Holidaymakers should choose to visit the ‘great places’ that exist in the UK rather than head abroad, according to a government minister.
The environment secretary George Eustice dashed any slim hopes for a summer holiday abroad this morning, telling Sky News his advice to the British public ‘would be holiday at home’.
He warned against foreign travel unless absolutely necessary, adding that people need to be aware of the ‘risks’ in travelling outside the UK under the current circumstances.
He told Sky News: “I will be staying at home. I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.
“Some people may, but they have to understand that there are obviously risks in doing so because it is a dynamic situation.
“But I think most people will probably decide this year to stay at home, holiday at home.”
When asked if he was advising people to stay in the UK, Eustice added: “I think, my advice to people would be holiday at home.
“We’ve got some great places here, there aren’t many places that are on that list.
“But obviously some people will want to travel abroad. There are still a small number of countries on that green list. If they want to do that they can, but obviously they will have to understand there are risks in doing so as well.”
While official government guidance says ministers ‘continue to advise against all non-essential travel to some countries and territories’, that doesn’t include all countries and there are still some on the ‘green list’.
The government’s website says: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect international travel.
“No travel is risk-free, and many countries have closed their borders or restricted entry to UK travellers.
“Any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new Covid-19 variant.”
According to reports this morning, the easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21st could be delayed by two weeks following the latest Covid-19 data and news of the Delta variant.
England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance delivered a ‘downbeat’ briefing expressing concerns about the transmission rate of new strains of Covid-19, as well as vaccination not being able to give 100% protection, the Times reports.
According to a cabinet source that spoke to the Times, the easing of restrictions could be between ‘two weeks and a month’.
Passport warning issued as travellers told not to book holidays
Thanks to the pandemic, people are experiencing massive delays on their passport renewals
Hopeful holidaymakers have been urged to check their passports as ‘one million holidays’ hang in the balance.
During the Covid pandemic, millions of British passports expired, meaning that many families are now being made to wait much longer than the recommended 5-6 weeks to get their renewed passports back.
Because of this, the government has issued a warning to those planning on getting away this year, stressing that people should not book any holidays until they have their passports back.
The website states: “It is important to stress, you should not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same passport number as your old one.”
The Home Office has also warned Brits to leave more than the recommended ten weeks to get their passports back due to the increased demand.
The website says: “Customers can also help to ensure there are no delays with their application, such as using a high quality photo with a digital code, applying online and applying for a new passport more than ten weeks before they are due to travel.”
Recent reviews on Passport Waiting Time, a site that tracks consumers’ waiting time during applications, has demonstrated the inconsistent and lengthy wait times for a new passport.
One user’s review from last month says she had to wait for more than twelve weeks for two of her family’s passports to be renewed.
She wrote: “Applied for my two children’s renewal 17 Jan and currently still in the processing stage.
“I made four applications in Jan and have received two out of four of them. The two I received came within a few weeks, so I don’t understand why it is taking so long.”
And the issue has only been exacerbated further by a rule enforced by a number of different countries requiring travellers to have at least six months left on their passport.
Under this guidance, passports must be valid for another six months before they depart for international travel to countries such as the UAE, Saint Lucia, Singapore and Thailand.
For more passport rules and information, visit the Gov.uk website.
Airline issues warning to Brits travelling to Spain over new alcohol restrictions
Alcoholic drinks will be restricted for tourists in a number of hotels across the Balearic Islands
Those planning a boozy all-inclusive trip to Spain this summer might want to rethink their plans thanks to the country’s new alcohol regulations.
A warning has been issued to holiday-makers who have booked all-inclusive trips to certain parts of Spain enforcing a new ‘alcohol cap‘ in a crackdown on drunken behaviour.
Thomas Cook sent out an email to its customers this week to remind them that hotels in Magaluf, Majorca and some parts of Ibiza are enforcing the new rule, which will see Brits be limited to a certain number of alcoholic drinks throughout the day.
The email read: “Please be advised that a decree has been issued by the Balearic Government on a new restriction for All Inclusive meal option.
“There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner ( 3 each).”
The Balearic government has banned pub crawls, the sale of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am, and advertisements for party boats in some areas.
Balearic Islands Tourism minister Iago Negueruela has previously said on the matter: “We want British tourists – we don’t want this type of tourism.
“British tourism is essential for our islands. We share with the British government the view that some images of British tourists are embarrassing.
“We want to put a stop to bad behaviour. We will increase the police presence in these areas and the number of inspectors – we will have zero tolerance for tourism excesses.”
Plans to stamp down on public drunkenness and antisocial behaviour in the Balearic Islands have been in the works for quite some time now, with Mallorca’s former politician Jose Ramon Bauza slamming Magaluf’s party strip Punta Ballena as ‘500 metres of shame’.
Most of the new restrictions did come into place in 2020, but due to the Covid pandemic, most holiday-goers are only now discovering them.
Greece to scrap all Covid travel restrictions this week ahead of summer holidays
Good news for those wanting a summer holiday this year…
Greece will be scrapping all remaining Covid travel restrictions this week in a last-minute attempt to boost tourism.
From May 1st, all arrivals in Greece will no longer be required to provide evidence of vaccination, recovery from Covid, or a test to enter the country, regardless of their vaccination status.
Brits will no longer need to present a Covid vaccination certificate to enter bars, restaurants and other attractions either.
Face mask rules are also expected to be relaxed by June.
Last month, Greece also scrapped the requirement for Passenger Locator Forms, making it easier for Brits to travel to the country.
However, the lifting of these measures will be re-evaluated in September – after the peak tourist season – and could be reintroduced if cases spike.
Minister of Health Thanos Plevris said in a statement: “According to the epidemiological data and the suggestions of the experts, we are announcing the roadmap for the de-escalation of the measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All measures will be reviewed on September 1st, depending on the picture of the pandemic.”
Greece is one of the first countries to drop all Covid travel requirements for tourists this summer, with other popular destinations still requiring proof of vaccination status or Covid recovery.
In Spain, holidaymakers will need to show proof of either being fully vaccinated or having recently recovered from Covid.
To be considered as fully vaccinated, travellers will need to have completed a full vaccination course at least fourteen days before travel – if they completed this nine months before travelling to Spain, they will need a booster jab to qualify as fully vaccinated.
Though Spain did recently ease its restrictions on unvaccinated teenagers aged between twelve and seventeen, who now only require a negative Covid test rather than a vaccination certificate.
They have also dropped a number of other restrictions such as mask wearing outdoors.