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.
Young people in the UK offered £10 return flights to Australia
The new scheme has been compared to the famous 1945 ‘ten pound poms’ migration program
Young people in the UK now have the chance to bag themselves £10 return flights to Australia as part of the country’s new workers campaign.
In a bid to boost tourism and fill vacancies in its job market, the South Australian Tourism Commission has launched a new scheme that will allow people from the UK and Ireland between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five to apply for £10 return flights to Australia.
Not unlike the famous ‘ten pound poms’ mass migration scheme launched back in 1945, there will be just 200 of these cheap return flights available.
Starting next month, those wanting to experience life down under will be able to purchase flights out of Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh or Dublin to Adelaide with Qatar Airways.
There are jobs available in hospitality, outback stations and on farms, and successful applicants must have a working holiday visa and be able to travel to Australia before September 30th this year.
South Australian Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said: “South Australia is welcoming the return of working holiday makers – it’s a real win-win for young people eager to travel and work abroad, and for our local tourism industry.
“Our tourism operators have missed having international visitors on their tours and experiences and booking up accommodation, and they’ve also missed the backpacker workforce and the vibrancy they bring.
“These backpackers foster a love for our state and our country which often inspires them to return later in life.
“Whether it’s in our bars, restaurants, wineries and hotels, or on our outback stations and farms, there are so many ways that British and Irish citizens can work in Adelaide and in regional South Australia, helping to not only fill roles but provide an economic and cultural exchange benefit which advantages both sides of the globe.
“We look forward to welcoming back young people from the UK and Ireland, and encourage them to make the most of these £10 fares.”
Those wanting to apply will have to register their interest with Trailfinders before the tickets release date and have a valid Australian Working Holiday Visa or have a visa application currently being processed.
Successful candidates will then have to purchase an Adelaide Arrival Pack with the flight.
This will cost £171 and includes either a three or six night hostel stay, a work and travel information pack, a twelve month month membership to ‘The Backpacker List’ to assist with job searches and a three-month access to an in-country work and travel support line.
Australia only just reopened its borders back in February after two years of strict Covid restrictions.
The country imposed some of the world’s strictest travel bans after shutting itself off in March 2020 due to the pandemic.