Travel news latest: ‘Restore liberties’ for fully vaccinated travellers, urges Tui

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The Tui Group has intensified calls for the easing of travel restrictions for the fully vaccinated.

The tour operator’s chief executive, Fritz Joussen, said: “Vaccination protects – vaccinated people are protected and are no longer a significant risk to others. Those who are not, or hardly at risk, should now have their liberties fully restored. This is especially true for children and young people, for whom vaccinations are not compulsory.”

“Whether one gets vaccinated or not is and remains a personal decision. However, a few should not be allowed to permanently set the pace and restrict the everyday life of the majority,” he added.

The call came after the company cancelled a slew of holidays to certain parts of Spain and Italy until at least October 31. However, it has added trips to the newly amber-listed UAE and continues to offer breaks to much of Spain and other green and amber countries.  

Tui’s recently released third-quarter results show a loss of  €670 million, though the operator said it was confident of a strong rest-of-year performance. 

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Norse Atlantic Airways to launch Europe-US flights next summer

New budget airline Norse Atlantic Airways plans to launch its low-cost transatlantic flights by next summer.

Norse Atlantic Airways chief executive, Bjørn Tore Larsen, said:

“We strongly believe that there is a need for a new and innovative airline serving the low-cost intercontinental market with modern, more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft as the world gradually reopens. 

“Based on the current situation, we anticipate that all our 15 Dreamliners will be flying customers between Europe and the United States next summer,” Larsen added.

The announcement follows low cost carrier Jet Blue’s first foray into the tricky transatlantic market. 

Ryanair launches 11 new winter routes

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has announced 11 new routes from the UK this winter. 

Among the new services are flights from Bournemouth to Budapest and Gatwick to Malaga. The airline is now scheduled to operate around 2,000 weekly flights to more than 400 destinations this winter. 

To mark the announcement, Ryanair is holding £19.99 seat sale for travel until the end of March 2022, which must be booked by midnight this Thursday.

Ryanair’s director of commercial, Jason McGuinness, said:

“As Europe’s largest airline, we are delighted to announce 11 new winter routes from UK cities Bournemouth, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London for those who are looking to enjoy a sunny winter getaway or take in the sights on a city break to the likes of Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin or Milan.”

When is the next traffic light update?

The next traffic light update is due on Thursday August 26, with any changes likely to come into force on the following Sunday (August 29), if the usual pattern is followed.

After the last update, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told LBC: “We’ve looked at the data and found that we can provide people with certainty for the rest of August.”

It’s unclear if  any changes will be delayed until Tuesday August 31, to allow for stress-free bank holiday breaks, or whether Mr Shapps is rounding up his dates when he says “the rest of August.”

North American tourism ‘won’t fully recover until 2025’

Data and analytics company GlobalData has predicted that North American tourist revenue will not return to pre-pandemic levels for another four years.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said: “The loss of inbound tourist spending in 2020 to North America was significant. GlobalData’s forecast suggest this is not expected to fully recover until after 2025, and this will be one of the greatest factors affecting economic recovery for the region over the next few years.”

The company highlighted that low-cost carriers and travel between the US, Canada and Mexico will be key to the region’s travel sector recovery.

Lancashire’s Moor Hall crowned best UK restaurant as top 100 named 

Moor Hall

Moor Hall

A Lancashire restaurant has been named the UK’s very best for the second time running, cementing the county’s dominance as one of the foodiest destinations in the country.

Two-Michelin-starred Moor Hall in Aughton, 10 miles north of Liverpool, has picked up the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Award two years after first winning it. The awards took a Covid-enforced hiatus in 2020.

Overseen by chef Mark Birchall, who previously ran the kitchen at the similarly garlanded L’Enclume in Cumbria, Moor Hall was described in 2019 by the Telegraph’s Mark C. O’Flaherty as “my favourite place to eat in the country right now.”

Find the full list, here. 

Latin America travel boss slams UK Government’s ‘disgustingly dismissive’ attitude

A Latin America travel specialist has criticised the Government’s decision-making surrounding travel, following the FCDO’s lifting of its warning against travel to India.

India has recently been promoted to the amber list and yesterday an advisory against ‘all but essential travel’ to the country was dropped. Meanwhile, much of Latin America remains on the red list. 

Danny Callaghan, CEO of the Latin American Travel Association (lata.travel), said:

“I cannot believe that the FCDO has downgraded its advice against travel to India, following on the heels of my astonishment about it finding its way onto the Amber list. With all due respect to the government of India, there is no conceivable way that the data coming out of there is credible – unless they have discovered a miracle cure that they are keeping to themselves.

Meanwhile we have Latin American countries that are being told, unofficially of course, that the data coming from them is not considered trustworthy, despite it being pretty consistent with rates seen worldwide. With most of Latin America on the Red list and with FCDO advice against travel to the region, I am ashamed by our government’s continued shambolic approach to travel. I’ve been meeting with the Latin American Ambassadors to the UK and find myself apologising on behalf of our government.

This farcical and, frankly, disgustingly dismissive attitude towards large swathes of the planet would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious.”

Poll: What are you planning on doing for the upcoming bank holiday weekend?

2021 ‘not the year of recovery’, says airport association 

Despite passenger levels improving this summer, airport association ACI Europe has warned that the outlook for air travel remains “uncertain.”

ACI Europe director-general Olivier Jankovec said:

“The situation is gradually improving, but 2021 is not going to be the year of recovery. “Europe’s airports have already lost over one billion passengers this year, more than last year.

“The first six months of 2021 were worse than last year as passenger volumes further decreased by more than a third – the direct result of travel restrictions reinstated at the beginning of the year which remained throughout spring.

“The outlook beyond the peak summer months remains uncertain and is dependent on further progress with vaccination. Crucially, it is dependent on more governments facilitating travel on that basis.”

Holidaymakers evacuated as fires rage near St Tropez

Firefighters are battling to contain wildfires in Var, the south of France region popular with tourists.

Blazes hit the village of Gonfaron, about  30 miles from  St Tropez, as well as La Croix Valmer and Grimaud.

French authorities said one campsite was burned to the ground overnight, while at least six were evacuated. They have urged people to stay away from the area. 

MEGA


Credit:
DFGRI

A firefighter grapples with a blaze at at Gonfaron

A firefighter grapples with a blaze at at Gonfaron

Credit:
AFP

Sydney Covid cases set to ‘rise substantially’, say authorities

Covid cases are set to “rise substantially” in Sydney in the coming weeks despite a prolonged lockdown, authorities said on Tuesday, warning soaring infections have already put hospitals under enormous strain.

Australia is struggling to suppress a third wave of infections driven by the highly infectious delta variant despite locking down more than half its population.

New South Wales state, whose capital Sydney is the epicentre of the latest outbreak, reported 452 cases in the past 24 hours – the third-biggest one-day jump – and one new death.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously hinted that Australia could reopen to certain visitors once 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Currently, only 26 per cent have had both doses. 

Booking.com eyes pivot to package holidays

Travel giant Booking.com has confirmed an interest in offering package holidays, in addition to its main focus of hotel accommodation. 

The company currently offers hotel rooms, flights and car hire, but not fully ‘connected trips’.

Speaking at a travel webinar, Booking Holdings chief executive Glenn Fogel said:

“When you’re planning a trip you need a flight, a hotel and ground transport. You don’t want to go back and forth. You want it all connected and when something goes wrong you want one place to call.”

“My family used to use a travel agent – a human, who knew all about us. When something went wrong we called her and she fixed it. She kind of knew what we could afford and what we liked, so she didn’t waste our time. I want to do that but make it digital. Digital can do it better.”

Iona, Britain’s largest ever cruise ship, makes her debut in a ‘gin-infused haze’

A new and slightly younger generation of cruisers will be happy to find the latest lifestyle trends aboard P&O Cruises’ newest ship, writes Sara Macefield.

At the heart of the ship is its daytime coffee culture, fashionable evening vibe and premium dining

At the heart of the ship is its daytime coffee culture, fashionable evening vibe and premium dining

Lilting notes of heather and apple mint danced across my tongue as I savoured a generous measure of gin from the gleaming copper stills of a rather bijou distillery. 

As the floor rocked gently beneath my feet, I feared I’d overindulged. But no. This tasting session was amid the rarefied confines of the first gin distillery at sea on Iona, P&O Cruises’ new £730 million mega-ship.

It is a unique feature on this ground-breaking leviathan, which at 5,200 passengers takes the crown as the largest ship built for the British market. And, as the first UK cruise vessel powered by liquefied natural gas, promises to be the most environmentally friendly too.

Having been several years in the making, Iona finally departed with paying passengers on its maiden voyage from Southampton last week on a seven-day cruise around the UK’s shores – some 15 months later than expected due to the pandemic (and not to the Norwegian fjords as planned).

Read the full story.

Mauritius plans full reopening for October 

mauritius


Credit:
Getty

Mauritius has announced a full reopening of its borders from October 1, when fully vaccinated holidaymakers will be welcomed without having to quarantine. 

Visitors must still present evidence of a recent negative PCR test, but will be able to move around the island freely from the moment they arrive.

Mauritius opened for international travel in the middle of July. Currently, guests must spend 14 days in a ‘resort bubble’ hotel. 

Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), said: 

“Mauritius is delighted to see the world opening up again for travel.

“We have been welcoming international visitors to our island since the middle of July and the ‘resort bubbles’ have proven a great success.

“We are looking forward to the next stage of our reopening on October 1, when vaccinated visitors will be able to explore the island without restriction from the moment of their arrival.

“The safety and security of Mauritian residents, citizens and guests remains paramount.”

Reminder: Where every country sits in the traffic light system

New Zealand’s locks down due to one Covid case

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has put the nation under a strict lockdown after one new Covid-19 case was reported in its largest city of Auckland, the country’s first case in six months.

From Wednesday, all of New Zealand will be in lockdown for three days while Auckland and Coromandel, a coastal town that the infected person had also spent time in, will be in lockdown for seven days.

Imposing its toughest level 4 lockdown rules, schools, offices and all businesses will be shut down and only essential services will be operational.

Ms Ardern told a news conference:

“The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as we can is to go hard,”

“We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly.” 

Last week, New Zealand announced plans to potentially open to certain travellers in 2022. 

Travel PCR tests have become a ‘predictable Covid rip-off’, says former chief regulator

PCR tests used for travel have become a “predictable Covid rip-off”, the former chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said.

Lord Tyrie said the competition regulator has been “too slow to react” to complaints about Covid-19 test prices from various providers in the UK.

Pre-departure PCR tests cost about £75 on average, but prices can reach up to £400.

Last week the Health Secretary asked the CMA to investigate the “excessive” pricing and “exploitative practices” among the private Covid-19 testing firms.

The CMA initially said it would take up to a month to report back its findings, but after outcry from the travel industry it said it would review the situation “immediately”.

Lord Tyrie told the BBC that the regulator “could and should have been better prepared” and should be advising the Government on how to obtain a “quick remedy”.

Covid vaccine trial volunteers offered free PCR tests when travelling abroad

Thousands of volunteers in Covid vaccine trials are being offered free PCR tests when they travel abroad after they were unable to get vaccine passports.

Charlie Ensor, 30, from London, was one of approximately 4,000 people involved in the Valneva late-stage clinical vaccine trial at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London.

His vaccination status is not confirmed on the section of the NHS Covid app required to travel abroad because the health service system did not recognise the trial jabs.

Despite receiving shots four weeks apart in May and June, Mr Ensor will have to quarantine when he returns from an amber list country and is being offered free PCR tests when he travels to Lisbon in September to make up for the additional testing he will have to undergo.

The team will reimburse for two PCR tests for trial participants travelling abroad to a cost of £100 for each test.

Read the full story. 

What happened yesterday?

A recap of the top stories:

  • New rules for ‘mix and match’ vaccine arrivals from Europe
  • Austria removes ban on Britons
  • Canada to require Covid vaccines for travellers
  • Travel discounts offered to boost vaccination uptake among young
  • Foreign Office lifts advice against India travel

Now, on with today’s travel news

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