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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Passport warning issued as travellers told not to book holidays
Thanks to the pandemic, people are experiencing massive delays on their passport renewals
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.