You can bag a summer bargain – IF coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted

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There’s been uproar about the Government’s new 14-day quarantine rule, which starts on Monday. And the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is sticking to its ban on all non-essential overseas travel.

But both these could be reversed — and if you think that could happen by July or August, you might just want to take a punt on a package getaway in the Med.

With the travel industry on its knees, pressure is on to make holidays to our favourite destinations possible from July, probably using ‘air bridges’ (also known as ‘travel corridors’) — reciprocal quarantine-free arrangements between certain countries.

With the travel industry on its knees, pressure is on to make holidays to our favourite destinations possible from July

For those brave enough, there are plenty of bargains, some offering as much as 60 per cent off — with financial protection under the Package Travel Regulations in case of cancellation, and Atol (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence) cover should a company go bust.

Here’s Escape’s guide to choosing wisely: 

PORTUGAL RARING TO GO

Beaches reopen today in Portugal, with a three-metre rule between umbrellas

 Beaches reopen today in Portugal, with a three-metre rule between umbrellas

The quarantine for British tourists is lifted today, opening up the possibility of an ‘air bridge’ soon: talks are already under way.

Facemasks are mandatory on public transport. Hotels are reopening, and restaurant/bars are back with 50 per cent capacity and 11pm closing. Beaches reopen today, with a three-metre rule between umbrellas.

Chance of a summer break? 4.5/5

Tempting deals: A fortnight at the Monica Isabel Beach Club in Albufeira on the Algarve from £399pp, self-catering, departing Stansted on July 4 (onthebeach.co.uk) — 61 per cent off.

Or a fortnight at Club Amarilis in Portimao on the Algarve from £925pp, departing Manchester on July 25 (loveholidays.com) — 33 per cent off.

SPAIN STAYS POSITIVE

The country’s 14-day quarantine ends on July 1. But its government — somewhat confusingly — says the UK’s coronavirus infection rate must fall before British tourists are given the all-clear to go.

If this happens, an ‘air bridge’ could quickly be established as Spain is Britain’s number-one tourist destination, attracting 18 million of us a year. Tourism is crucial to the nation’s economy.

Beaches, hotels, restaurant, bars and museums have already reopened with social distancing. In places at ‘phase three’ of the lockdown, bullfights are permitted (with one spectator per nine square metres).

Chance of a summer break? 4/5

Tempting deals: A fortnight at the TUI BLUE Flamingo Beach on Lanzarote from £1,316pp all-inclusive, departing Gatwick on July 20 (tui.co.uk) — 25 per cent off.

Or a fortnight at the Globales Palmanova hotel on Majorca from £1,474pp all-inclusive, departing Manchester on July 25 (jet2holidays.com) — 13 per cent off.

HOPES HIGH IN ITALY

The Italian tourist board in Britain is concerned about a shortage of UK-Italy flights, but expects tourism to be up and running in July and August

The Italian tourist board in Britain is concerned about a shortage of UK-Italy flights, but expects tourism to be up and running in July and August

On Wednesday, Italy dropped its quarantine rule for Britons. So tourism appears to be on soon, with a possible early ‘air bridge’.

The Italian tourist board in Britain is concerned about a shortage of UK-Italy flights, but expects tourism to be up and running in July and August.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and shops are open with social distancing. From June 15, shows at theatres and outdoor spaces will be allowed.

Chance of a summer break? 4/5

Tempting deals: A ten-night stay at the Grand Hotel Hermitage in Sorrento from £836pp, half-board, departing on August 7 from East Midlands airport (firstchoice.co.uk) — 20 per cent off. Or a fortnight at Country House Tre Esse hotel near Assisi in Umbria, departing from Heathrow on July 25, from £697pp B&B (citalia.com) — 11 per cent off.

A CHANCE FOR FRANCE

Toujours Provence: But France is closed to tourists . . . for now (until at least June 15)

Toujours Provence: But France is closed to tourists . . . for now (until at least June 15)

High hopes of a tourism entente cordiale between Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron proved short-lived last month. The French border is closed to tourists until at least June 15.

However, France remains a prime candidate for an early ‘air bridge’ due to its proximity and being our second most popular destination, with ten million visits a year. On Tuesday, bars, cafes and restaurants reopened for the first time in two months. Hotels and campsites can reopen later this month.

Chance of a summer break? 4.5/5

Tempting deals: A fortnight at the Residhotel Villa Maupassant hotel in Cannes from £826pp, departing from Manchester on July 12 (loveholidays.com) — 16 per cent off.

Or two weeks at Pierre & Vacances Hotel de l’Esterel in Cap Esterel from £1,376pp, departing from Stansted on July 18, car hire included (jet2holidays.com) — 10 per cent off. 

GREECE GEARS UP

New daily cases of coronavirus have dropped to zero in Greece recently. Archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, have reopened

New daily cases of coronavirus have dropped to zero in Greece recently. Archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, have reopened

From June 15, tourists from 29 countries will be allowed into Greece without quarantine, but not from Britain. However, there is a strong chance the UK will be given the nod on June 30.

New daily cases of coronavirus have dropped to zero in Greece recently. Archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, have reopened. Hotels will open on June 15. Restaurants and tavernas are back with social distancing. Ferries are running.

Chance of a summer break? 4/5

Tempting deals: A week at the Theodorus Fiona Apartments in Roda, Corfu, from £379pp on July 31 with Gatwick flights (olympicholidays.com) — 38 per cent off.

Or a week at the Meganisi Hotel on Meganisi in the Ionian Sea from £960pp B&B on July 19, departing from Heathrow (ionianislandholidays.com) — 15 per cent off.

COUNT ON CYPRUS

British tourists are banned, although the island is gradually reopening with tourists from 13 countries allowed from Tuesday.

The Cypriot government has made positive sounds about British tourists being welcomed back, promising to take care of medication costs, food and lodgings for tourists who test positive for coronavirus during their stay, as well as their families.

Chance of a summer break? 3.5/5

Tempting deals: A week at the Makronissos Hotel in Ayia Napa from £489pp with Gatwick flights on August 25 (olympicholidays.com) — 35 per cent off.

Or a fortnight at the Atlantica Oasis hotel in Limassol from £1,220pp, all-inclusive, departing Manchester on August 27 (firstchoice.co.uk) — 10 per cent off.

STAY SAFE IN CROATIA

Croatia is another country primed for an ‘air bridge’, especially as Croatian Airlines flights begin from Heathrow to Zagreb on June 15

Croatia is another country primed for an ‘air bridge’, especially as Croatian Airlines flights begin from Heathrow to Zagreb on June 15

Coronavirus is well under control in Croatia, so it’s one of the safest countries to visit.

Tourists from ten EU countries were recently given the go-ahead to visit without restrictions, although the UK’s director of the Croatian tourist office says Britons can also come if they complete an online form (entercroatia.mup.hr) and have a printed accommodation confirmation. This is yet another country primed for an ‘air bridge’, especially as Croatian Airlines flights begin from Heathrow to Zagreb on June 15. Many, but not all, hotels have reopened. Beaches are open with social distancing.

Chance of a summer break? 4/5

Tempting deals: A fortnight at the TUI SUNEO Supetar hotel on Brac from £1,026pp all-inclusive on August 7 from Gatwick (tui.co.uk) — 28 per cent off. Or a fortnight at the Sea View Residence I, near Dubrovnik, from £2,699pp from Stansted on August 13 (jamesvillas.co.uk) — 17 per cent off.

NO-GO IN TURKEY?

The FCO says: ‘Passengers who are not Turkish nationals or residents of Turkey are not permitted to enter Turkey.’ How long this will last is unclear. Returning citizens are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

A glimmer of hope is offered by Turkish Airlines’ resumption of international flights next week.

Chance of a summer break? 2.5/5

Tempting deals: A fortnight at Villa d’Louca in Dalyan in the Dalaman region from £1,399pp with Gatwick flights on August 17 (jamesvillas.co.uk) — 40 per cent off.

Or a fortnight at the Kusadasi Golf and Spa Resort from £562pp all-inclusive with flights from Stansted on August 31 (onthebeach.co.uk) — 25 per cent off.

WHAT WE THINK

Wait and see is the safest option — and be ready to pounce if travel is given the green light. The boldest travellers may consider bagging the very best deals ahead of time.

  • Entry requirements/prices correct as we went to press.

WHAT ABOUT FURTHER AFIELD?

MALDIVES

Travellers will need to show proof of a negative test before entering the Maldives

Travellers will need to show proof of a negative test before entering the Maldives

International flights to the island nation will resume on July 1. The country has had just seven deaths and the government is issuing a ‘Safe Tourism Licence’ to hotels which meet certain requirements, such as a medic on call and holding an ‘adequate stock’ of PPE. Travellers will need to show a confirmed booking at a hotel with such a licence and proof of a negative test.

MEXICO

Hopes to welcome international travellers by the end of June. A private initiative offering deals and discounts has been set up by 200 businesses in Cancun to encourage visitors. Perks include two free nights for every two nights paid for by guests and 20 per cent off at theme parks, golf courses and spas.

SOUTH AFRICA

The country has had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. All tourist attractions, restaurants, parks and beaches are shut. Borders are completely closed and international tourism will not commence until February 2021.

SRI LANKA

International flights from select countries will resume on August 1. Tourists will only be allowed to stay in approved five-star hotels with strict measures in place and will have their temperature taken daily. Visitors will need to present proof of a negative test before boarding flights and will also be tested on arrival at the airport.

USA

In Los Angeles, restaurants and beaches are reopening, but tourists flying from the UK and EU are banned

In Los Angeles, restaurants and beaches are reopening, but tourists flying from the UK and EU are banned

Restrictions are handled by individual states and vary wildly. In New York they will not start to lift until next week. In Los Angeles, restaurants and beaches are reopening, but tourists flying from the UK and EU are banned. President Trump has said the country will ‘start to open up’ to Europeans soon.

CARIBBEAN

Restrictions vary between the islands, but most are attempting to reopen as soon as possible. St Lucia (the island’s flag is pictured) began welcoming visitors from the U.S. on Tuesday.

In Antigua, the first commercial flight landed on Thursday, while international flights will resume in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from July 1.

Jamaica’s beaches have reopened to domestic tourists, as have some hotels and resorts.

AUSTRALIA

Only citizens, residents and family members can enter the country and even then they have to quarantine for two weeks. Travel from New Zealand could restart in September. Up to 50 people have been able to dine-in at cafes, restaurants and pubs. Most beaches are open.

Harriet Sime

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