Coronavirus ‘air bridges’ finally come into force today with dozens of destinations opened up – but a poll shows they might fall flat as under a fifth of Britons intend to go on holiday abroad this year.
Research for MailOnline found limited appetite among the public for heading for sun-drenched beaches, despite the lifting of draconian quarantine measures on many countries.
Just 17 per cent intend to have a break abroad this year, while 22 per cent say they will go on holiday in the UK. Some 54 per cent say they have given up on the idea altogether for 2020, according to the poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies.
Even among those who do expect to have a holiday, most will not be going in the summer. Just 11 per cent are looking at booking for this month, a third next month, and 28 per cent say they will wait until September.
Another 27 per cent say they won’t be taking a break until October or later this year.
Nearly half said they were planning a holiday abroad before the pandemic struck – and only a quarter were not proposing any kind of getaway.
Some 54 per cent say they have given up on holidays altogether for 2020, according to the poll for MailOnline by Redfield & Wilton Strategies
The poll found that even among those who do expect to have a holiday, most will not be going in the summer
Where can you fly to and from without having to go into quarantine?
The 73 countries
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Réunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam.
Plus the 14 British Overseas Territories.
And who isn’t on the list?
Canada, the US and most of Central or South America. Countries in Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia are also excluded.
In Europe travellers from Sweden, Portugal and Russia must also quarantine.
The UK government has confirmed quarantine-free travel to more than 70 countries and British overseas territories.
As well as short-haul European destinations, the travel corridor list also includes long-haul locations such as Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.
But the US, Canada, Portugal and Sweden are not on the list and many other countries in South America, Asia and Africa are not included in exemption because of high rates of coronavirus.
As part of the plans, the Foreign Office has relaxed its embargo on ‘all but essential’ global travel for 67 countries – although travellers will still have to quarantine when they come back from destinations which don’t have a travel corridor.
But the rules are slightly different in Scotland, where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has approved 57 countries – but Spain is not one of them.
The scheme finally began as:
- Anger grew as the Foreign Office officials told all Britons to avoid cruise ships – not just the over-70s;
- Holidaymakers are urged to wear masks at all times even on the beach and by the pool;
- Travel insurers admitted that they are unlikely to pay out if someone falls ill with Covid-19 abroad;
With the World Health Organisation warning that the coronavirus pandemic is still rising, tourists face a very different experience on most holiday spots.
On the Balearic Islands – which are braced for the arrival of thousands of English sunseekers this weekend – police have been given the power to fine holidaymakers £90 if they fail to wear coverings outside their hotel rooms.
But officials confirmed last night that holidaymakers will not have to wear the masks by pools or on beaches in Majorca and Ibiza.
Tourists will also not have to wear a face covering in restaurants and bars if they are seated to eat or drink.
Spanish authorities are concerned the mass arrival of tourists could lead to a spike in Covid cases on the Balearics, which have some of the lowest rates of infection in Spain.
In recent days, police have shut down a series of illegal parties in Majorca and Ibiza where large numbers of tourists have gathered with no masks and no social distancing.
It emerged today that Serbia is being removed from a list of where people returning to or visiting England can avoid quarantine.
The UK Government announced that the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England have ‘updated their coronavirus assessments of Serbia based on the latest data’.
Serbia was included on a list of 76 countries and territories from which people arriving into England will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days from Friday.
The list included popular destinations such as Spain, Germany, France and Italy, but Portugal was one of the notable omissions.
Holidaymakers should wear a mask EVERYWHERE as part of the ‘new normal’
Holidaymakers should wear masks while travelling, in hotels and even on beaches, a coalition of the world’s biggest travel companies will say today.
As part of a ‘new normal’ for holidays, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is urging tourists to wear masks at virtually all times, wherever they are, to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.
Tourists should even have face coverings on by the pool and on beaches where they cannot keep a two-metre gap between their fellow sunbathers, the council says.
Airports, hotels, nightclubs, museums, gyms and all other ‘indoor venues’, including public areas on cruise ships, should also have mandatory mask-wearing rules in force until a vaccine is found, it recommends.
The Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive decided to follow the same approach, but the Scottish Government produced a list of just 39 countries not including Spain or Serbia.
There have been two nights of violent clashes in Serbian capital Belgrade by thousands of people protesting against coronavirus lockdown measures.
Serbian authorities have reported 352 coronavirus deaths and 17,342 cases, but it has been claimed the data does not represent the full impact of the virus.
UK holidaymakers were looking forward to meeting new grandchildren and being reunited with loved ones as they travelled on the first day of the new quarantine rules being in place.
Passengers passing through Gatwick Airport’s north terminal admitted they would not be travelling if they were still required to self-isolate for two weeks on their return.
‘We probably would have gone later,’ said Ray Gordge, 64, from Taunton, who was on his way to Paris to see his daughter for the first time in six months, and meet his new grandson, born last week.
‘It’s exciting, I’m pleased the quarantine has been lifted to be honest,’ he said.
‘It’s nice to have a bit more normality.’
Mr Gordge said he only booked his easyJet flight in the last few days, but had no concerns about travelling.
‘I think it’s OK as long as you’re wearing a face mask. It’s very strange.’
While Labour welcomed the UK Government’s relaxation of the quarantine for some countries, it criticised ministers for failing to secure agreements with more destinations to accept UK visitors without restrictions.
Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said workers and holidaymakers were paying the price of the Government’s failure to act.
He added: ‘The fact they have been unable to negotiate air bridges is an indictment of their failure to tackle the crisis at home.
‘They were too slow to take lockdown, too slow to order PPE (personal protective equipment) and too slow to protect our country.
‘Labour has consistently called for a sectoral deal that supports the whole aviation industry including the supply chain based on our six conditions.
‘Tory ministers have failed to act and workers are paying the price and trips are being cancelled.’
As of today, Scottish holidaymakers are allowed to visit 57 countries and 14 British territories without having to enter a two-week quarantine on their return. But travellers have been warned to expect restrictions in destination countries, including temperature checks on arrival.