interest. Velaa Private Island in the Maldives has seen a marked increase in guests requesting services such as chefs preparing meals in the privacy of their own villas, as well as in-villa workouts, massages and facials. The resort’s private island is also a popular choice this summer, with guests able to book it for luxury picnics, exploring and swimming solo.
Michal Smejc, Velaa’s general manager, says: “As we see a growing interest in low-density travel to remote destinations, Velaa Private Island has seen a rise in inquiries for private experiences, whether on the island or booking out exclusive use of the resort. We want every guest to ultimately feel this is their own private paradise.”
Trudeau urged to ease Canadian travel curbs as national airline struggles
Air Canada has called for the Canadian government to relax its “disproportionate” travel restrictions, with the country’s blanket ban on non-essential travel set to be extended until the end of the month.
The Canadian flag carrier’s chief executive, Calin Rovinescu, called on the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration to “enable us to do some reasonable amounts of business” as the airline struggles with flatlining sales.
Coronavirus infection rates in Canada have dropped significantly in recent weeks, but concerns remain following isolated spikes as regional restrictions are gradually lifted.
Braving rain and jellyfish on the ‘Costa Holanda’
A group of hardy Dutch holidaymakers have abandoned plans for a Greek island escape this year. Instead they have plumped for the next best thing: a bracing break a ‘Med resort’ on the Netherlands‘ North Sea coast.
The sky is blue, beach chairs are out and the wine and beer are flowing. But despite the sound of someone playing Turkish music on their mobile phone and stuffed vine leaves on the buffet, holidaymakers at ‘Costa Holanda’ are a long way from a Greek island or the Mediterranean.
In fact, the 250 people nestled inside smart, black windbreaks at the Corendon beach club are mostly in their home country, having swapped cancelled holidays abroad for an all-inclusive break enjoying the North Sea and the changeable weather of the Netherlands.
Senay Boztas has the full story
Travellers allowed to return to Jordan next month
Jordan will allow the return of commercial flights in August, having been one of the first countries in the Middle East to close its borders at the pandemic’s outset.
A popular tourist destination, thanks in large part to the ancient rock-cut city of Petra, the country will soon permit visitors from a list of ‘safe’ countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece, Thailand and Hong Kong.
With the number of Covid-19 cases now rapidly dwindling, Jordanian tourism businesses have been lobbying the government to readmit tourists, with hopes that an unprecedented visitor boom prior to lockdown can be in some way reignited.
Strict new rules as Peruvian flights take off again
Domestic flights have resumed in Peru, but with the country still suffering the second-highest coronavirus infection rate in Latin America, few passengers are taking any chances.
As well as donning protective face coverings, all fliers must present an affidavit declaring they do not have Covid-19 and that they have had their temperature taken prior to boarding.
Is it safe to book a ski holiday for next winter?
Several popular ski destinations are now on the UK’s quarantine-exempt ‘safe list’, but just how advisable is it to book your next holiday on the slopes?
Lucy Aspden has the answers
Malta announces zero new Covid cases in the last week
Good news for anyone who’s booked a holiday in Malta after quarantine restrictions were lifted for UK visitors yesterday: the tiny archipelago nation has now gone a full week without any new coronavirus cases reported.
“We must continue to be prudent to maintain our success,” the Maltese Health Minister, Chris Fearne, stated in a tweet earlier today.
Malta is now permitting arrivals from a number of nations without requiring them to self-isolate, although temperature screening is in place at the country’s sole airport.
Republic of Ireland extends lockdown
The Irish government has delayed its plan to ease lockdown restrictions until August 10 following a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, meaning pubs, nightclubs and casinos will have to remain closed for the time being.
“This virus has not changed, indiscriminate in its cruelty and relentless,” said the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, as he announced the R (reproductive) rate had risen above 1 yesterday.
Travellers from the UK are currently permitted to enter Irish territory, but are required to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival – a stipulation that is unlikely to change has the country struggles to control the virus’s spread.
No queues, but 21,000 litres of hand sanitiser as tourists return to Disneyland Paris
As mentioned earlier, Nicola Williams turned up at the gates of Disneyland Paris yesterday to see them opened for the first time in four months.
“But much has changed at Europe’s most visited theme park, which, in normal times, is jam-packed year-round with wannabe princesses, aspiring superheroes and dedicated Disney fans riding high on white-knuckle rollercoasters and that inimitable Disney magic.
“The park reopened to the general public on July 15 after being shut down, along with the rest of France, by the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-March. And, to be brutally honest, the less frenetic, slower-paced experience is a dream come true.”
You can read her full verdict here
Encouraging signs for Italy’s tourist industry
Egypt is by no means the only country struggling with the sudden lack of tourist dollars, but if the situation in Italy is anything to go by, there is at least some cause for optimism.
“Italy’s economy faces disaster without tourism,” said Carolyn Spinks of Association of British Tour Operators to Italy. But bookings are starting to return for the autumn, even if summer turns out to be a lost cause.
“Italy was the first European country to be struck by Covid-19 and therefore bore the brunt of negative publicity. However, in the grand scheme of how the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, we do not believe Italy is being singled out by British holidaymakers as a country to be avoided,” she added.
Read the full report
Egypt desperate for tourists’ return
The Egyptian tourism industry is close to breaking point as holidaymakers continue to shun the North African holiday hotspot.
The country has suffered badly from the coronavirus pandemic, with 84,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 deaths so far, and with tourism comprising 12 per cent of the national economy, many livelihoods are also at risk.
“It was a disaster for us, like the whole world. We lost around $1bn per month and we’re estimating that we’ll still lose a lot of money during the coming weeks and months,” Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said.
But Mr Anany has urged visitors to return to the ‘safe’ coastal regions bordering the Mediterranean and Red Sea, while promising that the Nile Valley, Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan will soon be open to tourists as well.
Back on track
Up in the Scottish Highlands, the Jacobite Steam Train (which you may recognise as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films), took its first post-lockdown trip yesterday.
A number of Scottish tourist attractions have now reopened, as have the country’s pubs, restaurants, churches and hair dressers.
Back into lockdown for Barcelona?
A steep rise in coronavirus infections on the outskirts of Barcelona could lead to some lockdown restrictions being reimposed.
The entire region of Catalonia has seen 938 new coronavirus cases and three deaths since measures were eased in early June, with the majority of cases in the city and its suburbs.
Now the city’s mayor, Ada Colau, has announced that Barcelona could be placed back under partial lockdown.
“We are not talking about total confinement as in previous months, but I think some measures have to be taken more widely,” she said.
The Catalonian city of Lleida has already had severe restrictions put back in place after a surge in cases among its population of 160,000, with residents ordered to stay at home until the infection rate is back under control.
Quiet as a mouse at Disneyland Paris reopening
After more than four months of closure, Disneyland Paris reopened to the public yesterday – but it seems the public are not entirely interested in returning just yet.
Our local expert, Nicolas Williams, was on the scene (more to follow later)
River cruises saved from blanket ban following pressure from industry and Telegraph Travel
River cruises are not covered by the blanket guidance advising against cruise ship travel, the Foreign Office (FCO) has confirmed, paving the way for Britons to enjoy a holiday on the water this summer.
Following pressure from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Telegraph Travel, the updated guidelines, which previously only stated that the FCO “advises against cruise ship travel at this time”, now make clear that cruise ship travel is defined as “staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.”
Cruise writer Dave Monk said:
“After last week’s devastating blanket advice against cruising, this step by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is heartening news for lovers of river cruising, which has already started coming back in France, Germany, Portugal, Austria and Italy.
“On top of that, the new advice holds out hope that round-Britain cruises – such as those planned for September by Norwegian line Hurtigruten – can also go ahead with government approval.”
Read the full story
Spotlight on Japan’s domestic tourism campaign as coronavirus cases rise
A sharp spike in coronavirus cases in Tokyo has prompted criticism of a recent multi-billion dollar domestic tourism campaign.
Having closed borders in the pandemic’s early stages, the Japanese government launched the ‘Go To’ campaign in a bid to stimulate the country’s ailing tourism industry by encouraging citizens to take staycations.
But with the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the capital city now approaching 300, experts fear the initiative could help spread the virus to other areas of the country.
Only 18 per cent of Britons will book a holiday in the next three months
Despite travel restrictions being lifted across Europe, most Britons don’t feel confident enough to travel abroad this summer.
Just 12 per cent are planning an overseas trip in the next few months, while another 17 per cent are preparing for a UK staycation, according to findings by the Toluna and Harris Interactive COVID-19 Barometer.
Almost 68 per cent of respondents said they were put off the idea of travel by worries over a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Eiffel Tower fully open again
A handful of people made the climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower after it reopened yesterday for the first time since lockdown.
Capacity is strictly limited, with just 250 visitors allowed at any one time.
Airlines ‘illegally’ withholding millions of pounds’ worth of refunds
Consumers are having to cope with severe financial and emotional stress as they battle stubborn airlines for coronavirus refunds, a study has revealed.
Holidaymakers whose travel plans were disrupted by the pandemic are still owed more than £5.6 million by airlines who are illegally refusing to hand back fares for cancelled flights, leaving many struggling to pay bills and mortgages, according to consumer group, Which?.
Some customers have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket, with some fearing they will be unable to make mortgage repayments and others left broke and homeless after plans to move abroad fell through at the last minute.
Read the full report
What happened yesterday?
Good morning. Here’s a quick recap on the main travel headlines yesterday
Magaluf party ‘strip’ to close after bad behaviour of Britons
Greece and Norway welcome first English visitors as lockdown eases
Cruise operators plot fight back against blanket ban
Quarter of Britons would avoid countries with strict face mask rules
India reimposes lockdown restrictions as infection rate surges