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Greece set to extend the ban on flights from UK

Bad news for holidaymakers…



Greece has extended its ban on flights from the UK until July 15th, according to reports. 

International visitors were expecting to be able to enter Greece from July 1st, however, sources have told Athens News Agency that this is being pushed back until July 15th for UK flights.

Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has reportedly said: “The whole opening procedure is dynamic and the data will be continuously evaluated.”

The ban on international flights includes the UK and Sweden. 

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The news comes after many airlines were set to offer flights, such as easyJet from Manchester Airport to Athens on July 1st. 

Haris Theoharis, Greek tourism minister, told ITV news last month that the UK’s record on coronavirus is not ‘good enough’ for those living in the country to make their way over to Greece.

He said: “I think that the UK has a big difference in terms of the current medical status of the country with Greece, so I don’t think it’s likely it will be there.”

The UK Foreign Office travel advice for Greece says that there are testing and quarantine requirements for new arrivals in the country, but that these depend on where you’ve flown from.

Those flying from Birmingham, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London City, Luton, Manchester Airport, Newcastle International, Stansted airports in the UK, will have to take part in mandatory testing and self-isolation.

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If the test is negative you will need to isolate for seven days, if it is positive this will be 14 days, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The Greek authorities have indicated they will be carrying out sample testing on some arrivals. However, those travelling from airports not on the list may not be required to be testing or self-isolate. 

Greek authorities have selected 29 countries that will be allowed into Greece: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.


Chester Zoo unveils plans for overnight safari lodges with giraffe feeding stations

The grounds will boast an authentic Savannah-style habitat where giraffes can roam freely



Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has today unveiled plans to open a range of overnight safari lodges overlooking spectacular animal habitats.

The conservationist zoo has resubmitted plans to build the lodges in a grasslands zone next to the A41 Moston Road on the approach to the car park, an area that is currently land owned but not actively used by the zoo.

The original plan for forty-two lodges and tents was submitted and approved in 2019, but never went ahead thanks to issues caused by the 2020 Covid pandemic.

But now, Chester Zoo has submitted a revised plan for sixty-three lodges of varying style and size to be built around the perimeter of a ‘large body of water’, alongside a restaurant, bar and wildlife pond.

Chester Zoo

According to the planning documents, an authentic Savannah-style habitat will be created within the grounds, meaning many guests will be able to see giraffes grazing right by their windows.

To maintain this habitat, trees appropriate for the African savannah landscape will be sporadically planted, while a denser and greener islands zone will be created to provide greater species diversity for wildlife.

Read More: Chester Zoo officially crowned best large visitor attraction in the country

There will also be two giraffe feeding stations extending out to the Bachelor Giraffe paddock, with one being accessible to all guests and the other a private viewing and feeding area for two of the lodges.

An ‘island’ space in the centre of the new lake would act as a focal point for events, social gatherings, functions and storytelling.

Chester Zoo

The on-site restaurant would seat up to 120 people and have breakfast, lunch and dinner services, with the first-floor views overlooking the lake and the giraffe enclosure.

Guests will be able to stay overnight in a number of four and six-person lodges, all of which will include a variety of king size beds and bunk beds.

Chester Zoo has since been given the green light for its revised proposal, and it is hoped that the lodges will be complete by mid-2023.

Make sure to head over to the Chester Zoo website for news and updates.

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UK tourists will have to pay to visit Europe next year under new visa rules

The new system will come into force next year



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UK tourists will have to pay to enter Europe next year thanks to the introduction of a new visa system.

Travellers will have to pay a fee for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), an electronic permit designed to enhance security and enforce the borders of the Schengen zone.

The ETIAS will be required for anyone over the age of eighteen and under the age of seventy travelling to a European country, whether it be by airplane, boat or car.

It will even be required for those only transiting through Europe.

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The visa applications will ask questions regarding identity, passports, education, jobs, recent travel and any criminal convictions.

This new visa system will also replace the current system of passports being stamped, with the new visa documents to be scanned electronically instead.

Read More: Airline issues warning to Brits travelling to Spain over new alcohol restrictions

ETIAS registration is set to become mandatory in 2023, though there will be a six month transition period to allow travellers to become familiar with the new entry requirements.

The application form is said to be relatively straight forward, and it estimated to take around ten minutes to complete online. It must be completed at least ninety-six hours before departure.

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An ETIAS will reportedly cost €7 (£5), with successful applicants being permitted to travel within the Schengen Zone for up to ninety days per 180-day period.

The visa will remain valid for three years and for multiple trips to Europe, with people who apply during the transition period being permitted to use the permit for the next three years, unless their passport expires.

For more information and to see if you’re eligible to apply for the new ETIAS visa, visit the official ETIAS website here.

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Passport warning issued as travellers told not to book holidays

Thanks to the pandemic, people are experiencing massive delays on their passport renewals



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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.”

Ethan Wilkinson / Unsplash

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.

Ethan Wilkinson / Unsplash

“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 website.

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