Travel news latest: Staycation prices soar 40 per cent

Advice

The average cost of UK holiday lets this month is 40 per cent higher than August 2019, research has revealed. 

Analysis from Which?, together with BBC Panorama, found that accommodation prices in staycation hotspots have risen significantly in the past two years, with prices in Brighton up a staggering 89 per cent. The average nightly cost of a holiday rental in the coastal resort was £131 in August 2019, which now has risen to £285

Elsewhere, St Helier in Jersey saw a hike of 76 per cent, with the nightly rates soaring from £144 to £254. Prices in Lyme Regis and Sidmouth were up 74 per cent and 63 per cent respectively. 

The watchdog also examined how prices compared with holidays abroad and found that an end of August week-long break for two to Brighton cost £1,131, while an equivalent trip to Nice came in at £1,085 (including flights).

Which? travel editor Rory Boland said: “We’re not talking about £10, we’re not talking about the cost of a meal out. We’re talking… hundreds and hundreds of pounds.

“When we looked at it, accommodation prices in 2019 were more expensive in the UK than they were abroad. So this isn’t a pandemic problem only, the pandemic has made it worse,” he added.

Scroll down for more of the latest news.

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Airbnb prices hike ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

Anybody planning a last-minute UK break over the Bank Holiday weekend should brace themselves for higher-than-usual prices.

Following news that the average cost of UK holiday lets this month is 40 per cent higher than August 2019, a study by money.co.uk has found that the average nightly price of rentals on Airbnb over the Bank Holiday weekend has increased by up to 22 per cent.

Price were compared to corresponding dates in earlier weeks – cities with major events taking place over the long weekend saw the biggest increase. Liverpool, home to Creamfields festival, which begins tomorrow until Sunday, tops the chart with the average price on Airbnb reportedly £145.

Cities with the biggest price increase over the summer bank holiday

  1. Liverpool (22 per cent increase)
  2. Bristol (11 per cent)
  3. Manchester (11 per cent)
  4. Glasgow (7 per cent)
  5. Leeds (4 per cent)

Gatwick plans new runway

Gatwick Airportis set to revive plans to bring its second, emergency runway into full-time use.

The airport, owned by France’s Vinci SA, is the second-busiest in the world still using just the one runway. Its growth plans, previously blocked by the Government, could add about 18,400 jobs by 2038, Chief Executive Officer Stewart Wingate told reporters Wednesday.

“While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports,” said Mr Wingate.

The airport faces objections from environmental groups and local residents about the additional noise and pollution. A public consultation will start on 9 September. 

It will also have to consider the uncertainty surrounding the recovery in air travel from the Covid-19 pandemic, which led IAG SA’s British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to move flights to rival Heathrow.

‘It is perfectly reasonable for Cornwall to ask people to test before they arrive’

You’d have to be mad to visit Cornwall this summer, writes Hazel Plush

Its hotels are full to the brim, its beaches bursting at the seams. From its trampled natural beauty to the local housing crisis, the legacy of our ‘staycation summer’ will continue long after the season fades. A fortnight ago, even the boss of the county’s tourist board warned that “visitors are not getting a good experience… and systems can’t cope“. And yet, the droves keep coming – and the Covid cases keep rising.

In fact, Cornwall’s case rate is near-double that of the wider UK. Is it any wonder, then, that the same tourist board figurehead, Martin Bell, has suggested visitors take a Covid test before they travel?

Read more and have your say here.

cornwall

Aer Lingus delays Manchester transatlantic launch due to US travel restrictions 

Aer Lingus has announced it will delay the start of its scheduled Manchester to New York and Orlando services due to continuing restrictions on travel into the USA.

The New York JFK service will now commence on December 1 and the Orlando route will commence on December 11. Both New York and Orlando services were due to start on September 30.

Aer Lingus said it was contacting customers directly to offer either a full refund, re-accommodation on an alternative service or the option of a voucher with an additional 10 per cent, for use across the Aer Lingus network over the next five years. 

The airline’s new direct Manchester to Barbados service, with three flights a week, will commence as planned on October 20. 

US adds six countries to ‘very high-risk’ list

The US has moved the Bahamas, Haiti, Kosovo, Lebanon, Morocco and Saint Maarten to its ‘very high Covid risk list.’

Travellers are strongly advised against visiting countries on this list because of the current rates of Covid infections.

Morocco’s move to the high risk list could add to fears that it will also be relegated to the UK’s red list in the upcoming traffic light announcement.

Germany to use hospitalisation rates rather than infections to determine restrictions

Germany is reportedly to stop using infection rates as a measure of whether to impose coronavirus restrictions, and will instead use hospitalisation rates, under changes said to be backed by Angela Merkel, reports Justin Huggler.

Mrs Merkel and Jens Spahn, the German health minister, are said to believe infection rates have become less important because vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of people becoming seriously ill.

Earlier this week Mr Spahn said he wanted to overturn an emergency law under restrictions can be imposed if the weekly infection rate rose above 50 per 100,000 people.

“The 50s incidence has had its day,” he told German television. “That’s why I propose this benchmark be swiftly removed from the law.”

“The new benchmark will be hospitalisation rates,” he added.

There’s so far no indication on what this will mean for travel restrictions. 

Demand for holidays in Scotland hits record high, says travel company

Research from Sykes Holiday Cottages found that a third of Britons (31%) were a planning a holiday north of the border. The holiday lettings company also reported a 54% uptick in family bookings for Scottish rentals in 2021 compared to 2019, and a 59% increase in demand for luxury properties. 

Data from Sykes’ Scotland Staycation Index has also found:

  • Bookings to holiday cottages throughout Scotland are up 22% over summer and 46% for autumn and winter
  • The Scottish Highlands is the fourth most-popular holiday destination throughout the entire UK
  • A third (31%) say Scotland is now on their bucket list for the future

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said:

“As a proud Scot myself, it’s easy to see why the country is a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers.

“Scotland provides welcome respite for many looking to escape and explore the great outdoors after being cooped up over the past 18 months – and we’re seeing this reflected in a surge of bookings for the rest of this year, and even into 2022.

“The pandemic will have a lasting impact on us all, and this is especially true for how people holiday. The shift towards holidays at home is likely to stick and we expect people to continue opting for ‘Scotcations’ in the years to come.”

St Lucia at ‘real risk’ of being relegated to red list

Data analyst and travel expert, Tim White, has taken to Twitter to share his traffic light predictions, today suggesting that St Lucia is at “real risk” of turning red. 

Approve AstraZeneca jab to rescue transatlantic travel, WTTC urges US 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged the US to approve the AztraZeneca Covid vaccine to help revive travel between the US and UK. 

Currently, the US does not recognise the jab, which has been administered to millions of Britons. This could potentially prove a huge barrier to travel once the US opens up to UK holidaymakers. 

Virginia Messina, WTTC senior vice president, said:

“It’s crucial the US authorities step forward to formally approve the AstraZeneca vaccine as a matter of urgency to enable cross-border mobility.”

“Unless they give it the green light then the US will effectively remain closed to the vast majority of UK visitors and the many millions around the world who are double-jabbed with the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Grey skies and a bit of drizzle – the perfect weather for a British day out

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They might cause hearts to sink among parents desperate for ways to entertain their children – but grey skies are actually the ideal weather for a British day out, the National Trust has said.

The charity said a day with 21C temperatures and some drizzle attracts the maximum number of visitors to its properties as it warned that climate change may shift the peak tourist season from high summer to the autumn.

It analysed 85 million visits to 170 of its locations over the past five years and found that a warm, slightly breezy day with a small amount of rain was the perfect environment for a day out.

For outdoor locations, the ideal temperature is 24C and numbers drop off significantly at 28C. At indoor locations such as stately homes, the ideal temperature is 20C. Above this level, visitor interest starts to decline.

Read the full story here. 

How does the Government decide traffic light ratings?

The traffic light update has come around again. Ahead of the announcement, here’s how the ratings are decided. 

The data analysed by the JBC includes: 

  • The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
  • The rate of infection
  • The prevalence of variants of concern
  • The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing

The Government specifies that: “Available and relevant sources of information for each country or territory are used to provide an overall assessment on genomic surveillance capability, SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk and variant of concern (VOC) transmission risk. Decisions are taken by ministers informed by evidence including JBC’s analysis as well as other relevant public health factors.”

Five unlikely UK railway stations you can reach directly from London

With overseas holidays still subject to tests and the tyranny of traffic lights, many of us have spent this summer exploring our own fair isle. However, even after trudging the length and breadth of the country, many might not know that there are a number of remote or unlikely places that can be reached directly from London stations. 

Cinephiles may recognise Corrour Station from the 1996 film, Trainspotting 

Cinephiles may recognise Corrour Station from the 1996 film, Trainspotting 

Credit:
iStockphoto

Corrour, Scottish Highlands

Journey time: 11 hours 43 minutes (approx)

Around 10 miles from the nearest road, Corrour in the western Highlands is truly remote and it seems almost unbelievable that it can be reached directly from Euston. Hop on the Caledonian Sleeper (a thrilling experience in itself) and the next morning you’ll arrive at the station, which is set in the wilds of Rannoch Moor, close to Loch Ossian and the misty mountain peak of Leum Uilleim. As well as being one of the UK’s most remote stations, it’s also the highest at 1,339ft above sea level.

Read on, here. 

The countries that could turn green, amber and red in this week’s travel list update

Turkey is hoping to turn amber 

Turkey is hoping to turn amber 

Credit:
Getty

Turkey and the Maldives could go amber, while Jamaica and Morocco are among the countries at risk of moving to red, according to the latest expert predictions. 

An update to the Government’s traffic light categories for travel is due this week, potentially today (August 25) or tomorrow (August 26). Should any changes be revealed today, they are likely to come into effect this coming Sunday (August 29)

Turkey would be among the most significant moves to the amber list, should analysis from travel consultancy The PC Agency, and other sources, prove correct.

Read the full story here.

More than 1,000 Latitude Festival attendees test positive for Covid

According to government figures, more than 1,000 Latitude Festival attendees later tested positive for coronavirus.

It was one of the Government’s Covid test events, and about 37,000 visitors were at the venue daily from 21 to 24 July.

All festival-goers needed to be fully vaccinated or test negative but the latest findings showed 432 people were probably infectious at the time.

The 2021 Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk 

The 2021 Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk 

Credit:
GUY BELL / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

The Balearic Islands extend free Covid insurance for visitors until end of 2021

The Balearic Islands’ tourist board has confirmed that its free Covid insurance (for visitors staying at any regulated accommodation) will be extended until the end of the year.

The tourist board says the extension of the policy aims to “restore traveller confidence and stimulate demand” and is especially targeting families during the October half term. 

The type of cover and circumstances covered in the case of a Covid-19 infection include: medical, surgical and hospitalisation expenses with a maximum limit of €15,000, as well as the costs of extending a stay in regulated accommodation for the policyholder and their companions.

For more information, visit safetourism.illesbalears.travel.

Holidaymakers struggling as NHS Covid pass still not recognised is some EU countries

UK holidaymakers have reported persistent problems using their NHS Covid passes in certain European countries. 

The Guardian has reported that the difficulties are due to a delay in linking the NHS Covid pass to the EU’s system of vaccination poof. The Government applied for a link-up with the EU-wide certificate at the end of July, but this is yet to be approved.

Some key destinations, such as France and Spain, have individually said they will accept the pass, but travellers to Italy have reported issues when going to bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, those trying to enter Latvia and the Czech Republic have apparently been told they need to have a paper certificate.

The red list countries that could move to amber this week

Some red listed countries could be in the running for an amber promotion this week, judging by the latest data, meaning an end to the expensive mandatory hotel quarantine that passengers returning from the 60 red-listed countries face. 

While there are no EU countries on the red list, some popular destinations do feature, including Turkey, the Seychelles, the Maldives and South Africa.

Which of them have the best shot at a promotion to the amber category? 

Find out here.

Could the Maldives turn amber?

Could the Maldives turn amber?

Credit:
Getty 

How high are Covid cases in Cornwall?

Cornwall


Credit:
Getty 

Yesterday, we reported that the Cornish tourist board has asked holidaymakers not to visit without taking a Covid test first, amid a rise of cases in the county.

Chief executive of Visit Cornwall Malcolm Bell told the PA news agency: “We are asking people not to come unless they have booked ahead and request they take a lateral flow test before, during and after (their) stay so that (people) can be safe and help us to manage the current spike.”

But how high are cases currently? Covid infections in the county have risen steeply, up 97.89 per cent in the last seven days. The case rate currently stands at 775.49 per 100,000 residents. This is more than double the UK average. 

Comment: Pre-holiday hermitting is a tedious consequence of this new era

We are now bound to an effective quarantine in the lead-up to our holidays, writes Greg Dickinson.

My girlfriend and I are off to the Greek island of Kefalonia next Saturday, the first time we’ve travelled overseas since October last year. We are double jabbed and are yet to have knowingly contracted Covid-19. Yet I am more terrified than ever of catching the virus. Not out of personal health concerns (I am 31 with no underlying health conditions, and all my loved ones have been double jabbed), but more so out of the very real risk of us missing out on the holiday.

“Aha, but Greece does not require a test before travel for the double jabbed,” I hear you call. But that doesn’t eliminate the worry of catching Covid-19 before travel. If we contract the thing and become symptomatic, which plenty of double-jabbed people seem to be, we will of course get tested. If positive, we will self isolate at home for 10 days. The holiday will be off. Other hurdles include random tests on arrival to Greece, the test to be taken within 72 hours of return home (the nightmare, very expensive, scenario), and then the PCR test on day two after arrival home (not ideal, but at least the holiday went ahead).

What this all means is a tedious quarantine of sorts, or rather a kind of pre-holiday hermitting. My girlfriend and I had arranged to see friends at a pub on Friday to celebrate our recent engagement. But now, as our getaway looms, we are thinking about cancelling or going to a park instead. We are also due to see family over the Bank Holiday weekend, but the fear is ramping up. It felt like the days of awkward air hugs, rampant hand sanitisation and social distancing stuffiness were over, but I can see us regressing in the coming days as the holiday approaches. 

Read the full story. 

Are you effectively isolating before your trip abroad? Let us know in the comments below.

Traffic light update: A reminder of how things stand

We are expecting a traffic light update today or tomorrow but in the meantime, a reminder of how things currently stand. The latest predictions include Turkey potentially moving to the amber list while some Caribbean islands are at risk of being relegated to the dreaded red list. 

Disney Cruises mandate vaccines for passengers over 12 on Bahamas sailings

Disney 

Disney Cruises has announced that all passengers over 12 on its upcoming Bahamas cruises must be fully vaccinated. 

The passengers on its cruises to the Bahamas between September 3 and November 1 must provide proof of vaccination, or else they will not be allowed to board the ship. 

The news follows the Bahamas’ announcement that it would not allow ships to dock in the country unless all passengers 12 and older provide proof of vaccination.

Disney previously announced that all of its employees across every division were required to be vaccinated. 

Sydney cases hit daily record

Sydney’s Covid cases rose to a new daily record on Wednesday, putting parts of the health system under “severe pressure”, officials said, as they urged an increase in vaccinations to help curb the rate of hospitalisations.

Despite two months of lockdowns, New South Wales state reported 919 new cases amid a growing delta variant outbreak, taking Australia’s daily case numbers to a new pandemic high just below 1,000.

Loophole allows passengers to bypass PCR tests that check for Covid variants

Travellers can bypass PCR tests on their return to the UK through a loophole that means vital data on Covid variants could be lost, it has been claimed.

They are able to use some firms’ cheaper lateral flow tests because they have registration numbers that can pass through the Government’s border checks.

Unlike PCR tests, lateral flows cannot be used to check for the potential import of virus variants, which is the main justification for the Government’s testing regime.

The disclosure comes on top of evidence that private travel test firms are failing to hand over up to 150,000 results a week, leaving holidaymakers wasting money on PCR tests that cannot be used to track variants.

Read the full story here. 

What happened yesterday?

A quick recap of the headlines:

  • Japan to expand state of emergency to eight more prefectures
  • Switzerland hit by ‘very worrying’ fourth Covid-19 wave
  • South Africa ‘should be moved to the amber list’
  • Cumbria asks visitors to take pre-travel test as a ‘courtesy’
  • Hawaii wants to limit traveller numbers

Now, on to today’s breaking travel news.

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