HOLIDAYS abroad are unlikely to happen for a few months still, with the pandemic raging on through Europe.
However, some countries are beginning to lift their strict lockdown measures – which could be good news for British tourists.
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The current UK advice remains to avoid any non-essential travel, with similar sentiments in EU countries.
Yet even the hardest hit, including Italy and Spain, are lowering some of the harsh restrictions put in place six weeks ago.
Even Greece and Cyprus are remaining optimistic about British holidaymakers returning by the summer.
While there are still hopes for a summer holiday, there is no guarantee this is to happen just yet, with advice changing at short notice due to the unpredictable nature of the virus.
Some countries are also refusing to give an estimated date of return, with France and Egypt claiming it is too early to tell.
No country also knows for sure when tourists will be able to return – here are the latest predictions by popular holiday destinations in regard to seeing Brits once again.
France – 2021
France has been the strictest on resuming overseas travel, with even domestic tourism looking unlikely this summer
Local hoteliers and tour agencies are fearing tourism won’t be able to return until 2021.
Chateaux owner Stéphanie Gombert told Forbes: “I doubt for the whole year we will have any international tourists.”
President of the Departmental Tourism Committee, Sylvie Chevallier added: “We know that foreigners will not return in 2020.”
It was recently announced that Brits would be exempt from the 14-day quarantine rule when entering France – but no dates have been given for the relaxation of international visitors.
Spain – August
Spain enforced one of the strictest lockdowns, banning people from going outside unless near their own homes.
They have started lifting restrictions, with beaches opening by next month to locals but there are conflicting views on when Brits will be able to return.
The islands, which rely on British tourism, are calling for holidaymakers to return by next month.
However, Majorca is likely to only see German tourists by July at the earliest, with Brits expected by August.
The Canary Islands are less positive – the island’s president Angel Victor Torres told Spanish daily El Mundo: “In October, November or December, which are good months in the Canary Islands, we can begin to receive tourists from other countries.”
The country has not given any specific dates yet however, with current speculation from ministers and tourism leaders.
What about flights to Europe?
Some airlines are beginning to resume flights to Europe, while others are remaining grounded for the upcoming months.
Here are the airlines which have announced plans to restart routes – and those which are yet to come.
- British Airways – to resume 50 per cent of flights by July
- Wizz Air – flying current limited schedule to Europe
- Ryanair – flights grounded until mid-June
- EasyJet – flights grounded indefinitely
- Jet2 – flights grounded until mid-June
- TUI – flights grounded until mid-June
Portugal – 2021
Despite Portugal avoiding the same high number of coronavirus compared to Spain, they are also the most pessimistic about the return of tourists.
The Algarve fears that tourists might not come back until 2021.
Eliderico Viegas, head of the Association of Algarve Hotels and Tourism Enterprises, warned that “many hotels wont open this year”.
He explained to Bloomberg that even if the country handles the pandemic well, he doesn’t expect tourists to return to the region until April next year.
Until then, the industry will have to rely on domestic holidays with local bookings – although fears this is “insufficient” in keeping them open.
Italy – July
Italy was initially one of the hardest hit countries by coronavirus, but is also starting to reduce their lockdown measures.
Brits could return by the summer holidays, with bars and cafes to open by June 1.
Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian National Tourist Board, told local media: “We will only start (with tourists) from the European Union, and at the earliest, in July or August.
“The problem is that, unlike other sectors, tourism relies on reservations, so the window of time open for operators will be really tight.”
If coronavirus cases spike, tourism won’t be able to return, however.
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