Foreign holidays for Britons are unlikely to restart in large numbers until at least August, UK’s ambassadors to destination countries have warned local officials.
As Boris Johnson tonight announced lockdown will be delayed by a further four weeks, foreign tourist chiefs are not expecting to welcome a large number of British holidaymakers to their countries for two months.
Toni Mayor, President of the Valencian Hotel Association Association (HOSBEC), said he believed UK tourism will only be in full swing in August after speaking to the UK ambassador Hugh Elliott.
‘The overall infection levels in Spain are still high in places and the picture is uneven, so I think we will have to wait, possibly until July 20 [for restrictions on travel to ease],’ Mr Mayor told The Telegraph.
Mr Mayor explained that this would mean UK tourism would not restart in large numbers until at least August as tour operators would need two weeks to get back to their normal operation capacity.
Foreign holidays for Britons are unlikely to restart in large numbers until at least August, UK’s ambassadors to destination countries have warned local officials. Pictured: A largely empty beach in Fuengirola, southern Spain
Local tourist officials in Turkey (pictured: an empty Oludeniz beach in Turkey) were also reportedly told by Foreign Office officials they should not expect travel restrictions from the UK to be lifted until August
Local tourist officials in Turkey were also reportedly told by Foreign Office officials they should not expect travel restrictions from the UK to be lifted until August.
The development comes as airlines have started shrinking their schedules until late July as the government pushed back Freedom Day by a month.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are cancelling flights until after the new July 19 date as demand plummets.
Virgin Atlantic pushed back journeys from Heathrow to Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago until October as well as transatlantic flights until mid-July.
Meanwhile Stobart Air, which operates regional services for Aer Lingus, this morning ceased trading due to a lack of demand.
Giving the bad news at a Downing Street briefing, the PM defied fury from Tory MPs and the hospitality industry to insisted he cannot press ahead until more people are double-jabbed
Tonight, Mr Johnson announced he will delay the end of lockdown until July 19 after doctors urged him to wait until more people have been double jabbed after a sharp rise in the Indian variant.
The rise in cases has meant only 11 countries are on the Government’s green travel list. The government took a snap decision to axe Portugal from its ‘green’ travel list over fears of rising coronavirus cases in the UK and risks posed by new variants.
That forced tens of thousands of British holiday makers to rush back to the UK, and ruined the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands more.
The rise in cases has meant only 11 countries are on the Government’s green travel list. The government took a snap decision to axe Portugal from its ‘green’ travel list over fears of rising coronavirus cases in the UK and risks posed by new variants. Pictured: A largely empty beach in Albuferia, Portugal
The green travel list will be reviewed next week to see if any countries could be added – but it is unlikely as government ministers believe Europe are two months behind Britain in stemming the rising number of coronavirus cases.
It means it could be late July until major restrictions could be lifted on overseas travel to Europe.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency said airlines were shrinking their schedule because demand is plummeting.
He told MailOnline: ‘Airlines are reducing their flying schedules fast as government policies on overseas travel are putting off consumers from flying.
‘There simply isn’t enough demand to fly when so many countries are on amber and swab testing is so expensive.
‘So we’re now seeing airlines cutting their flying and staffing costs rapidly, as they ground more aircraft and return thousands of cabin crew and other staff to furlough.
‘The government is strangling the aviation sector even though the majority of adults in the UK have received both vaccine doses and should be given the freedom to fly.’
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are cancelling flights until after the new July 19 date as demand plummets (file photo)
He added: ‘Why are we in a worse position than last summer when we had no vaccines?
‘The government should follow America’s and Europe’s lead and enable fully-jabbed citizens to fly more flexibly.’
‘Why doesn’t the Government give an opening up date for the travel sector in the same way as it is doing for the domestic sector, so that both can benefit from the vaccination rollout,’ Mr Charles said.
Nicky Kelvin, head of travel website The Points Guy UK, added: ‘The majority of the travel industry predicted a further opening up of travel at the last Government announcement.
‘But instead further restrictions were put in place and most surprisingly, Portugal was removed from the green list of destinations for travellers to visit.
‘Unsurprisingly, this has caused confusion and reduced confidence for holidaymakers and the tightening of revenue potential for airlines and other holiday companies.
‘For leisure travel to be truly viable in the UK, we’ll need to see the opening up of further travel corridors and a reliable roadmap by the Government which will in turn instil confidence that would push would-be holidaymakers to make bookings.
‘Elsewhere in Europe we are seeing a steady influx in travel. It was revealed this week that Lufthansa would begin flying its 747-8 Jumbo jets and Airbus A350 widebodies between Frankfurt and Palma de Mallorca in order to cope with an increased demand.
‘Meanwhile in the UK, airlines have been forced to slash schedules and re-furlough thousands of staff because of the delays to the restart of international travel.’
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.