Top European resorts 'unlikely to make green list before August'

Top European resorts 'unlikely to make green list before August'

06/15/2021

Top European resorts are ‘unlikely to be added to the green list before August’ – as demand for flights to Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland soars

  • Toni Mayor, head of Hosbec Valenica, said he expects return later in the summer
  • His comments come after a meeting with UK ambassador, reports the Telegraph
  • It comes as demand for flights to UK travel green list countries have now soared 

Top European holiday resorts are unlikely to be added to the green list ‘before August’, foreign tourism chiefs have reportedly been told.

UK ambassadors are said to have warned foreign tourism bosses that the return of British travellers to traditional holiday hot-spots such as Spain and Greece will be pushed back until later this summer.  

It comes as holiday company TUI yesterday announced it was axing more of its trips to top European holiday destinations up until July.

Meanwhile, Greek hoteliers have accused the Government of deliberately keeping Britons from holidaying abroad so that they will spend more money at home.

The fresh holidays blow comes amid a spike in demand for flights to Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland – which are all currently on the UK’s green list.

But in a set-back for the more traditional holiday destinations, most of which are currently on the UK’s amber list, Toni Mayor, head of the Hosbec association of Valencia region hoteliers, said he did not expect to see the bulk of UK tourism take off until August, according to the Telegraph.

The fresh holidays blow comes amid a spike in demand for flights to Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland – which are all currently on the UK’s green list

There has also been a 40 per cent increase in demand for flights to Iceland. Pictured: Geysir Strokkur – a popular tourist hot spot in Iceland

Greek hotel bosses accuse the UK Government of banning travel so that tourists spend more money at home 

Greek hoteliers believe the UK Government is deliberately keeping Britons from holidaying abroad so that they will spend more money at home, according to the boss of a leading travel company.

Graham Simpson, the founder of Simpson Travel, says those who run tourist businesses in Greece cannot understand why Britain is preventing visits to destinations where Covid figures are extremely low.

They are now challenging the UK Government to justify its decision by providing facts and data.

Speaking about a prevailing mood of ‘shock, despair and worry’, Mr Simpson said: ‘I had a meeting with 18 hoteliers and the MP of Zakynthos [an Ionian island], who are extremely concerned.

‘Usually 70 per cent of hotel guests are from the UK. They don’t understand why British tourists are unable to travel to Greece.

‘They believe the UK Government is trying to keep their population in the UK to ensure money is kept in the UK.’

Describing the vaccination programme in Greece as ‘tremendous’, Mr Simpson, who lives part of the year in Paxos with his Greek wife Yianna, said he had been fully vaccinated by April.

He said Paxos had recorded zero deaths and only five cases in the past five months.

There had been no cases on the Ionian island of Meganisi and the situation was similar on Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos.

He added: ‘On Corfu, the island with the biggest population of around 120,000, there have been ten to 15 cases a day.

Vaccination is taken very seriously and a new law means anyone working in the travel industry must be vaccinated.

‘You are more likely to get infected at Gatwick Airport where people have encountered queues of two or more hours alongside other arrivals from around the world and confronted with disorganisation and untrained staff.

‘It’s clear the Government have not made any plan for the UK population to travel this summer.’

His comments come after a meeting with Hugh Elliott, the UK’s ambassador for Spain.

Tourism chiefs in Turkey are also understood to have received a similar message, after a meeting with UK Foreign Office officials, the Telegraph adds.

Meanwhile, figures from Skyscanner, and reported in the Times, show how holidaymakers are rushing to book flights to holiday destinations on the green list.

Flights to Gibraltar have seen a 115 per cent increase in seats sold at the beginning of July, compared to the previous week.

EasyJet, Wizz Air, British Airways and Eastern Airways have all reportedly put on extra flights to Gibraltar to meet the demand. 

There has also been a 40 per cent increase in demand for flights to Iceland. 

Both are currently on the UK’s travel green list, meaning tourists can return from these countries without having to quarantine.

Those returning from amber list countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and America, all face a 10-day period of self-isolation and two negative PCR-tests on arrival in the UK.

Those on the red-list are required to stay in a quarantine hotel for up to 10-days.  

Israel, another country which has been on the green list since the traffic light system was announced last month, is set to open its borders for UK travel next month.

The country, which has been involved in a recent heightened conflict with Gaza, has been closed to UK holidaymakers since the pandemic began last year.

The country’s tourist office told the Times it had been approached by a number of tour operators ahead of July 1.    

It comes as holiday booking company TUI yesterday cancelled more trips to Greece, Spain and Italy until July as it was announced that Freedom Day is being pushed back by four weeks. 

It has already been forced to cancel bookings before during the pandemic so it is believed that the latest decision is a bid to avoid losing more money. 

The move comes after Jet2 cancelled all international flights and holidays up to July 1 and Easyjet is ‘reviewing’ its flights in the wake of traffic light chaos. 

The latest TUI holidays to get the axe, according to Travel Weekly, are: 

Up to and including July 4: Aruba, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece – Crete (Chania), Kavala, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Preveza, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Spain – Mainland Spain, Formentera, Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, La Palma, all Tui, Lakes & Mountains destinations.

Up to and including July 11: Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey.

TUI has already been forced to cancel bookings before during the pandemic so it is believed that the latest decision is a bid to avoid losing more money. Pictured: Passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport last month

The latest holidays to get the axe are: Up to and including July 4: Aruba, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece – Crete (Chania), Kavala, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Preveza, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Spain (pictured) – Mainland Spain, Formentera, Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, La Palma, all Tui, Lakes & Mountains destinations

The company also had to cancel all holidays which include non-Tui flights to Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and UAE up to including July 11.  

Jet2 originally suspended its services up to June 24 when the green list was announced.

The UK’s current travel green list 

According to the Department for Transport, as of June 15, the current UK travel green list includes:

Australia

Brunei

Falkland Islands

Faroe Islands

Gibraltar

Iceland

Israel and Jerusalem

New Zealand

Singapore

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

But now all flights for this month have been cancelled amid a spate of changes – including moving Portugal, Madeira and the Azores to the amber list.

Flights to Turkey, which is on the red list of the Government’s traffic light system, will be held until July 22 as the restrictions look unlikely to ease.

Jet2 boss Steve Heapy blasted the Government for confusion surrounding the last-minute changes.

He called for ‘openness and transparency’ on coronavirus data so that the industry could better understand decisions affecting airlines and their customers.  

TUI told Travel Weekly: ‘We want to offer our customers flexibility and choice this summer, so where borders are open and FCDO advice allows travel, we will operate to those destinations as planned.

‘We are constantly reviewing our holiday programme and cancellations in line with the government updates every three weeks, with the next update expected on 24 June.

‘All customers will be contacted as soon as possible if there is any change to their booking.’ 

‘All customers impacted by these cancellations will be contacted directly and will be able to request a full cash refund, or to change to a later date or alternative holiday and receive a booking incentive,’ Tui added.

‘If we need to cancel any future holidays because of updated government guidance, we will be in touch directly and aim to give customers at least seven days’ notice.

‘We would like to thank our customers for their understanding at this time.’  

Meanwhile, budget airline EasyJet said it is reviewing flights to Portugal after the country was taken off the green list for travel.

TUI also had to cancel all holidays which include non-Tui flights to Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and UAE up to including July 11

Which holiday destinations have been cancelled by TUI and when? 

Up to and including July 4: 

  • Aruba
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Greece – Crete (Chania)
  • Kavala
  • Kefalonia
  • Mykonos
  • Preveza
  • Samos
  • Santorini
  • Skiathos
  • Thessaloniki
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • Spain – Mainland Spain
  • Formentera
  • Mallorca
  • Ibiza
  • Menorca
  • La Palma
  • All Tui, Lakes & Mountains destinations 

Up to and including July 11: 

  • Bulgaria
  • Cape Verde
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

The company also had to cancel all holidays which include non-Tui flights to Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and UAE up to including July 11. 

A spokesman said: ‘As a result of the Government’s sudden announcement placing Portugal on the amber list from next week, we are currently reviewing our flying programme to the country in the coming days.

‘If customers want to change their plans, we offer the option to transfer their flights to another date or destination on EasyJet’s network without a change fee up to two hours before departure. 

‘Any customers whose flights are cancelled will be provided with their options which include receiving a full refund or transferring to an alternative flight free of charge.’  

It comes after travel industry chiefs last week blasted the Government’s ‘crippling’ decision to axe Portugal from its green list of safe destinations amid growing concern over the Nepal coronavirus variant. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the Mediterranean country, whose economy relies greatly on UK tourists, is being moved to the amber list from 4am Tuesday following a rise in positive tests.

But the move triggered fury from travel industry chiefs, including the chief executives of Heathrow and EasyJet, who accused the Government of trying to ‘isolate’ Britain from the world and warned that another ‘lost summer’ could lead to a jobs bloodbath and billions more being wiped from the economy. 

Figures compiled for the Mail by the all-party Future of Aviation group of MPs last night projected that the cost to the economy could be as much as £11.5billion in outbound travel alone if the current restrictions remain through the next three months. Meanwhile, fears were raised for the 1.6million jobs the aviation, travel and tourism sector creates. 

It comes after furious Tory MPs lashed out at Boris Johnson as he prepares to delay Freedom Day and the end of lockdown for four weeks.  

The Prime Minister will urge Britons to be patient as he announces that the relaxation of Covid restrictions will be pushed back until July 19 because of the rampaging Indian variant, to allow more people to receive their second vaccine dose. 

But he is set to offer an olive branch to some industries that will be worst-hit by the delay, including lifting the cap on the number of guests who can attend weddings. He is also expected to permit more outdoor seated spaces at sporting events.

The concessions come as Tory MPs join hospitality and other business leaders in venting their fury at the postponement, warning it will cost firms millions of pounds.

The Prime Minister faced calls for a ‘break clause’ to cut short the lockdown extension after two or three weeks’ if the data allows it.  

Conservative MP Damian Green has told the Westminster Hour that there should be a break clause after two or three weeks of the extension.

‘I get the point that because of the deltas variant the cases have gone up, hospitalisation has gone up a bit but not a lot and is below the level of some of the Sage predictions of a few months ago,’ he said.

‘So I think if there is a delay I hope it’s only for a few weeks and I think if it is as long as a month then there should be a break clause after two or maybe three weeks, to say that if we can tell by then that the rise in cases is not lading to a sort of rise in the serious illness that sends people into hospital, then we can unlock earlier.’ 

Know your rights! What should you do if your holiday is cancelled because of red list changes?

If you’re travelling with Jet2…

Jet2 Holidays will automatically process a refund to holidaymakers whose trips were cancelled because of Government restrictions.

Anyone expecting to travel with the travel firm before July 1 can expect to receive the money they paid for the holiday back.

All holidays have been cancelled to July 1 – apart from holidays to and from Jersey which will restart on June 24. 

A spokesman for the company explained issuing refunds is an automatic process and customers do not need to get in touch.

For any destinations currently on the Amber List, the firm is allowing customers to change their booking for free if they are due to travel between July 1 and July 21. 

The spokesman added: ‘Where customers are affected by any programme changes, we will automatically cancel their booking with a full refund, and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help them to rebook their summer getaway.’

Jet2 has already processed £1.8billion-worth of refunds to customers amid a turbulent time for holidays abroad because of coronavirus.

A note on its website reads: ‘Your holiday will be automatically cancelled and we’ll process your full refund within 14 days if: Your holiday is cancelled by us because of COVID-19. UK Government advice changes and it becomes illegal for you to go on a holiday abroad.’ 

If you’re travelling with EasyJet…

Customers flying with EasyJet can choose to change their plans by transferring flights to another date or destination up to two hours before departure.

A spokesman said: ‘As a result of the Government’s sudden announcement placing Portugal on the amber list from next week, we are currently reviewing our flying programme to the country in the coming days.

‘If customers want to change their plans, we offer the option to transfer their flights to another date or destination on easyJet’s network without a change fee up to two hours before departure.’

Where flights are cancelled, customers will be given options to choose from.

They can either receive a full refund or transfer to another flight ‘free of charge’.

The spokesman added: ‘Should a country we operate to be placed on the red list customers who are booked to travel there in the next four weeks are eligible for a refund or to move their flights to another date or destination.’ 

If you’re travelling with WizzAir…

When WizzAir cancels a flight customers will be automatically refunded 120 per cent of the original fare in airline credit.

A spokesman added: ‘Passengers can also opt for a full refund to their original payment method or the chance to rebook for free.’ 

If you’re travelling with British Airways…

British Airways will contact customers to offer a full refund, voucher, or alternative flight in the event its programme is cancelled.

A spokesman said: ‘Where a customer’s flight is cancelled we always contact them to offer options including a full refund. 

‘Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their flights or request a voucher for future use as part of our Book with Confidence policy, which has been available since the beginning of the pandemic.’ 

Source: Read Full Article