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Travel

Turkey is changing its visa rules for British tourists making holidays cheaper

Some good news for holidaymakers!

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If you’re planning a trip to Turkey then we’ve got some good news, as the Turkish government has announced it’s making a big change.

Holidays there will soon become a lot cheaper for British people, as they’re scrapping charges for visas.

The new rules are coming into effect from March 2020, and people from the EU Schengen area, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom will benefit.


Anyone from these countries will no longer have to pay £27 per person for an e-visa, with visas required for both adults and children.

This means that once the charges are gone, a family of four could save over £100 on their holiday to Turkey.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced: “As of 2 March 2020, Turkey has decided to exempt visa requirements for the members of the European Union Schengen area, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland as well as the United Kingdom citizens for touristic travels to Turkey for every 90 days within 180 day period.

“This step aims at increasing our tourism potential with these countries as well as further developing our trade, economic and cultural relations.”

A spokesperson for ABTA added: “It’s welcome news that UK holidaymakers travelling to Turkey after 2 March 2020 will now no longer have to obtain a visa. Getting an e-visa is a straight forward process, but it will still be one less thing to do before going away and give a boost to this already popular holiday destination for Brits.

“With the visas costing around £30 per person this bonus will add up to a free Turkish meze and baklava to finish courtesy of the government, especially with exchange rates currently being favourable.”

Travel

Holidaymaker arrested and jailed after giving hotel a bad review on Tripadvisor

He fell foul of strict local laws.

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Tripadvisor

A holidaymaker left a bad review of a hotel on Tripadvisor, leading to his arrest.

US citizen Wesley Barnes left a series of harsh reviews of the Sea View Resort in Thailand via Tripadvisor, but the hotel then pursued legal action against Mr Barnes.

It resulted in him being detained and charged under the country’s strict defamation laws.

He faced a two-year prison sentence and was released only after issuing a public apology.

TripAdvisor

Mr Barnes accused the resort of ‘modern-day slavery’. The hotel said the harsh criticism was untrue and damaging to its reputation.

The incident occurred at the resort on the island of Koh Chang earlier this year, and was triggered by an argument over Mr Barnes wanting to bring his own bottle into the hotel’s restaurant.

The hotel said he refused to pay a corkage fee and ’caused a commotion’.

After leaving, he left a negative review after which the hotel sued him for defamation. He subsequently was detained and spent two nights in prison before being released on bail.

He was found guilty of breaking the country’s notorious anti-defamation laws. The hotel said the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent and malicious’.

Tripadvisor

Now, Tripadvisor has left a warning on the hotel’s page urging travellers to be mindful of the local laws in the country, the MEN reports

The warning reads: “This hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user in relation to the traveller writing and posting online reviews. The reviewer spent time in jail as a result.

“The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, however, it is our role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”

Tripadvisor added that they believe in ‘the right of every traveller to write about their first-hand travelling experiences – good or bad’.

The travel site said: “TripAdvisor strongly opposes any action where a business, like the Sea View Hotel & Spa in Koh Chang, uses local law to send someone to jail for expressing their opinion.”

The hotel has hit back at the review site, telling the New York Times they were ‘deeply disappointed’, adding that ‘the warning message from TripAdvisor is extremely misleading and lacks complete information’.

The hotel claims they initially tried to contact Mr Barnes to remove the reviews, but he didn’t respond, and they filed the complaint as the negative comments led to them losing bookings. 

After he was arrested and spent two days in jail the case was eventually dropped, as Mr Barnes admitted the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent, and malicious’ and gave a full public apology – as per the terms of the settlement between the two parties. 

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Travel

Benidorm launches cheap seven-night package holiday scheme including food and drink for just £180

This looks great…

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Reuben Kim & Jordan Sanchez /Unsplash

You can stay for a week in Benidorm with food included for just £180 in the new scheme. 

The ban on travel throughout the lockdown has caused the popular holiday destination to suffer, enhanced by the 14-day quarantine after travelling. 

The new scheme in the resorts, starting on October 14th, gives tourists a choice of where to stay and where to eat in the seven-night deal.

The only thing you’ll have to arrange on your own is your flights out to Benidorm, but deals start at £200 a return ticket. 

Igor Starkov/Unsplash

The scheme has been launched by two trade associations, Abreca and Cobreca representing bars and restaurants plus Rosemberg Real Estate Agency and the Nicaragua Apartments.

They said in a statement: “This project is the result of the essential synergy between all the business sectors of the city and it will be a pioneer in Europe offering visitors to enjoy all the gastronomic offer of our city.

“The tourist will have a complete experience of Benidorm, being able to stay in apartments of Real Estate Rosemberg or Apartments Nicaragua and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in any bar, restaurant and cafeteria member of Abreca and Cobreca and adhered to this project.

Attila Surányi/Unsplash

Benidorm could also be launching the new ‘Benidorm Island’ scheme which hopes to create an effective ‘island’ on mainland Spain.

It will encourage Brits to the resort, offering testing and new safety features like a ‘safe’ coach that transfers holidaymakers directly to their holiday accommodation from the airport. 

In the day a ‘Hospitality Team’ would monitor the tourist’s health.

Currently Brits must self-isolate for two weeks after returning from Spain plus other countries on the list.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay confirmed the new measures that will include swabbing at the airport.

Raygar He/Unsplash

Mr Barclay explained: ““I am expecting Grant Shapps and Matt Hancock to say more about this in the coming days.

“If we look, for example, at some of the German states, which are using testing to then release earlier from some of the restrictions.”

The current two-week quarantine period could be reduced to four days with two mandatory tests. 

This week, a duo from Ashton-under-Lyne returned from Spain and refused to isolate and were both lumped with £1,000 fines

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Travel

People visiting Wales from Greater Manchester might have to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival

Just in…

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David Dixon/Geograph & WelshGovernment/Twitter

Visitors travelling into Wales from areas in the UK with high rates of coronavirus might have to self-isolate on arrival, according to the Welsh government.

Welsh authorities are deliberating the possibility of enforcing the restrictions currently used on international arrivals on arrivals from people across the UK, including from Greater Manchester.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said in a press conference on Monday: “We’re actively considering what we should do and I’ve discussed it this morning with the First Minister.

“We have quarantine regulations for international travel.

“So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England, the North East and North West, and the West Midlands, if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”

He added: “We’re having to consider how we use our power to protect lower-prevalence areas of Wales but at the same time, we don’t want to take a whole-nation approach.

“There’s no good reason to prevent someone from Devon, at this point in time, coming to visit a pre-booked holiday or trip to Pembrokeshire.

“So we are thinking about how we use something that is proportionate and deals with the reality of the threat that we face.”

The decision will be made later today, Gething added: “We’ll need to take some advice from our scientific and medical advisers, public health advisers, and we’ll then need to consider whether this is the right course of action.

“Because the measures we’ve introduced in Wales are about isolating areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus and protecting lower prevalence areas too.

“It’s consistent with the approach that all four UK nations have taken to international travel and quarantine restrictions, where we recognise that higher prevalence areas in other parts of the world represent a risk to coronavirus being reimported or having an opportunity to spread further within the UK.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford sent a letter to Boris Johnson asking for travel restrictions to apply to areas of England under local lockdown, however, Gething explains that it is ‘disappointing’ he has not replied.

Gething added: “Over the last month, we’ve seen a rapid increase in cases across Wales – the virus returned as people came home from holiday abroad and has been spread also as people socialised without social distancing crucially and most often in people’s home.

“The majority have had a mild illness so far. But an increase in cases is followed within two to three weeks by higher hospital admissions, higher critical care admissions and more deaths.”

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