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British tourists still flying to Spain say it is dealing with Covid-19 better than the UK

British tourists today said they were still flying to Spain so they don’t lose their money – despite Boris Johnson’s warning the country could be facing a second wave and the need to quarantine for two weeks when they get back.  

Although thousands of people have cancelled their holiday plans after ministers gave just five hours warning of the new restrictions, others remained determined to go. 

Holidaymakers leaving from Manchester Airport today claimed they would feel safer in Spain because it was dealing with coronavirus better than the UK, while others complained travel companies were refusing refunds. 

Nigel Hunt, 54, was travelling with his family to their villa in Fuerteventura. He told MailOnline: ‘We toyed long and hard with the idea of going and decided we would be safer over there than here. 

‘We live close to Blackburn and Hyndburn where cases are spiking so we feel safer in Fuerteventura.’ 

Mr Johnson defended his decision today, insisting that Europe was showing ‘signs of a second wave’, while Nicola Sturgeon said she would not book a holiday abroad just now over fears rules could change again soon. 

The PM said: ‘What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

‘Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.’

In other developments today – 

  • Popular British staycation spots were overrun with bookings with some sites fully reserved until next year;
  • Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez said country was ‘safe’ and criticised the new measures as ‘an error’ and ‘unjust’;
  • Coronavirus cases in town of Oldham, Greater Manchester, surged by 240 per cent in the week up to July 25;
  • UK posted 12 more Covid deaths in a preliminary toll as weekly coronavirus fatalities dropped to another low;
  • British Airways faced an ‘immediate’ strike threat as Unite members walked out over plans to cut 12,000 jobs;
  • Teachers were told not to travel abroad at the end of the summer because they face potentially losing pay if they are put into quarantine during term time.

Nigel Hunt, 54, was at Manchester Airport today travelling with his family to their villa in Fuerteventura. Also pictured are his wife, Helen (far right) and his children Gracie (left) and Mason 

Erica Thompson, a carer from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was flying to Fuerteventura to visit her parents

Dan Guzlinski said it would have cost £1,000 to change his destination

Erica Thompson, a carer from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was flying to Fuerteventura to visit her parents.  Dan Guzlinski (right) said it would have cost £1,000 to change his destination 

Nigel Hunt, who runs his own business and is from the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, explained that he felt more comfortable because the family were going to their own holiday home.  

His wife Helen, who works for Lancashire County Council, said: ‘We are over there until August 17 but if things don’t change, I’ll be coming home a week early so I can use part of my holiday as the quarantine period.

How Chris Whitty killed Spanish holidays: Chief Medical Officer ‘DEMANDED ministers put Spain back on quarantine list 

Ministers decided to reimpose quarantine travel restrictions on Spain after it emerged 10 Britons had returned from the country with coronavirus and Professor Chris Whitty said ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’.

The Government’s Covid-O committee met on Saturday afternoon after Health Secretary Matt Hancock raised concerns about a spike in Spanish infections on Friday.

The group of six senior ministers, which includes Michael Gove, Grant Shapps and Priti Patel, were apparently told by Prof Whitty, the chief medical officer, that the situation in Spain had deteriorated in the last 48 hours.

Ministers were told there had been an increase in infection in 15 of Spain’s 19 regions but the ‘clincher’ was the fact that 10 Britons had recently tested positive after coming back from the country.

Prof Whitty described the number as ‘statistically significant’ as ministers took the controversial decision to reimpose quarantine on Spanish travellers at less than five hours notice.

‘We have managed to get holiday insurance to cover us. I do feel we will be safer out there than back at home.’

Boris Johnson decided to reintroduce a quarantine on Spain move after it emerged 10 Britons had returned from the country with coronavirus. 

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty declared the number ‘statistically significant’ and said that ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’. 

However, many tourists leaving for Spain for Manchester Airport today were determined not to call off their travel plans. 

Steelworker Dan Guzlinski, 36, from Southport, Merseyside, was going to Tenerife with his family.

‘If we don’t go we lose our money because the holiday hasn’t been cancelled. We tried to change the destination but it would have cost an extra £1,000.

‘We are going for two weeks and the way everything is at the moment, I think we will be safer over there.’

Erica Thompson, a carer from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was flying to Fuerteventura to visit her parents.

She said: ‘I think the Spanish Government has got a better handle on it than our own.

‘Everyone has to wear masks and the Army is out on the streets to enforce social distancing measures. They are doing it properly.

‘Our government has made a bit of a mess of it from the start. I still don’t think they have got a proper grip on things.’

Mrs Thompson, who is visiting her parents for four days, added: ‘People are taking it seriously out there and sticking to the rules.

‘In the UK, people were having parties, family coming round to their houses and generally not following the rules.

‘I’m not sure whether I will have to self-isolate when I get home because a friend told me I was on the exemption list but I will have to see. I will have to see what work says.’ 

Kieran Alexander, 30, from Manchester, is flying to Tenerife for a two-week break with his friend Alex Jackson.

He said: ‘We are meeting friends who are already over there. We managed to get insurance, which was a little more expensive, to cover us so we decided to go. We just want to get on the plane now and get over there.’

Mr Jackson, 37, added: ‘We did try to get our money back but we’re unable to. We have been trying to contact On The Beach for two weeks but no one has got back to us, which is a disgrace.

‘We have been completely ignored by them. Ryanair is still flying so we would have ended up losing £1,200 in total.

‘I’ll have to quarantine when I get back but that’s OK because I’ll be able to work from home.’ 

The most up to date figures show the number of new cases is rocketing upwards in Spain. It announced 6,361 new cases over the weekend, up from 4,581 the previous weekend. France announced 2,551 new coronavirus cases on Monday

The most up to date figures show the number of new cases is rocketing upwards in Spain. It announced 6,361 new cases over the weekend, up from 4,581 the previous weekend. France announced 2,551 new coronavirus cases on Monday 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has claimed that tourists are safer in his country than the UK. These are the worst coronavirus hotspots in each country and the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has claimed that tourists are safer in his country than the UK. These are the worst coronavirus hotspots in each country and the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people

Oldham becomes the latest town to face tighter coronavirus restrictions after a 240% surge in cases 

Oldham today became the latest place to introduce tighter coronavirus restrictions after a 240 per cent surge in cases in the past week.

Official NHS statistics show 119 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in the Greater Manchester town in the week up to July 25.

This equates to a rate of 50.5 cases per 100,000 people — the third highest rate in the country, behind only Blackburn with Darwen and Leicester.

Council bosses have now urged all of the borough’s 235,000 residents to not let any visitors into their home for at least two weeks.

They are keen ‘to prevent a strict local lockdown being put in place’ like that seen in Leicester, which has yet to be freed from the draconian restrictions.

It puts Oldham at odds with the rest of England, after lockdown rules were relaxed earlier this month to let people to stay overnight with loved ones.

Britain’s decision to drop Spain from its safe travel list has sparked a diplomatic war between Madrid and London. 

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the UK’s blanket ban on all non-essential travel to Spain is an ‘error’ and is ‘unjust’. 

But Mr Johnson insisted this morning the UK Government must act quickly to respond to what it believes are threats to the domestic fight against coronavirus. 

He said: ‘What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

‘Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.’

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson insisted it is up to individuals to decide whether to travel abroad this summer amid mounting uncertainty.  

He said: ‘These are decisions for families, for individuals, about where they want to go.’ 

He added: ‘It’s vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I’m afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine.

‘That’s why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary.’

The Spanish Government today insisted that Spain remains a safe and ‘secure’ destination for tourists as Germany imposed travel restrictions on its European neighbour. 

Berlin has linked foreign holidays to a ‘concerning’ rise in cases in Germany and it has now advised its citizens to avoid the regions of Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre – but not the southern coast or the Spanish islands.  

The Government announced on Saturday that it was tightening rules on travel to Spain because of rising case numbers. 

But ministers faced accusations of presiding over chaos after initially banning travel to the Spanish mainland but travel was still allowed to the Canary and Balearic islands. 

However, everyone returning to Britain from anywhere in Spain was still told they have to quarantine for 14 days. 

British Airways faces ‘immediate’ strike threat as Unite warns of job cuts walk out  

British Airways today faced an ‘immediate’ strike threat from union bosses over job cuts amid fears over further travel chaos to families trying to plan a holiday abroad.

Unite leader Len McCluskey claimed BA chief executive Alex Cruz had ‘published a timetable to fire and rehire thousands of your workforce on August 7’.

Mr McCluskey also told how MPs and newspapers alike have condemned the actions of the Spanish boss, adding: ‘Perhaps you don’t understand that the British sense of fair play runs deep in the psyche of the British people.’

BA has so far used state furlough schemes, accessed £300million of UK Government loans and retired its fleet of 747 jumbo jets earlier than planned. 

The Foreign Office then moved last night to toughen the travel advice relating to the Spanish islands to bring them into line with the rules applying to the mainland. 

Britons make up over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, which relies heavily on tourism, and Madrid has said the UK government gave it no warning that the quarantine move was coming last weekend.  

Mr Sanchez told Spanish TV station Telecinco on Monday night: ‘I think the UK’s decision is an incorrect one.

‘Spain is made up of a number of regions that have a cumulative rate of contagion that is lower than the European average as well as the UK average.

‘The Spanish tourist industry has acted very responsibly over the past few months and has transferred a message of security with regards to the health emergency we are experiencing.

‘It’s true that on a global level the coronavirus pandemic continues to show a very worrying development and at European level as well, but in Spain the spread of the virus is not occurring in a uniform way.’

Mr Sanchez said the Spanish government is pushing for the UK to reverse its decision as he claimed that ‘in epidemiological terms, it would be safer to be’ in certain parts of Spain on holiday than in the UK.  

‘We are going to carry on talking because we are friends and we have many commercial and economic links as well as geopolitical links,’ he said. 

A spokeswoman for the Spanish government insisted today that the country is still a safe place for tourists to visit.  

The spokeswoman said: ‘We are a secure destination that has made preparations and strengthened itself to deal with the virus and any outbreaks.’

She added: ‘All the figures demonstrate the situation is good in most of the country, where the regional authorities have only registered a low incidence of the illness.’

Boris Johnson, pictured during a visit to Beeston near Nottingham today, has warned there are ‘signs of second wave’ of coronavirus in Europe

Diplomatic ties were strained after local government minister Simon Clarke said the UK disagreed with Mr Sanchez’s assessment that travel to Spain should be allowed to continue. 

Spanish PM says quarantine is ‘unjust’ and claims tourists will be SAFER in his country than in the UK after FCO changed contradictory advice and urges Brits not to travel to islands 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Spain’s Prime Minister has blasted quarantine restrictions as ‘unjust’ and said tourists will be safer in his country than the UK as ministers prepare to slash quarantine from 14 to 10 days to salvage getaways for millions of families.

Pedro Sanchez last night criticised the government’s sudden decision to force Britons returning from Spain to stay at home for two weeks and called on the government to reconsider its decision. 

Tourists braced to enter quarantine are worried the fortnight self-isolating could cost them paid work and there are fears the newly-imposed rules could kill off the summer holiday season.  

Speaking moments after the Foreign Office hardened its stance and advised against non-essential travel to the whole of Spain, including the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, Mr Sanchez told Spanish TV station Telecinco on Monday night: ‘I think the UK’s decision is an incorrect one.

‘Spain is made up of a number of regions that have a cumulative rate of contagion that is lower than the European average as well as the UK average.

‘The Spanish tourist industry has acted very responsibly over the past few months and has transferred a message of security with regards to the health emergency we are experiencing.

‘It’s true that on a global level the coronavirus pandemic continues to show a very worrying development and at European level as well, but in Spain the spread of the virus is not occurring in a uniform way.

‘Sixty-two per cent of the new cases are occurring in two regions but in the majority of the country, the cumulative incidence of the virus is lower than the European average and the UK average.’   

Mr Clarke told the BBC: ‘We respectfully disagree with the Spanish government’s position on this.

‘We obviously continue to work closely with them and we wish them every success in managing this outbreak, but we’ve seen a very sharp increase in cases in Spain.

‘A 75 per cent increase in cases reported between the middle of last week and the end of last week. That’s why we took the action that we have.

‘Clearly, you do have to make decisions on a country-wide basis. 

‘There is going to be internal transfer within Spain and it’s important that we do our utmost to protect the public.’ 

Ministers decided on Saturday to reimpose quarantine restrictions on Spain after it emerged 10 Britons had returned from the country with coronavirus and Professor Chris Whitty said ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’. 

The Government’s Covid-O committee met at the weekend after Health Secretary Matt Hancock raised concerns about a spike in Spanish infections on Friday. 

The group of six senior ministers, which includes Michael Gove, Grant Shapps and Priti Patel, were apparently told by Prof Whitty, the chief medical officer, that the situation in Spain had deteriorated in the last 48 hours. 

Ministers were told there had been an increase in infection in 15 of Spain’s 19 regions but the ‘clincher’ was the fact that 10 Britons had recently tested positive after coming back from the country. 

Prof Whitty described the number as ‘statistically significant’ as ministers took the controversial decision to reimpose quarantine on Spanish travellers at less than five hours notice. 

The account of the meeting came as Mr Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said he will return early from his holiday in Spain tomorrow amid growing fears that holidays in France and Germany could also be axed because of rising infection rates.

There is also mounting speculation that travel to Belgium could soon be impacted after the country put the brakes on its coronavirus lockdown exit strategy.  

The UK Government has now banned all non-essential travel to mainland Spain and the Spanish islands. Pictured is a quiet beach today in the resort of Portinatx in Ibiza

The UK Government has now banned all non-essential travel to mainland Spain and the Spanish islands. Pictured is a quiet beach today in the resort of Portinatx in Ibiza

There were plenty of empty beach chairs on the Costa Del Sol today, which would usually be at the height of the holiday season

There were plenty of empty beach chairs on the Costa Del Sol today, which would usually be at the height of the holiday season 

In other developments in Britain’s coronavirus crisis today, officials posted 12 more Covid-19 deaths in the preliminary toll as separate figures revealed the number of people dying each week has dropped to another low.

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. 

The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today posted 12 deaths in hospitals across the country. No fatalities were recorded in any setting in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland again.

It came as the Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption called on Britain to learn to live alongside Covid-19 because ‘there have been far worse diseases’. 

Meanwhile, Downing Street was urged to toughen up its ‘back to work’ message after a string of top firms said they would not be encouraging staff back to offices for months. 

The lack of staff commuting into their offices has left city centres deserted and ravaged high street businesses, which rely on a steady stream of commuters and visitors coming through their doors.  

Selfridges today told staff it plans to cut 450 jobs – around 14 per cent of its total headcount – in the latest UK jobs carnage with the tally of layoffs now above 66,000 since the coronavirus crisis began.  

Don’t book a foreign holiday unless you can afford to throw away the money, warn experts as British staycation spots are overrun and booked out NEXT YEAR

Mark Duell for MailOnline

Britons were today warned not to book a foreign holiday unless they can afford to lose the money with dreams of a summer getaway now hanging in the balance.

Concerns over travel restrictions abroad intensified as UK tourism chiefs warned Britons to make their reservations for ‘staycations’ next year as soon as possible. Families are booking up dates for UK holidays in 2021 despite the cost of some stays going up by 50 per cent as operators try to recoup some of their lockdown losses.

Slots at campsites, B&Bs and cottages across Britain are also running out because holidays postponed during the lockdown are now being rebooked for next year. 

Up to 14million Britons are expected to go on a UK holiday before children go back to school in September, giving the country’s economy a £3.7billion boost – with Havens saying bookings at its 36 parks are up 96 per cent year-on-year, demand for caravan sites up 140 per cent in Devon and bookings also surging at Butlins locations. 

But speaking about going abroad, Guy Anker from MoneySavingExpert told The Times: ‘People who booked a holiday or took out insurance after mid-March are not going to be covered by a local lockdown or the decision to change travel advice. 

‘My advice would be, do not spend any money at the moment that you can’t afford to lose, or where flexibility is not written into your airline ticket or hotel booking.’

UK holiday agent Hoseasons said it has employed extra telesales staff to cope with extra demand with bookings made for the next year up by a third on normal levels. 

Its cottage break bookings are up 223 per cent over the last month compared to the same period in 2019, while call volumes are at more than ten times the normal level. 

The empty Jet2 check-in desk at Edinburgh Airport this morning after UK tourists were told not to travel to Spain

The empty Jet2 check-in desk at Edinburgh Airport this morning after UK tourists were told not to travel to Spain

Jet2 staff stand at the check-in desk at Edinburgh Airport today after the new UK guidance on not travelling to Spain

Jet2 staff stand at the check-in desk at Edinburgh Airport today after the new UK guidance on not travelling to Spain

Charles Millward, owner of Staycation Holidays, which manages 120 UK properties, told The Times: ‘People should be worried about finding availability next year.’

He added that one property has just three weekends free next year from March until September, and the staycation has ‘suddenly become massive for us this summer’.

What can I do if I’ve booked a holiday to Spain?

Can I get a refund on my flights?

Airlines are refusing to cancel flights to Spain – despite the Government advising against all but essential travel.

The move puts hundreds of thousands of British families in limbo and at risk of losing thousands of pounds. It also puts the airline industry at odds with the UK Government by ignoring a public safety edict. The Government issued the travel warning after the emergence of a second wave of coronavirus in parts of Spain.

Customers would normally expect travel firms to cancel the flights and offer refunds. But all the major carriers, which have suffered massive losses following the collapse of air travel, have snubbed the Government and continue to offer the flights. This means families will potentially lose their holidays and their money.

People could ignore the Government and take their flights. But they would have to quarantine for 14 days when they get back and their travel insurance may be void. Alternatively, they could cancel their trip without any guarantee of a refund. 

Can I switch my flight date or change destination? 

British Airways and easyJet have suggested they will offer vouchers for future flights, rather than a refund, for those who cancel.

Ryanair has refused to offer anything. It even suggested people who changed their flights could incur charges of up to £95 per person.

What if I have booked a package holiday?

If you booked a package holiday which cannot go ahead as planned, you are entitled to a refund and it should be returned within 14 days.

However, a number of airlines have not cancelled flights and some tour operators are also doing the same – this means you might not get a refund without a fight.

Companies will be expected to cancel package holidays to Spain and its islands and offer refunds. An estimated 1.8m bookings will be affected. 

Tui has suspended all holidays to Spain up to and including August 9. It said customers travelling ‘will be able to cancel or amend holidays and will be able to receive a full refund or the option to rebook their holiday with a booking incentive and our customer service team will proactively email these customers’.

Jet2 and Tui have cancelled trips up to certain dates in August. Kuoni, even though it is not cancelling trips, is offering refunds or rebookings at a later date. 

Will I be able to cancel a direct hotel booking?

If you have booked directly with a hotel it is unlikely that they will let you cancel without abiding by their cancellation charges.

You could try appealing to their goodwill and there is certainly no harm in asking. They may for instance let you move to a later date.

If you have booked through a third-party website like Booking.com, Expedia or Lastminute, you may find that the cancellation terms are more generous, depending on what sort of reservation you made.

If it is not offering either option, contact your travel insurer to see if you can claim on your policy instead. 

Will my insurance cover it?

Only Nationwide’s FlexPlus travel insurance, which comes with its £13-a-month current account, covers trips cancelled because Foreign Office advice changed after a booking was made – while it also covers a trip being cut short because of a local lockdown. 

Other policies from the likes of Trailfinders, Nationwide, Axa, All Clear, Coverwise and Insure For will cover coronavirus-related cancellations, but not because of a change in government travel restrictions.

The Civil Aviation Authority said there was nothing it could do to ensure those with a flight-only booking got a refund. It suggested they claim money back from a travel insurance policy, but most insurers have clauses that reject any claims linked to coronavirus.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said it is ‘likely’ that travel insurance will remain in place for holidaymakers already in Spain until they return home. However, those attempting to travel to countries against FCO advice would invalidate their travel insurance.

The ABI said people who booked a trip or took out travel insurance after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic may not be covered for travel disruption or cancellation. In either circumstance, travellers should check with their insurer. 

What if my trip isn’t cancelled but I want to cancel it?

If your trip isn’t cancelled, contact your travel provider in the first instance to see if they are offering refunds, or again, a change of date.

If they are not, you may have to swallow the cost of cancelling your holiday and then fighting to get a refund through your insurance, credit card provider through Section 75 or a chargeback, offered by some banks.

While most tour providers still haven’t shown their hand, it is thought likely most will cancel holidays given the Government advice.

What should I do if I am already in Spain?

People currently on holiday in Spain have been encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the FCO’s travel advice pages on gov.uk for further information. 

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave. Abta – the UK’s travel trade association – has advised customers in the country to continue their holidays and return as normal. 

What if I am going on holiday elsewhere?

The FCO continues to advise against non-essential international travel except to the countries and territories on its exemption list. 

But local government minister Simon Clarke said the reality is that holidaymakers travelling abroad during the coronavirus outbreak will have to accept there is a ‘degree of uncertainty’.

He said people going on holiday should understand that they may be asked to self-isolate on their return and the Government must reserve the right to keep the British public safe.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said anyone making travel arrangements needs to recognise the restrictions that may be placed upon them by the Government on their return to the UK.

What will happen when I get back from Spain?

If you’re returning to the UK from Spain you will need to provide your journey and contact details and self-isolate for 14 days. This may drop to 10 days soon.

You may be fined up to £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details or more if you break this rule more than once.

You may also be fined up to £1,000 if you refuse to self-isolate, or you could face further action.

Will my employer pay me if I have to quarantine?

This will depend on your employer and their rules. If, for example, you can still work from home, there should – in theory – be no problem with you quarantining.

However, you are not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay from your employer if you have to quarantine after coming back off holiday, according to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Some employers will offer sick pay – either statutory or a higher level, depending on their policy.

It could be that if your employer is unable to offer you sick pay, you could take annual leave to avoid missing out on any payment, although this may not be possible if you do not have enough left to take.

However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put on to sick pay.

Writer and broadcaster Sally Jones, who lives in Warwick, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I do think it’s totally bonkers to encourage people to go abroad at the moment when we don’t know which countries are going to be shut down, where we’re going to have quarantine coming back from, say, Croatia or France.

‘There’s wonderful, wonderful places in England. I think most people don’t really know their own country that well.’

She added: ‘Why not go and explore places like, say, Scotland or the beaches of Northumberland? There are these incredible places in England – most of us have never been there.’ 

British campsites have also seen a boom in bookings as people give up on foreign trips.

The website Pitchup.com, which sends 800,000 people a year to 2,000 UK campsites, said bookings on Sunday were double last year’s high for a single day.

It took some 6,100 bookings, representing around 18,000 people, which was up by 20 per cent on the previous Sunday. Founder of the booking platform, Dan Yates, said there is a clear switch to staycations.

He said: ‘For many who were just starting to consider booking a trip abroad this is probably the nail in the coffin, with the change in regulations fundamentally damaging consumer confidence to travel overseas.

‘The tightened financial climate means British holidaymakers are unlikely to take the risk of not being able to work when they return which has likely been the catalyst for this weekend’s surge in UK bookings.’ 

The website also offers bookings to campsites across Europe.

Mr Yates said: ‘The tourism and hospitality sector has been decimated by Covid and our Spanish site owners are in uproar. 

‘They believe a more localised approach which focuses on quarantine in the specific regions which have been affected by the Covid peaks would have been a more appropriate and effective response by the UK government.

‘This is, however, good news for domestic campsites and caravan parks as thousands will substitute a UK holiday for their usual one abroad.’ 

Mr Yates said: ‘The ever changing guidance is likely to cause mass confusion and concern amongst Brits, with many likely to elect to play it safe and staying closer to home this year.’

Airbnb has said that on bookings made on the weekend of June 27/28, more than 70 per cent were staycations.

A spokesman said: ‘Staycations are great for Brits who want to explore beyond their own four walls again, but also for the hospitality industry and Airbnb hosts who depend on the income from listing on our platform.

‘We’ve seen a significant spike in demand as travel becomes a reality again, with our trending destinations showing people are keen to explore the many interesting towns and rural areas the nation has to offer, providing a welcome boost to local businesses.’

Issuing advice to those concerned about holidays in Spain, Brian Brown of Defaqto said: ‘If you are in Spain now your insurance will cover you as normal. This will include curtailment and medical claims. However, it will not include curtailment if you just want to come home early.

‘You won’t however have any compensation from your travel insurer for any enforced quarantine on your return to the UK.

‘If you are on your way to Spain right now by car you might also have problems. 

‘If you enter Spain after the FCO advised you not to, then you will have no cover at all, including medical insurance. 

‘So, if you are driving through France to Spain, you should turn around and come home, or find somewhere else to have your holiday.’

He added that those who have a booking to Spain but can’t now travel because the FCO has advised against it, should first go to the travel provider.

Mr Brown continued: ‘Airlines and package operators will likely cancel the flight/holiday. You should ask them for a refund, or to transfer your holiday to another destination or time.

‘If you can’t get refunds, for instance if you booked your accommodation directly with the hotel, your travel insurance might pay out, but only if the policy covers you for change of government advice and you booked the holiday and bought the insurance before the FCO changed its advice. 

‘You will need to check your insurance policy wording.

‘If you are planning to travel somewhere else, where the FCO currently says you can go, but now don’t want to take the risk then no travel insurance policy will cover you for cancellation. Disinclination to travel is not an insured peril.’ 

Meanwhile Sally Jaques of GoCompare Travel Insurance, said: ‘If a holiday company is still taking customers to mainland Spain, which at the moment would be against FCO advice, those holidaymakers are between a rock and hard place.

‘They can’t cancel their holiday and claim their holiday cost back on their insurance and by travelling to a destination classified as an area where the advice is to avoid all non-essential travel, they will be invalidating their travel insurance policy.

‘If they fall ill abroad, have an accident, or have their luggage lost or stolen, their insurer is unlikely to pay out a claim.

‘The best option for holidaymakers in this situation who don’t want to take the risk is to request to rebook their trip for a later date, when hopefully the pandemic will have abated or at least the situation will be clearer. However, holiday companies are under no obligation to do this.

‘The sudden turnaround of advice regarding travelling to mainland Spain and the quarantine requirements imposed for all of Spain, including its islands, highlights how unpredictable foreign travel is at the moment.

‘Customers booking holidays anywhere this summer run the risk of having their trips cancelled or being left in an almost impossible situation of not wishing to travel, being pushed into ignoring FCO advice by their tour operator and invalidating their insurance whilst away.

‘Frankly anyone choosing to go abroad this year is taking a gamble.’

In a huge blow to the tourism industry both at home and abroad, ministers have extended travel restrictions to the Spanish islands and warned that other holiday destinations could follow. 

The Foreign Office is now warning against ‘all but essential’ travel to the Balearics and Canaries, having already done so for the mainland. 

This is on top of 14-day quarantine on return.

Travel firm Jet2 responded to the diktat by cancelling flights to all Spanish destinations and told passengers not to go to the airport. 

Downing Street warned: ‘Unfortunately no travel is risk-free during this pandemic.’ 

Sources said there were ‘no immediate plans’ to change travel and quarantine advice to other countries. 

But Croatia and Belgium are thought to be of concern, and ministers are also monitoring France and Germany. Last night Grant Shapps cut short his own holiday in Spain to deal with the crisis. 

The Transport Secretary, whose wife and children will continue their holiday without him, will have to quarantine at home for two weeks.

He told the Mail he ‘didn’t feel right’ continuing his holiday when others were having their plans wrecked. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove cancelled a trip to the Balearics on Saturday.

Ministers were last night facing a backlash from travel experts and the airline industry over the ‘chaotic’ handling of the air bridges policy, which has been in place for only three weeks.

Tourists look around Boscastle village in Cornwall on a rainy day yesterday as people go on staycations across the UK

Tourists look around Boscastle village in Cornwall on a rainy day yesterday as people go on staycations across the UK

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk