Travel news latest: Demand for summer holidays in Europe ‘unabatedly high’

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The world’s largest travel operator has reported demand for holidays in Europe is back to full strength, as travel restrictions across the continent ease.

1.5 million new bookings for summer 2021 have been made with Tui since May, according to the group’s Q3 financial report, which states “demand for holiday travel remains unabatedly high.”

“Customer demand and booking momentum remain high as soon as state travel restrictions are withdrawn,” said Fritz Joussen, Tui CEO. 

“With one and a half million additional bookings since May and a total of more than four million bookings for the summer business, the figures are encouraging.”

Destinations leading the charge include Spain’s Balearic Islands, in particular Majorca, and the Greek Islands, with a keen interest in Crete and Rhodes. 

The latest figures mark the first time the group has reported positive cash flow since the start of the pandemic – during the period, 283 TUI hotels were open and eight of the Group’s cruise ships were carrying guests as travel resumes in earnest.

However, it’s largely the company’s European customers driving the demand. “Especially in Germany and in the continental European markets, the current booking figures show a high pent-up demand. In England, travel could only be resumed in mid-July. Demand and bookings there will therefore be reflected in the fourth quarter,” said Joussen.

The industry boss cited European nations’ vaccine drive as a “great success”. “Those who are not or hardly at risk should now have their liberties fully restored.”

Scroll down for more updates.

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New Zealand borders to remain closed for rest of the year

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that the country’s borders will remain closed until at least the end of the year.  

The prime minister revealed that New Zealand would move to a new individual risk-based model for quarantine-free travel from the start of next year, while stressing the nation’s priority was vaccinating the population by the end of 2021.

New Zealand has recorded just 26 deaths throughout the pandemic – however its vaccination drive remains low with just 36 per cent having received their first dose.  

“We’re simply not in a position to a fully reopen just yet,” Ms Ardern said.

“When we move we will be careful and deliberate, because we want to move with confidence and with as much certainty as possible.”

When the country does reopen vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries will be able to visit without quarantining, while those from higher risk countries will have to either self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days.

Legal challenge over ‘draconian’ hotel quarantine policy

quarantine hotel

A law firm representing travellers affected by the UK’s quarantine hotel policy is seeking a judicial review of the regulations.

London-based PGMBM believes requiring people who are fully vaccinated and have recently tested negative for coronavirus to spend 11 nights in a hotel is an “unlawful deprivation of liberty” and violates their human rights. Travellers arriving in the UK from a red list country must enter a quarantine hotel, even if they have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Here’s a reminder of those red-list countries, while The Telegraph’s coronavirus live blog has all the latest on the breaking story here.

Cap travel Covid test costs at £40, Government urged

Travel Covid test costs should be capped at £40, MPs have told the Government amid a growing Tory backlash against the charges.

Senior Conservative MPs are calling on Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, to take immediate action to end “rip-off” prices of PCR tests that still average £75 per person and risk turning foreign holidays into the “preserve only of the wealthy”.

It comes as the Government confirmed that, from Monday, people in England who have been double vaccinated and come into contact with someone who has Covid can avoid self-isolation and will instead be advised to take a PCR test. 

Charles Hymas has the full story here.

Yesterday’s top headlines

Before we begin, here’s a recap of what happened yesterday:

  • MP brands PCR tests an ‘unnecessary barrier’ to travel  
  • Heathrow reports highest passenger levels since start of pandemic    
  • New Zealand set to announce reopening plan
  • Holidaymakers underestimate Covid test costs by 34 per cent , suggests survey
  • Emirates ramps up UK flights after surge in demand
  • Norway to begin accepting NHS Covid vaccine passport from tomorrow
  • Nine in 10 private Covid travel test providers yet to be accredited as competent

Now, on with today’s news.

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