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Travel

NHS staff offered free Ibiza holiday to say thank you for their hard work

This is amazing!

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All NHS staff are being offered a free holiday in Ibiza as a thank you for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ibiza regional government has announced it is backing a campaign called ‘Together for Health Heroes’  which offers ‘best in class’ accommodation to NHS staff. 

More than 60 private properties have already been offered on the campaign, according to local paper Diario de Ibiza.

Rooms in hotel chains Atzaro, OD Hoteles, Concept Hotel Group and Aguas de Ibiza are also on the cards for NHS staff.

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Tourism Councillor of Ibiza, Juan Miguel Costa, told the paper that the project seeks to: “compensate those who have looked after us, risking their lives in many cases, and who deserve that we all do our share to make sure they have holidays that meet high expectations”.

The holidays for European healthcare workers will take place next year in April, May and October. 

Staff from hospitals, care homes and hospices in all COVID-19 hotspots will be included in the initiative. 

A statement says: “It all started with a simple idea early in March. How can we say thank you to those fighting for the lives of our families, friends and communities?”

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It continues: “How can we say thank you to those putting their own lives at risk for us?

“Together we are driving change by celebrating and rewarding those who put our community, family and friends first during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Unprecedented times highlight exceptional people. We thank those who we have trusted with our lives, by gifting them our homes and hotels in Ibiza and across Europe.”

We all know someone who deserves this huge thank you, and they are currently looking for submissions – find out more here.

Travel

Eric Cantona launches football-themed travel company with ‘3 day pilgrimages’ to stadiums

The company aims to reconnect fans with the ‘passion and soul’ of the game

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Looking FC

Eric Cantona is giving the prawn sandwich brigade a run for its money with the launch of his very own football-themed travel company.

The Manchester United legend has gone from dropkicking fans to taking them on holiday with Looking FC, a travel company that offers ‘pilgrimages’ to the world’s biggest football clubs and stadiums.

The package holidays last for three days and four nights, and include world-famous football destinations like Manchester, Liverpool, Buenos Aires, Paris, Milan and Madrid.

@lookingfc.official / Instagram

The holidays include match tickets for massive fixtures like Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield, Real Madrid v FC Barcelona’s El Clásico at Madrid’s Bernabeu, and a PSG v Marseille Le Classique at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Also included will be ‘football chant workshops’, walking tours and tactics briefings.

The inspiration for the venture was to reconnect fans with the ‘passion’ of the game, as well as educate them on the history and the culture of clubs and stadiums.

Cantona said of Looking FC: “I would like to believe some people still believe in passion and in the soul of the game… And some people are still interested in the history and communities around these iconic clubs – the people, the cities and the stadiums.

Looking FC

“Yet today you find some people are ‘fans’ of a club who don’t even know its real history – why the club was created and by what kind of people.

“I think it’s important and that’s why we are doing these trips.

“These Looking FC trips are a way to allow people to experience the euphoria of the games but also the passion, the history and the community around the clubs.”

Looking FC is a partnership with travel start-up Dharma, and prices start from £1,242 per person. For more information, head over to the Looking FC website.

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Travel

Fifteen countries have banned all travel from the UK

Australia, New Zealand and Japan are all on the list

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Bernard Spragg & Florian Weiss / Wikimedia Commons

As Omicron Covid cases continue to rise, fifteen countries have quietly banned British tourists from crossing their borders.

While the UK has introduced its own strict travel restrictions in a bid to prevent the spread of the new variant, these countries have effectively banned all British tourists from visiting their destinations. 

Here are the countries which have banned UK travel according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:

@lucidtech / Wikimedia Commons

Australia

Despite only just reopening its borders after a two year-long closure, Australia has announced that people can only enter if they are exempt or have been granted an individual exemption.

These exemptions are Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Benin

The West African country of Benin has limited all its border crossings to ‘extreme necessity’, meaning that entry and exit must be authorised in liaison with bordering countries.

As it stands, British tourists are not permitted to cross the border.

Bhutan 

Bhutan, which borders China, India, and Tibet, has closed its borders to all foreign nationals, British citizens included.

The Royal Government of Bhutan has not yet specified when the country will re-open to foreign visitors.

Keith Roper / Flickr

China

The Chinese authorities have banned all flights from the UK, though entries from a number of other countries is still possible. 

This measure will be subject to future review but, according to the government website, no date has yet been given.

Falkland Islands

While the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory, current visitor restrictions mean all tourists – British included – are not permitted to visit, including via cruise vessels.

Friends of residents are permitted to visit if sponsored by an Island resident who is present in the Falkland Islands at the time of arrival, though these visitors will be subject to the same quarantine requirements as all other visitors.

Indonesia 

While commercial flights are continuing to operate to and from Indonesia, tourist visas for British Nationals are currently unavailable. 

Israel

Non-Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter Israel, unless they have a special entry permit from a dedicated ‘Exceptions Committee’.

Officials announced on Sunday that the UK and Denmark has been added to its ‘red list’ of countries that Israelis are forbidden to visit. 

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Japan 

On November 30th, Japanese officials announced that all foreign nationals – British tourists included – who do not have existing resident status are not permitted to enter Japan for any purpose, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The travel ban was originally put in place for one month, though this is subject to review.

Laos

The government of the Lao PDR has suspended the visa on arrival service at all international entry points.

There are also no visas being issued to people travelling from a country with existing cases of Covid, including the UK.

Malaysia 

Entry to Malaysia for British nationals is currently prohibited.

However, some exemptions do apply, including: British nationals with permanent resident status, resident pass, My Second Home Programme (MM2H) pass, expatriates of all categories, including professional visit passes as well as dependants pass, spouse to Malaysian nationals (spouse visa) and students and temporary employment passes.

Myanmar

New tourist visa applications have been suspended for those wanting to visit Myanmar, located in South East Asia.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) also advises against all but essential travel to Myanmar, based on recent political events.

Ministry of Justice of New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand, which has operated some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, has closed all its borders to international arrivals, including the UK.

Travel to New Zealand while the border is closed is still possible, but only if you are considered to have a critical purpose to travel.

Suriname

Suriname, found in South America, has closed all its borders amid Covid-19 concerns.

According to the Foreign Office, all international borders will remain closed for the foreseeable furture.

Taiwan

Taiwanese authorities have announced a temporary ban on foreign nationals entering Taiwan, though there are some exemptions.

These include: ARC/APRC/Gold Card holders, foreign spouses of Taiwan passport holders and their children under the age of twenty, international students and foreign professors and researchers.

Vietnam

Vietnam has suspended visa waivers, issuing of visas and the entry into Vietnam for all foreign nationals, Brits included, apart from a few exceptions for citizens. 

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Travel

Lindt has a ‘Willy Wonka-style’ chocolate museum and tour with world’s biggest chocolate fountain

This looks amazing!

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Lindt & Sprüngli

Lindt has opened a ‘Willy Wonka-style’ chocolate museum and you don’t need a golden ticket to get in! 

Dedicated to the history and production of one of Switzerland’s most delicious exports, which dates back to 1845, this place gives Willy Wonka a run for his money. 

The museum contains the world’s highest free-standing chocolate fountain standing a whopping 9.3 metres high, circulating 1,000 litres of liquid delicious chocolate.

Lindt & Sprüngli

The huge exhibition space spans 1,500 square metres and gives you an insight into each aspect of the chocolate world through each different and specially designed room. 

The Chocolate History room will show guests the 5,000 year-long history of chocolate, and the Swiss Pioneers room explains how Switzerland became the home of chocolate.

There’s also a real-life factory that will demonstrate exactly how modern production actually works – plus you’ll get to taste springs of white, dark and milk chocolate in the Unlimited Chocolate Tasting room.

Lindt & Sprüngli

Then there’s the wackiest room of all, the ‘Innovation Lab’, where you can get any of your wildest chocolatiest questions answered. 

The Chocolate Factory – sorry, Lindt Home of Chocolate – is open in Zurich, and is well worth a trip to Switzerland for.

Get ‘golden tickets’ and find out more info here.   

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