Boris Johnson will give the green light to foreign holidays next Monday when the Government unveils its long-awaited travel corridor plan.
Ministers will say Britons can visit any one of around ten countries without having to quarantine – reviving summer holidays after almost four months of travel restrictions.
‘Air bridges’ to France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey have been all but confirmed, sources disclosed, with the first flights set to take off on July 4.
Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Gibraltar and Bermuda will also reportedly be announced as destinations in the first round of ‘safe nations’ on June 29.
The Mail has learned Portugal is likely to be included on the list of destinations, despite concerns over recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in the Algarve.
Medium-haul destinations such as Dubai will also reportedly be available for Britons to explore from mid to late summer, with trips to Vietnam and Hong Kong on the horizon from late August or September.
Britons are also expected to get the green light to visit Canada, Morocco and the Caribbean from August.
Ministers are even on the verge of coming to a deal with Australia, as long as flights connect via low-risk countries such as Singapore.
Britons began to arrive in Benidorm, Spain on Monday as coronavirus restrictions were eased amid the pandemic in Europe
Tourists take selfies in front of Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy on June 19 as travel restrictions were loosened after months of lockdown
‘Air bridges’ to France , Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey have been all but confirmed, sources disclosed, with the first flights set to take off on July 4
Dozens more countries will be added in coming weeks, including important business destinations, but the initial announcement will be focused on popular holiday routes to give an instant shot in the arm to Britain’s crippled travel industry.
But Britons hoping to travel to the USA, Mexico and South American countries will likely have to wait until at least December, the Sun reported.
Paul Charles, from the pressure group Quash Quarantine, was reportedly assured by the Government that travel corridors will open as planned – subject to any coronavirus outbreaks.
He said ‘intensive’ phone calls are currently taking place across Europe to finalise the arrangements.
‘The first phase will be Europe, and the second phase from August will be more long haul, with the Caribbean, Dubai and Morocco included,’ he said.
‘South America, and Latin America will likely be exempt from the end of the year. There is no way restrictions will be lifted there any time soon as they are at the epicentre of the pandemic at the moment.
‘And it is unlikely that America will open up before the November election, partly because President Trump won’t open it up, but also because the number of cases there is very high.’
France (pictured, Paris on Sunday) is among around 10 countries expected to be included in Britain’s ‘air bridges’ to be announced on Monday
Greece (pictured, Oia on Santorini on June 14) is also among those expected to be announced by the Govenrment on Monday
At present, any traveller arriving in the UK – whether from Britain or a tourist – must quarantine for 14 days and provide their phone number and an address for self-isolation.
But some Britons have already ventured abroad after Spain lifted its ban on foreign tourists and opened its beaches in glorious 100 degree-plus heat earlier this month.
Travel firms also slashed the price of a one-week holiday to £300 as Downing Street signalled it could bring in these ‘travel corridors’ from July 4, with no 14-day quarantine on return to the UK.
The Foreign Office is expected to relax its warning against all but essential global travel for the first time since lockdown was imposed in mid-March.
Instead, the risk of Covid-19 will be set to low, medium or high depending on infection rates in individual countries.
The plans – to be announced on Monday – will be finalised and signed off today in a meeting with officials from Downing Street, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home and Foreign offices.
Airlines and airports are also expecting to be briefed on the plans today, giving them just over a week to prepare for the new holiday season.
Under the scheme, travel corridor nations are signing ‘memorandums of understanding’ with the Government, agreeing that whatever anti-coronavirus measures are taken in the UK must be mirrored by similarly stringent policies abroad.
Giving examples to the transport committee yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the other country having an equivalent to our test and trace system was important.
He also spoke of the need to consider the ‘level and trajectory’ of the virus abroad.
Boris Johnson will give the green light to foreign holidays next Monday when the Government unveils its long-awaited travel corridor plan (Pictured: Beaches in Benidorm, Spain)
People sunbathe on Playa de Palma beach in Mallorca as Spain officially reopened its borders amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 21
Outlining the questions being asked by UK officials, he said: ‘Do they have something equivalent to our NHS Test and Trace system? The Test and Trace system is enormous here now. We’ve got the capacity to test far more than is immediately required but that would allow for any uplift anywhere.
‘Does the country we’re talking to have that kind of capability?’
Mr Shapps added that introducing air bridges is a ‘massive priority’, stating: ‘I understand entirely the pain that aviation is going through. I know both for airports, for airlines and actually for ground handlers as well, this coronavirus has been a complete disaster.
‘The only thing which will be worse is if the country does not continue the work it’s doing on getting on top of it.
‘That’s why quarantine has been introduced at a point where we were getting on top of it. I know there’s a lot of arguments about what we should have been doing at the beginning.’
Travel corridors will come as welcome news to the beleaguered tourism industry, with holiday firms and airlines likely to launch big promotions for last-minute holidays as soon as the announcement is made.
Since June 8, all passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – have been required to go into self-isolation for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.
People who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England, and police are allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ to make sure they follow the rules.
On Monday, Matt Hancock used the press conference to reveal that details of the air bridges will be published shortly.
Passengers arriving from London wear face mask as they exit the arrival area at the El Part de Llobregat airport in Barcelona on Sunday
A man sunbathes in a designated roped-off area on Poniente Beach in Benidorm on June 21, as holidaymakers return to Spain
‘A lot of work is being done on travel corridors, I’ve been working on it over the weekend,’ he said.
‘And we have a formal review date of the quarantine policy at the end of this month on June 29, and we’ll make sure that in good time for that we publish what we plan to do next in terms of where we think – based on the epidemiological advice – we’re able to formalise travel corridors.
‘I know that people are really looking forward to getting this information, but we’ve got to make sure that we get it right and that work is going on right now.’
Ryanair has already seen a doubling of UK bookings for flights in July and August since the beginning of June, and price comparison site Travel Supermarket say demand for holidays to Spain has doubled over the past week compared to the week before.
This comes as more than 4,500 airport workers in the UK and Ireland face the axe after Britain’s biggest airport ground handling company announced plans to shed more than half its staff. Swissport yesterday announced job cuts as the pandemic has damaged the aviation industry.
The firm employs 8,500 workers at airports across the UK, including baggage handlers and check-in staff.
Great British ‘staycation’ scramble: UK booking sites report record sales with one taking new reservations every 11 seconds after Boris Johnson urged Brits to holiday at home this summer
By James Gant and Katie Weston for MailOnline
Britons have been scrambling to arrange holidays at home after lockdown rules on overnight stays were finally lifted – with booking sites today reporting record sales.
Hotels, B&Bs and campsites have seen an unprecedented surge in demand after Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday gave the green light for Britons to return to self-contained accommodation from July 4.
Holidaymakers rushed to arrange stays at luxury lodges, glamping sites and upmarket hotels in the hours after Mr Johnson’s announcement, with one location on the Dorset coast already fully booked until September 6.
Larger hotel chains have also experienced a substantial spike in bookings, with one reporting a 575 per cent increase in the last 24 hours alone.
Britons heading on staycations this summer will be required to adhere to new safety measures, with guests expected to remain more than one metre apart from those outside their party.
There will also be contactless check-ins and increased hygiene measures in place, and guests will not be permitted to welcome any visitors during their stay.
As excited Britons rushed to arrange at-home getaways:
- The upmarket Pig Hotel chain reported it was sold out at the weekend
- Luxury lodge specialist Hoseasons recorded one booking every 11 seconds
- The Pig On The Beach in Swanage, Dorset is fully booked until September 6
- The Pig at Harlyn Bay in Padstow, Cornwall is full until August 21
- Campsites saw increased bookings with Cool Campings up 750 per cent
- Best Western reservations spiked by 575 per cent in the last 24 hours
- Brightham House Boutique Bed & Breakfast in Devon saw record bookings
- Sykes Holiday Cottages said its bookings have shot up by 221 per cent
Brightham House Boutique Bed & Breakfast in Salcombe, Devon, has seen a huge surge too, with the most amount of bookings it has ever had in a day
James Warner Smith from Cool Camping (pictured, one of its sites in the peak District), which focuses on independent glamping and camping sites, said bookings on Tuesday had increased by 750 per cent compared with the same day last year
Mr Johnson’s new guidance applies only to England, but self-catering holiday accommodation in Northern Ireland will open again on Friday and hotels will follow on July 3.
A decision will be taken in Wales on July 9, with the Scottish Government reviewing its own lockdown restrictions on the same day.
Hotels and B&Bs
Several hotels eclipsed their previous booking records after the announcement on Tuesday, as Britons proved they still have the appetite to get away after three months in lockdown.
The upmarket Pig hotel chain, which has seven locations across the UK, has sold out of rooms at weekends after a staggering 186 per cent increase in bookings in the last 24 hours.
The Pig On The Beach in Swanage, Dorset, is fully booked every day until September 6 and The Pig At Harlyn Bay in Padstow, Cornwall is full until August 21.
A spokesman said: ‘We obviously must reiterate that we have capacity restrictions and physical distancing measures in place, and that we are monitoring bookings closely – but I’m sure every hotel group is saying the same.
‘As we already went out to our database which is quite active with us, our main surge in room bookings was on the 8th June following our mailing, however in the 12-3pm window around Boris’s announcement yesterday there was an increase in traffic on site between of around 111 per cent on same time the day prior and 186 per cent in transactions.’
The Pig hotel chain (pictured, a location in Canterbury, Kent) has sold out of rooms at weekends after a staggering 186 per cent increase in bookings since yesterday
Scott Browning, owner of Brightham House Boutique Bed & Breakfast in Devon, said his firm has seen the most reservations ever experienced in a single day.
He told MailOnline: ‘It’s had a massive effect, we had 15 bookings yesterday – the most bookings we’ve ever had in one day.
‘Today we’ve had about five or six so far, lots of emails and phone enquiries which we sort of knew would happen but it’s going to be good now, hopefully going to come back to life.
‘We’re opening on Saturday, July 4, our guidelines have just been released and we’re going to put together a guidance package and email that out to all the customers.
‘Normally we are full in July and August anyway but this year more than ever, we’ll be inundated really, especially if the weather stays nice.’
Best Western, which has 300 hotels in Britain, also saw a massive spike in bookings over the last day, with a 575 per cent increase in reservations.
Head of hotels Andrew Denton said: ‘I would describe yesterday as crazy and exciting at the same time.
‘The number of people on the site was above the same date last year when the world was open and we hadn’t heard of Covid.’
Travel search engine Booking.com revealed the most desired locations in the UK on its website were Blackpool, Liverpool, Brighton, Bournemouth and Manchester.
It said over the past few months, in-country stays featured in over half of all searches put into wish lists on the site.
Scott Browning, owner of Brightham House Boutique Bed & Breakfast in Devon, said his firm had seen its most amount of reservations in a single day
Sheena Kennedy, one of the owners of Lindeth Fell Country House Bed and Breakfast in Bowness-on-Windermere, added she had lots of calls over getting a place from July 31.
She told MailOnline: ‘Today is the first day we’ve been taking bookings, we haven’t been taking any before that. September looks the busiest and hopefully October is going to be busy too.’
Angela Noverraz, owner of Trevose Harbour House in St Ives, Cornwall said: ‘Since yesterday the phone has definitely been ringing a lot more.
‘We previously had provisional reservations with guests knowing that July 4 was going to be a possible date, but a lot more bookings were definitely coming in since yesterday.’
She added: ‘We expect a busy summer, especially in August, September, October and also the seasons where we would have been slower I think with people not having had those short breaks like bank holidays.
‘We will probably be taking lots of bookings in October and November time as well when we would normally see a slow down.’
Campsites and holiday parks
The owners of campsites and holiday parks across Britain also experienced an unprecedented surge in sales following yesterday’s announcement.
Sandra Hicks from Tregarton Park in Mevagissey said: ‘There’s certainly been a surge in people wanting to book. It’s been non-stop this morning.’
Naomi from East Thorne in Bude said: ‘The phone has definitely been busier. A lot of people pre-empted the opening and we’ve had a steady flow of booking before yesterday.’
And Charlotte from Sun Haven Holiday Park in Newquay added: ‘The phone’s been ringing non-stop. Today has been all over the place.’
Meanwhile in Cornwall some holiday parks for after July 4 have already been filled, according to Cornwall Live.
The huge surge in demand was replicated for glamping sites, which also experienced a substantial boost in trade.
Cool Camping, which offers luxury stays in yurts, treehouses and bell tents, said bookings on Tuesday had increased by 750 per cent compared with the same day last year.
Spokesman James Warner Smith said: ‘It’s been crazy. We saw an immediate surge with some of the highest traffic ever on our website. Yesterday saw the most bookings we’ve ever had in a day.’
He said bookings were up again on Wednesday, suggesting the ‘spike’ is more of a surge, with many people who have had holidays cancelled or who have unused leave looking to book something.
He added: ‘People, after a long time at home, are looking forward to going somewhere new.’
Website traffic to Canopy and Stars, which offers treehouses, yurts, cabins and Gypsy caravans, surged by 230 per cent in the hour after the PM’s speech.
Managing Director Mike Bevens told the Guardian: ‘We are seeing exceptionally high demand and availability is now evaporating. People need to book quickly if they want a holiday in the UK this summer.’
Clamping site Kentmere farm pods, at South Lakes hill farm by the Kentmere Valley, lakes said it will open from July 6 but only has a few spaces left.
A spokesman said: ‘We only have few gaps left, so we are expecting all pods to be full.
‘We haven’t had to change the site given the space we have, everything is distanced and the washing areas are within the pods.’
Hoseasons Holidays’ year-on-year sales were up 270 per cent by the end of Tuesday, with sister company Cottages.com reporting a 455 per cent increase as both brands surpassed their record sales days.
Simon Altham, chief commercial officer of Awaze UK, the parent firm of both brands, said: ‘We were expecting greater levels of interest, but the surge in demand was still surprising and we certainly hadn’t expected a record day.
‘Over the last few weeks we’ve seen volumes of inquiries and bookings increase on a daily basis, as people begin to become more confident about booking a UK holiday.
‘Government confirmation seems to have just given people an extra level of certainty.
Luxury lodge specialist Hoseasons (pictured, one of its sites in Wroxham, Norfolk) got a booking every 11 seconds in the hours after PM Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday
From July 4 people will be allowed to stay in self-contained accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and campsites as long as shared facilities can be kept clean. Pictured: One of Sykes Holiday Cottages in Ludlow, Shropshire
‘All the evidence suggests that holidays remain a priority for most people, and this year more than ever the chance to get away is something customers are very much looking forward to.
‘July and August are likely to be very busy as a result, but we’re also expecting greater than usual levels of demand for September and October too as the season extends.
‘At the moment holidaying closer to home is good for the soul and the UK economy.’
Travel agency Sykes Holiday Cottages said its bookings have shot up by 221 per cent compared to the same day last year.
CEO Graham Donoghue said: ‘We’ve seen a significant increase in bookings for later this year, showing that confidence is returning and just how eager we all are to take a much-needed break away this year.’
Popular resort brands such as Center Parcs, Haven, Butlin’s and Pontins have also revealed they plan to reopen for the summer.
Center Parcs Longleat Forest in Wiltshire will reopen on July 13 with new social distancing measures and PPE for staff.
The resort will also boost cleaning of general areas and install hand sanitiser stations throughout its facilities.
A statement read: ‘We know that reopening isn’t going to be easy but we are confident we can, and will, re-open in a way that meets government requirements and guidelines and always has your safety and the safety of our staff as our number one priority.
Center Parcs Longleat Forest in Wiltshire will reopen on July 13 with new social distancing measures and PPE for staff
‘We now have our full team of experts working at pace to review every single element of the Center Parcs experience, so that we are ready to reopen when the time is right.
‘We know we will have to make some changes, but we will stay as close and as true to the current Center Parcs experience that we all know and love as possible, celebrating our wonderful forest environments, our wildlife and a range of fun family activities.
‘We will need to consider how our guests and staff move around our villages, we are blessed with 400 acres of woodland but we will need to help everyone keep interactions with those outside of your households to a minimum.’
But some parts of the park will have to remain shut for now due to social distancing guidelines.
The statement added: ‘Our team is looking at every single activity we currently offer and we will need to find some new and creative ways to run some of them and unfortunately, there may be some that we just can’t operate in the first few weeks or so.
‘Our restaurants will look a little different too, initially with reduced menus and a greater focus on takeaways and we will adopt the same approach taken by the major supermarkets in our own ParcMarket.’
Butlin’s will open its doors for the first time in nearly four months on July 16, but there will be changes for visitors.
Butlin’s will open its doors for the first time in nearly four months on July 16, but there will be changes for visitors
As people drive in they will be signposted to a specific entrance to get the keys to their accommodation.
Like Center Parcs, there will be increased cleaning taking place throughout the resorts, with sanitiser stations littered across them.
Some restaurants – including buffets, just with no self service – will stay open but with strict social distancing rules to follow and new opening times.
There will be the usual entertainment services for visitors, but with a reduced capacity per show.
The Butlin’s website says: ‘We have a strict cleaning and hygiene policy in place and you’ll be assigned a room that has been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and sealed before arrival.
‘Our housekeeping teams are well equipped with the correct PPE and cleaning products to ensure your break is both safe and comfortable
‘To minimise contact with others, we will be removing our accommodation servicing during your stay so that you can truly relax in the knowledge that nobody other than you and your family will be entering your accommodation whilst you’re here.
‘Should you need additional towels and bedding during your stay, you can request these from our Guest Services team via the app.’
It added: ‘All equipment used during our activities will be sanitised thoroughly in between sessions and group numbers will be limited to make sure that those participating can do so at a safe distance.
‘You’ll also be asked to sanitise your hands at the start and end of every activity.’
Pontins is set to reopen its Holiday Parks and Sand Bay & Pakefield Holiday Villages on July 17.
Pontins is set to reopen its Holiday Parks and Sand Bay & Pakefield Holiday Villages on July 17
There will be no all inclusive holidays on offer but self-catered can be booked. Unlike Butlin’s its entertainment services will be cancelled until further notice.
Visitors can take part in activities during their stay but the number of people involved will be reduced.
Pontins said in a statement: ‘Pontins Holidays takes the health & safety of all its guests and staff very seriously and as such please be advised we will review and update this information as it is released by the government.’
Tourists can return to Haven’s resorts from July 6 as it looks to get up and running just two days after the new rules come into effect.
The firm has released details of its Haven Caravan Cleanliness Guarantee, which will see upped cleaning services and strict social distancing rules.
People have to arrive at the sites in their allotted time window, before they are shown to their caravan.
There will also be a one-way system round the resorts for customers to make sure they do not come into unnecessary contact with each other.
Director of guest and proposition for Haven Gerard Tempest told the Sun: ‘Right now we are working on plans to have them manned from 7am to 7pm, with staff cleaning each shower cubicle and toilet between each use with anti-viral cleaning products.
‘After that, we will still keep the facilities open but have sanitising wipes available for guests to clean the facilities themselves.’
Other hotel operators have already revealed how they will reopen after lockdown with mini-bars and buffet breakfasts taken off the menu.
But some of the biggest chains announced a raft of changes yesterday after Mr Johnson’s announcement.
French company Accor, which owns brands including Novotel, Mercure, Ibis and Sofi tel, is aiming to reopen some of its 270 hotels from the start of July.
The chain will introduce new systems, which will include taking paperwork and telephones out of rooms, the Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotel Groups announced a ‘five point plan’ to get its hotels reopened, which includes going cashless and room-service for breakfast.
And like Hilton Hotels and Resorts group, they have promised to deep clean ‘key-touch areas’ in all rooms after guests have left.
Check-in times are likely to be staggered – or set later in the afternoon – to allow for deep cleaning of rooms.
Valet parking and baggage handling could also be a thing of the past, though luggage may be disinfected on arrival.
Protective screens, distance-marking lines and one-way routes may be implemented in larger properties.
Boris Johnson announced staycations could now happen in an announcement in the House of Commons
Popular holiday spots such as St Ives in Cornwall may soon be accepting visitors again
Hotel bars, if they are opened, will likely be table service only, while dining tables will be arranged to satisfy the two-metre rule, and probably be without linen.
Room service is also encouraged with many properties dropping the tray charge. Menu choices are likely to be restricted and delivery will be only to the bedroom door.
The speech was greeted with relief by tourism bosses who hailed it as a much-needed step in the right direction.
Joss Croft, chief executive of trade association UKinbound, said: ‘The announcement that pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions can officially open on July 4 will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, who have earned very little revenue since the beginning of March.
‘Reducing social distancing from two metres to one will also ensure that many more businesses will be able to viably reopen at the start of next month.
‘We’re pleased that the Government has also listened to industry and is on the verge of agreeing air corridors with a number of countries – a step that signals that the UK’s tourism inbound industry is keen to welcome international tourists again.’
Camping and Caravanning Club introduced strict social distancing rules ahead of reopening
Pitches will have six-metre spacing the number of people on club sites will be reduced
Her joy was echoed by travel organisation Abta, but they warned plenty of notice had to be given to the sector.
A spokesman said: ‘The measures announced yesterday to ease lockdown further in England and allow people to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, and take domestic holidays from 4 July, is a step in the right direction on the road to restarting travel in earnest.
‘With travel restrictions in place for the last few months, there is latent demand to travel with people wanting to visit close family and friends and have something to look forward to.
‘However, the travel sector remains in a perilous state, with redundancies announced each week, and more needs to be done to help the whole sector recover.
‘We need a more comprehensive road map as soon as possible that includes time frames for relaxing international travel restrictions too so businesses and customers can plan ahead.
‘The process of sending people on holiday is not like turning on a tap. As much advance notice as possible from the Government is required for travel companies to restart operations.’
Receptions, play areas and other communal areas will remain closed on their sites
The Camping and Caravanning Club have also issued guidance on social distancing measures on their website.
In a statement, it said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to open the majority of our Club Sites in England on the 4th July 2020.
‘Of course, the safety of our campers and site teams remains our highest priority and we have been working hard to welcome you back.
‘To ensure the safety of our campers and site colleagues, we’ve introduced some new steps to safer camping in line with government guidance.’
Some camping enthusiasts yesterday reported they had been asked to hire or bring their own portaloos by some sites who had started taking bookings.
And the National Caravan Council described the lockdown easing a boost for the industry.
Director General John Lally said: ‘This is great news for the 2+ million caravan owners and for the parks industry in England – and not a moment too soon.
‘We have been working hard to explain to Government that caravan products are ”socially distanced by design” and that the parks industry across the UK can be safe places for people to holiday.
‘Not only are caravans required to be 5m or 6m apart, but caravan parks are big open spaces, the ideal base for hard working families to enjoy the great outdoors.
‘Parks already are working on safety protocols to keep their staff and visitors safe. So we are delighted that the great British caravan holiday can recommence in less than two weeks time.’
The relaxation on July 4 – Independence Day in the US – comes amid growing optimism that the virus, which has claimed more than 42,000 lives in the UK, is finally reducing to manageable proportions.
Some 2.2million vulnerable people who have been ‘shielding’ for more than three months were on Monday told they could finally leave their homes from July 6.