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Travel

Japan planning to pay half of your travel expenses to encourage tourism

Some good news!

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Japan has announced it will pay half your travel expenses in efforts to encourage travellers to visit the country following the pandemic.

Although international travel remaining uncertain for now, savvy countries are offering incentives to bring visitors to their shores. 

Japan is following in Sicily’s footsteps, which offered to pay half of tourist’s flight costs, and is offering a similar scheme to entice travellers to the country. 

Reports in an article by The Mainichi, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, the Japanese government has given the green light to a 1.35 trillion yen (£10.3 billion approx.) investment for Japan’s tourism. 

Credit: Jezael Melgoza / Unsplash

If approved, the plan will cover half of a visitor’s travel expenses and should hopefully cover the 99.9% decrease in visitors from April 2019 to April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chief of Japanese Tourism Agency, Hiroshi Tabata, revealed that the scheme could start as early as July as long as coronavirus infections continue to subside. 

The plan has yet to be finalised but it should hopefully provide the nation’s tourism industry with a boost that will be vital to mitigating any economic fallout. 

Credit: Yu Kato / Unsplash

The Tokyo Olympics have also been pushed back to 2021 due to the outbreak, and the financially lucrative cherry blossom tree has also been impact by the pandemic. 

Japan is currently denying entry to people of roughly 100 nations due to the virus, meaning that any trips within the new scheme will likely be later in the year. 

Travel

Up to 24 countries could be added to the green list this week, according to travel expert

Good news for those wanting a last minute get-away this year…

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Unsplash / @chan.lee

As many as twenty-four countries could be removed from the red list and put onto the green list, a travel expert has predicted this week.

Paul Charles, a former radio and TV presenter turned travel PR specialist, shared his prediction today as to which countries will be removed from the red list and replaced onto the green list.

As it stands, the government’s traffic light system organises countries into three categories – green, amber, and red – to determine what safety measures are needed in order to travel to those places. For example, countries on the red list are deemed as too unsafe and impose full travel bans. 

@james737 / Unsplash

Those on the amber list, however, require travellers to take a Covid test before travelling, and prove that it tested negative. On their return, people also have to take Covid tests on days two and eight – and quarantine for ten days.

Countries on the green list, alternatively, are deemed as safe enough for travellers to not need to take any Covid tests or self-isolate upon both their arrival and their departure. 

And this week, a massive number of red list countries are predicted to be upgraded to the green list travel status, according to Charles. He tweeted: “There have been no new Covid Variants of Concern since 11th May.

“Our analysis shows 24 countries should come off the UK red list immediately including Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia.”

Other countries expected to make the move are Paraguay, Rwanda, Colombia, Malawi, Chile, and Indonesia. 

Charles also said that Turkey should be taken off the red list, explaining: “It has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.”

The government’s traffic light system is set be scrapped all together next month and will be replaced with a system based off vaccinations. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.

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Travel

You can stay in a tropical boutique narrowboat with its own pink gin bar in Manchester

A Manc staycation never looked so good

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Last month, we thought we’d seen it all with the arrival of Manchester’s first ever luxury barge – but had we ever envisioned a green oasis narrowboat with its own gin bar?

The short answer is no, no we did not. 

But low and behold, the tropical and gin-fuelled narrowboat none of us knew we needed exists, and it’s ready for you and your mates to hire here in Manchester’s city centre.

Airbnb

Parked up in the picturesque waterways of Castlefield and just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate, the ‘Boutique Narrowboat’ is described on its Airbnb listing as an ‘adorable pet-friendly floating hideaway.’

The boat features quirky interior – we’re talking animal print walls, unique artwork and an abundance of greenery, kind of quirky – and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for enjoying the city while remaining sequestered from the outside world.

But the best part of the boat is located inside – there, guests can find a pink honesty bar complete with a vast selection of gin, wines, beers and soft drinks. There’s even games and fancy dress to make for the most fun staycation of your lives.

Airbnb

As well as a fully functional bar and outdoor patio area, there is one bedroom with a small double bed, one bathroom with a fully functioning toilet and shower, a fireplace and a kitchen with amenities like a fridge. Breakfast items, wifi and parking also come included. 

The boat’s Airbnb page is inundated with glowing reviews, with one happy guest writing: “It’s the best place I have stayed in a long time. All the little touches make the place feel really cosy and special. The honesty bar is the best addition – sitting there with the back open was perfect!”

Another former boat dweller commented: “Absolutely gorgeous boat in a perfect location in the heart of the city. The boat was beyond our expectations and Sara the host was on hand with any queries we had throughout our stay. The outdoor section and bar area were really such lovely additions to the stay. Couldn’t rate or recommend it higher!”

Airbnb

The boat is priced at £91 per night (excluding cleaning and service fees), and sleeps strictly two guests.

As you’d expect, demand is incredibly high for a stay in Manchester’s coolest boat, so the next available dates are at the end of August and the end of the September.

To book your own staycation and for more information, visit the Airbnb listing here

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Travel

You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb

This bus will truly spice up your life…

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@spicegirls / Instagram & Airbnb

Calling all Spice Girls fans: You can now spend a night (or two) in the actual bus from the 1997 Spice World film.

The SpiceBus, which one graced Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), is now listed on Airbnb for Spice Girls fans far and wide to hire. 

The bus has since had an incredible makeover since its glory days in the ‘90s and now resides in the Isle of White, right on the doorstep of a stunning marina.

Airbnb

Though the owner of the bus did stress that, as a Spice Girls fan herself, she has kept it as authentic to the original design as possible. On the bus’ listing, she wrote: “The outside of the bus looks exactly as it did in the Spice World movie, with its iconic Union Jack-painted exterior. 

“I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!”

Guests will have full run of the double-decker bus, which can sleep up to three guests across two bedrooms and one living room. For those wanting to snack and keep their tipples cold, a mini fridge is included.

Airbnb

Towards the back of the bus, visitors will also find a spacious seating area with a table and three Union Jack cinema-style chairs for relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music (Spice Girls preferred) on the old school CD player.

Shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and there are bathroom and kitchen facilities on site.

The bus has proven to be a huge hit with guests so far, with one happy Airbnb user writing: “The best Airbnb i have ever stayed in. The attention to detail, the facilities, the location and easy check in was all amazing. If you are a spice girls fan PLEASE book this!”

Airbnb

Another wrote: “This is the perfect place to stay with your bestie if you are spice or 90s obsessed. So many lovely little nostalgic touches. Was such a joy, would absolutely recommend.”

This will definitely be a trip to remember – for more details and to make your own reservation, visit the Airbnb listing here.

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