Portugal ranked among best-value holiday destinations - P.A.MEDIA
BY Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
Portugal has been rated one of the world’s best-value destinations by UK holidaymakers.
Some 89% of people believe the country offers “good value” to visitors, a poll commissioned by Post Office Travel Money indicated.
The figure was matched by Greece and mainland Spain, but no destination anywhere in the world received a higher score.
A total of 1,517 people who have taken a foreign holiday in the past five years were questioned.
Portugal’s leading resort area, the Algarve, also emerged as the cheapest Eurozone destination for tourist staples.
This is due to average prices such as 62p for a cup of filter coffee in a bar or cafe, £3.97 for a 200ml bottle of sun cream from a supermarket, and £30.49 for a three-course meal for two with a bottle of house wine.
Portugal will be one of the most popular destinations for UK travellers in the coming weeks after it was put on the Government’s green list for travel.
People in England and Wales can return from the country without needing to self-isolate on their return.
Other destinations found to offer the lowest costs for tourist goods include Sunny Beach, Bulgaria; Marmaris, Turkey; Bali, Indonesia; and Cape Town, South Africa.
Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: “People who are hoping to take an overseas holiday and have not decided on their destination should make sure they know the regulations that apply to countries they are considering at the time of booking.
“When budgeting for their holiday, they should include all the costs of travel abroad in their planning.
“This does not just mean comparing package prices or flight costs but also doing their homework to check how resort prices have changed since their last trip.
“Big falls in many European and long-haul resorts spell good news – so choose carefully.”
Turkey Eases Virus Curbs as Lockdown Offers Summer Season Hope - BLOOMBERG
Turkey will ease its virus restrictions from Monday as new cases of Covid-19 decline following a three-week lockdown, offering some hope for the key summer tourist season.
Coronavirus cases plummeted to 11,472 on Saturday from a record high of 63,082 a month ago, though that’s still above the target of no more than 5,000 cases set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he announced the national lockdown from April 29.
Most travel restrictions will be lifted but nighttime and weekend curfews will remain in place, and restaurants will only open for food deliveries, according to an Interior Ministry decree on Sunday. The government fears that a new surge in infections could see a wave of hotel cancellations at the beginning of the holiday period, a critical generator of revenue for Turkey.
If tourists don’t return to Turkish beaches this year, the nation’s current-account balance and lira are likely to be hit.
Turkish Tourism Faces Prospect of Another Troubled Year
On Saturday, Turkey ended a requirement that tourists from 14 countries, including the U.K., provide a negative virus test to enter. But it removed Israel from the list of exempted countries after accusing it of using excessive force against Palestinian militants in Gaza, leading to civilian deaths.
Turkey Imposes New Virus Curbs to Save Summer Tourist Season
Dubai Relaxes Coronavirus Restrictions as Cases Decline - BLOOMBERG
Dubai allowed hotels to operate at full capacity, permitted bars to reopen and gave the go-ahead for live concerts and sporting events from Monday as coronavirus cases drop in the United Arab Emirates.
The relaxation of rules mainly applies to those who have been vaccinated, according to a statement. The UAE, of which Dubai is a part, has one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns. Restaurant seating capacity has been raised to 10 people per table from six.
The UAE reported 1,251 new cases of the virus on Sunday, the lowest this year.
Aviation unions shut Kaduna airport over state’s treatment of civil servants - BUSINESSDAY
BY Ifeoma Okeke
Aviation unions have shut down the Kaduna airport due to the State’s treatment of civil servants. Aviation unions under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) on Monday joined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to press home their demand to the Kaduna State Government by shutting down the Kaduna Airport in compliance with the strike action declared organised labour in the state.
Kaduna airport workers were seen on Monday barricading the gates of the airports in compliance with the industrial action which started from midnight of Sunday, 16th May 2021 to midnight of Friday, 21st May 2021 and chanting solidarity songs.
According to the union, the reason was not unconnected to flouting the civil service laws and the unconstitutional sacking of civil servants before they serve their mandatory 35 years or reach 60 years age limit.
Salisu Lawal, first deputy National President of NUATE, representing the national president said the essence of NUATE joining in the strike is in solidarity with the workers of Kaduna state because that injustice to one is an injustice to all.
“If you are sacking more than five people, you have to sit down and negotiate. He first sacked over 2, 500 local government workers and the labour laws state that if you are sacking more than five people you have to sit down and talk with them on how to pay redundancy, they didn’t do that.
Lawal questioned why Kaduna which has one of the highest Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is refusing to do what is right stating that the solidarity is going to continue till Friday there is another directive from the NLC.
Ocheme Aba, general Secretary, NUATE, who was in Kaduna to join efforts at the industrial action added,” What is important is when you go home and your wife and children ask why you are doing this you can explain very well.
“The Kaduna State government has violated several laws Section 20 of the labour Act provides that if you are going to declare workers redundant compulsory it is first of all, you must show good reason why you want to carry out the redundancy and second, if you show good reason, and their unions agree with you then you must negotiate their redundancy benefits.
“Don’t forget terminal benefits but redundancy benefits don’t forget terminal benefits are already established by the conditions of service. That’s not subject to negotiation, you pay the terminal benefit then you pay the negotiated redundancy benefits so he has not done any of that.
“He has violated public service rules that state that a worker is entitled to work for 35 years or till 60 years whichever comes first. He has unilaterally fixed 50 years.”
Britain eases lockdown as Asia outbreaks fuel concern - AFP
Britons hugged their loved ones and streamed into pubs, gyms and other indoor venues on Monday as the country eased pandemic restrictions, but Asia faced more misery with new variants and a cyclone disrupting the fight against a Covid-19 wave ravaging India.
As the United States and Britain move away from harsh restrictions thanks to rapid immunisation campaigns, new strains have forced several countries in Asia to shut schools and impose travel bans, highlighting the persistent global threat posed by the pandemic.
With known global infections approaching 163 million and the rise of new variants complicating the fight, governments still pushed ahead with easing restrictions — a moving step for some.
“I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this… you can hug your loved ones again,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said as businesses reopened in what The Sun tabloid dubbed “Freedom Monday”.
‘Nice to be back’ Across England, Wales and most of Scotland, people on Monday could once again grab a drink, a bite and dine inside pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Cinemas, museums and sports venues also opened their doors for the first time in months.
People were able to once again visit each other at home — and to head to Portugal, where the British are normally the largest tourist contingent.
“It’s nice to get away and be back here,” said Barry Thompson, a 63-year-old retired policeman from Manchester who landed in the southern town of Faro with his wife and son.
“We’re very excited.”
In another sign of life returning to normal in Europe, Disneyland Paris announced it would reopen on June 17.
But authorities have urged caution and warned that with new variants spreading, restrictions could be reintroduced.
India hit by storm The pandemic has claimed more than 3.3 million lives worldwide, and one of the worst outbreaks is in India, where at least 4,000 people are dying from Covid-19 every day.
India was already dealing with limited medical infrastructure and scarce vaccine supplies when a major cyclone in the Arabian Sea packing ferocious winds bore down on the South Asian nation.
Gujarat state moved all Covid-19 patients from hospitals within five kilometres (three miles) off the coast where the storm is expected to hit.
Authorities there were also scrambling to ensure there would be no power cuts at designated Covid-19 hospitals and oxygen plants in the districts under threat from the storm.
Nearly 600 patients in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, were also moved to “safer locations”.
The variant behind the explosive outbreak in India has spread to at least 44 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
They include Singapore, where a growing number of cases has prompted the government to tighten restrictions, including closing schools.
“A lot of people have taken for granted the past few months of peace and stability, but this is a wake-up call,” said Anthony Chang, a hawker stall owner in the city-state.
And authorities in Taiwan, which emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic last year, announced a suspension of classes in schools from Tuesday in Taipei and adjacent New Taipei City as the island battled a surge in infections. The island also banned all foreigners, except residents, from entry or transit for a month.
In South Africa, the continent’s worst-hit country on the cusp of a third wave, authorities on Monday launched a large-scale vaccination campaign aiming to immunise five million people over the age of 60 by end of June.
UNICEF vaccine warning The persistent threat of the coronavirus is casting a shadow on the already delayed Tokyo Olympics, due to begin in less than 10 weeks even with parts of Japan under a state of emergency.
Organisers have insisted that they will go ahead despite the risk, but the opposition was brought into focus Monday when a new poll showed 80 percent of Japanese were against hosting the Games this year.
Japan’s vaccine rollout has been slow despite its wealth, but concerns are growing that poorer nations will be left even further behind because of vaccine inequality.
“We are concerned that the deadly spike in India is a precursor to what will happen if those warnings remain unheeded,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said Monday.
In France, pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi reported positive results for a Phase 2 trial of a Covid vaccine it is developing with Britain’s GSK, which will enable a late-stage trial to start in the coming weeks.
PM urges 'heavy dose of caution' as hugs, indoor pints and foreign holidays return in England - SKYNEWS
As the country moves to stage thre of the PM's roadmap, friends and family will enjoy greater freedom to gather together.
BY Greg Heffer
People across England are again able to enjoy hugs with loved ones, indoor pints and foreign holidays - but Boris Johnson has urged a "heavy dose of caution" due to the threat of the Indian variant of COVID-19.
As the country moves to stage three of the prime minister's roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions today, friends and family will enjoy greater freedom to gather together.
This includes being able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 and gathering indoors in groups of up to six, or as two households.
Pubs and restaurants are also once again able to serve customers indoors, while cinemas can reopen, fans can return to sports stadiums, and the ban on foreign holidays is lifted with people allowed to travel to a limited number of countries on the "green" list.
In addition, the government is now allowing people to choose whether to socially distance with family and friends when they meet up - although ministers have urged people to think carefully about the risks of hugging.
The Showtime Bar in Huddersfield was among the venues opening their doors at midnight, with owner Ian Snowball saying it was "incredible" to be able to welcome those wanting a drink inside.
Finlay Woodhead, 20, who went along with his friend to the Showtime Bar, said: "I'm over the moon, I've been waiting so long. It's so nice to be sat inside where it's warm."
Mr Snowball added: "I think for people from the North, it's kind of special to us, a pub. There's an intimacy when we all get together, with our friends, and we talk."
The prime minister has pushed ahead with the latest lifting of lockdown restrictions despite growing concerns over the possible impact of the so-called Indian variant.
And Mr Johnson has admitted the variant's presence in parts of the country could yet delay England's move to the fourth and final stage of his roadmap - scheduled for 21 June.
That would see all legal limits on social contact removed, so long as tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants continue to be met.
Play Video - Indian variant 'could spread like wildfire'
As England moves to stage three of his roadmap, the prime minister said: "Together we have reached another milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution.
"We are keeping the spread of the variant first identified in India under close observation and taking swift action where infection rates are rising.
"The current data does not indicate unsustainable pressure on the NHS and our extraordinary vaccination programme will accelerate - with second doses being bought forward to give the most vulnerable maximum protection.
"But now everyone must play their part - by getting tested twice a week, coming forward for your vaccine when called and remembering hands, face, space and fresh air.
"I urge everyone to be cautious and take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms today in order to keep the virus at bay."
In Scotland, restrictions have also further relaxed as most mainland areas move to Level 2, meaning people will be able to hug loved ones and socialise indoors, subject to restrictions.
Glasgow and Moray will remain in Level 3 due to virus outbreaks while many island communities have moved to Level 1.
It comes as government figures show more than 20 million adults in the UK are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after receiving both jabs.
Some 391,246 people were given their second dose on Saturday, meaning a total of 20,103,658 (38.2% of all adults) have now had two shots.
Also on Saturday, 237,331 had their first jab, bringing the total number of people who have been given at least one dose to 36,573,354 (69.4% of the adult population).
Meanwhile, the UK has reported another four coronavirus-related deaths and 1,926 new cases in the latest 24-hour period.
This compares with seven deaths and 2,027 cases announced on Saturday, while last Sunday two deaths and 1,770 cases were reported.
More than 1,300 cases of the Indian variant - which is judged to be more transmissible than the Kent variant that drove the UK's deadly second wave of infections during the winter - have so far been found in the UK.
Mr Hancock on Sunday told Sky News that the Indian variant was "becoming the dominant strain in some parts of the country" such as Bolton and Blackburn, while he predicted it could eventually become the dominant variant across the entire UK.
But, although he warned the variant can "spread like wildfire" among those who have not had COVID jabs, Mr Hancock added there was a "high degree of confidence" that existing vaccines protect against the Indian variant.
Ministers are hoping surge testing and the acceleration of second vaccine doses can combat against the growth in Indian variant cases.
Summer travel is returning: Here’s who’s booking and where they’re going - CNBC
BY Monica Buchanan Pitrelli
Europe on the move
More than half (56%) of Europeans intend to travel this summer with the vast majority choosing to stay within the continent, according to the European Travel Commission, a non-profit organization which represents over 30 countries in Europe.
Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents are planning trips to another European country, while 36% intend to stay within their own borders. Of those most likely to travel, 29% are making plans between May and June, while 46% are waiting for July and August, according to the research published in April.
Where Europeans plan to travel this summer
- Spain: 10.4%
- France: 7%
- Greece: 6.2%
- Germany: 5.2%
Source: European Travel Commission
Family and friends are taking a backseat this year; only 19% are booking trips primarily to see them. Two-thirds (66%) of those most likely to travel are motivated by leisure, with 34% favoring a seaside trip.
More than 50% of travelers are willing to fly, while car travel (36%) is the second most popular transport choice.
Portugal is 6th on the list of most popular destinations from the European Travel Commission, but its polling predates a mad dash for bookings by British travelers following Portugal’s inclusion on the U.K.’s “green list” on May 7.
Israel, Iceland and several other countries and overseas territories are also on the green list, which means that from today, travelers from England will not need to quarantine when returning from there.
Small town America
“Americans are continuing to take the opportunity to explore their own backyards and discover destinations within the U.S.,” said Misty Belles, managing director at Virtuoso, a global network of travel agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel.
While Hawaii and other beach locations are attracting those trying to relax after a stressful year, Alaska is enticing travelers who might otherwise have left the United States.
With 30 square miles of sand, the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, Colo. are attracting visitors seeking remote outdoor vacations. Patricia Giraldo | Moment | Getty Images
“High-end travelers who might normally head to more exotic locations, like Africa, are opting for the outdoorsy, adventure playground and big game viewing of Alaska,” she said. “With no cruise ships coming into Alaska’s ports this season, people are exploring by land and discovering more of the interior terrain.”
California is drawing people to perennial favorites like Napa Valley, while travelers on the East Coast are booking trips to Nantucket and Cape Cod, said Belles, adding that summer availability in these areas is already scarce.
Places with less name recognition are drawing travelers too. Nearly 70% of Airbnb searches for the U.S. Memorial Day weekend are for off-the-beaten-path locations that are 50-300 miles from travelers’ homes. The site’s top trending rural locations for the holiday weekend starting May 29 — which is considered by some to be the unofficial start of summer in the United States — are:
- Alamosa County, Colo.
- Nye County, Nev.
- Sanpete County, Utah
- Angel Fire, N.M.
- Forks, Wash.
- Sandpoint, Idaho
- Washington County, Va.
- West Yellowstone, Mont.
- Jackson County, N.C.
- Harper’s Ferry, W.Va.
Compared to Memorial Day travel trends from two years ago, Airbnb data shows triple-digit search increases for tents (260%), houseboats (142%), farm stays (119%) and treehouses (111%) as some travelers ditch hotels for quirkier, remote accommodations.
While flight bookings have increased, road trips still reign — at least on social media. Since April 29, of more than 1.6 million travel-related conversations on Twitter, road trips were mentioned more than 32,000 times and flights 22,000 times, according to the Chicago-based social media analytics company Sprout Social.
Americans look to Europe
While Americans are largely expected to travel domestically this year, trans-Atlantic airfare searches spiked 47% after EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen indicated vaccinated Americans may be able to travel to Europe this summer, according to the Montreal-based travel app Hopper.
London, Paris and Barcelona are the most popular European cities by total searches, however Hopper’s data showed Denmark (+84%), Poland (+72%) and Switzerland (+63%) saw the greatest percent change in searches following Leyen’s comments on April 25.
Read more on summer travel in the age of Covid
Online searches for Croatia (+31%) and Iceland (+22%), both of which are already open to Americans, also increased following von der Leyen’s comments.
“Internationally, we’re seeing great optimism for Europe’s reopening,” said Belles.
While Greece and Iceland are popular among Virtuoso’s clientele, she said “the top European destination, with bookings already secured before borders are even open, is Italy.”
“This isn’t entirely surprising considering Italy is always among the top destinations for the Virtuoso network, but it does illustrate that people are eager to return to their favorite spots,” she said.
Italy is the top European destination for Virtuoso’s American travelers this summer, even though the country hasn’t officially opened to them, said Misty Belles. © Marco Bottigelli | Moment | Getty Images
Virtuoso’s top destinations for summer hotel bookings from Americans are (in order): the United States, Italy, Mexico, France, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, Greece, Canada, Spain and Ireland.
If Europe opens to them, Americans may have another reason to rejoice. Flights to Europe are cheaper than they’ve been in the past, according to Hopper.
“Reopening a country can enable more competition among airlines and increase the supply of seats sold along those routes, which tends to lower airfare in the short-term,” said Adit Damodaran, an economist at Hopper.
Airfare to Iceland dropped after the country reopened, and similar trends are happening for trans-Atlantic flights as it becomes increasingly likely that Europe will open to vaccinated Americans this summer, he said.
The most searched European destinations by Americans from April 27 to May 11, according to Hopper’s data. Courtesy of Hopper travel app
The trend, however, isn’t expected to last much longer.
“Hopper estimates airfare to Europe will bottom out at $700 round-trip around May 15, before rising towards $775 around mid-June,” said Damodaran.
There are particularly good deals on round-trip airfare to Portugal ($501) and Iceland ($530) last week, he said.
Asia at a standstill
Summer travel between Asian countries is still largely paralyzed, as the region grapples with rising Covid rates tied to the B.1.617 variant first identified in India last December.
Of the Maldives’ estimated 43,000 total Covid cases, more than 13,000 have been confirmed in the past two weeks. Abllo Ameer | Moment | Getty Images
Infection rates remain high in places such as the Philippines and Indonesia, while vaccination rates are low across Asia. In the past month, countries with relatively stable case counts — places such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — have seen an uptick in new infections too.
The few Asian destinations that are welcoming mass tourism, namely the Maldives and Sri Lanka, are experiencing calamitous spikes in infections.
Brits are now allowed to take vacations abroad — but the tourism industry is calling for more - CNBC
BY Silvia Amaro
- The sector is hoping that the government will lift compulsory quarantines for more destinations.
- Sunny European destinations, often chosen as holiday spots by British tourists, such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece are currently on the amber list, requiring self-isolation.
- Stocks in Europe’s travel and leisure sector fell more than 1% during early trading hours on Monday.
LONDON — British tourists are now able to fly abroad as Covid restrictions are eased, but only to a limited number of destinations — something that the tourism industry wants to change.
People in England and Scotland can fly to a list of 12 countries on the so-called green list from Monday without having to quarantine upon their return. This represents a massive change as vacations abroad have been illegal for months. The advice for people in Wales is only to travel for essential reasons, though taking trips is also no longer prohibited by law.
The changes in policy were welcomed by the tourism industry, which is keen to open for business after a challenging time during the pandemic. Nonetheless, the sector is hoping that the government will lift compulsory quarantines for more destinations.
“It is a cautious return to international travel. We would have liked to have seen more countries added to the green list,” Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick Airport told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Monday.
The green list represents the group of nations that tourists can visit without compulsory quarantine upon their return. For now, the list includes countries such as Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Iceland and Gibraltar, and it will be reviewed every three weeks.
We look forward to Spain, Italy and Greece being added to the U.K. green list in the next couple of weeks . Michael O’Leary RYANAIR CEO
Tourists arriving from one of these destinations will have to provide a passenger locator form, take a Covid test prior to boarding their return flight, and also book and pay for another Covid test for the second day after their arrival.
However, visits to nations on the so-called amber list require self-isolation for a period of 10 days, and trips to countries on the red list require a 10-day quarantine in a hotel.
Sunny European destinations, often chosen as holiday spots by British tourists, such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece are currently on the amber list.
“From an industry perspective what we would like to see is for our government to continuingly review the status of the countries, in particular places like the Spanish islands, the Greek islands and then, in due course over the coming weeks, some of the big destinations that we serve from Gatwick, such as Spain, Italy and Greece and the USA progressively placed on the green list when it is safe to do so,” Wingate said on Monday.
The CEO of budget airline Ryanair echoed this sentiment.
“We look forward to Spain, Italy and Greece being added to the U.K. green list in the next couple of weeks and I think that will accelerate the recovery of booking short-haul holidays from the U.K. to Europe certainly through to July, August and September,” Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, told CNBC on Monday.
The heads of British Airways and Heathrow Airport also urged the U.K. government to allow tourists to visit more European destinations and the U.S. without having to quarantine on their return, Reuters reported.
“It’s quite important for many of these airline companies that the green list is expanded,” Ruhell Amin, equity research analyst at William O’Neil and Co, told CNBC’s Street Signs Monday, adding that he expects to see more countries added in the coming weeks.
Stocks in Europe’s travel and leisure sector fell more than 2% on Monday.
Despite the ongoing easing of travel restrictions in the U.K, there’s still plenty of uncertainty facing the battered industry as quarantine rules are reviewed and the future of the pandemic remains unclear. Though vaccinations against the coronavirus have picked up pace in the U.K. and European Union, there are concerns about new variants —especially the one first identified in India — and their potential impact.
On Sunday, the U.K.’s Health Minister Matt Hancock told the BBC there is “increasing confidence” that Covid vaccines work against the variant identified in India. However, he added that the government cannot yet confirm whether all social restrictions will be lifted on June 21 as initially planned.
Immigration suspends issuance of new passports, renewals till June - DAILY POST
The Nigeria Immigration Service has announced the nationwide suspension of issuance of new passports and renewal of old ones in the country.
AB Yarima, Deputy Comptroller General of Immigration, in a statement, disclosed that all new passports and renewals will be suspended till 1st June 2021.
Part of the statement read: “The directive is to enable the commission clear all backlogs of applications sequel to the commencement of new passport regime on 1st June 2021.
“Consequently upon the foregoing, all PCOs are therefore directed to utilise this period 17th May to 31st May to ensure that all backlogs are produced and handed over t comannad comptrollers for collection by members of the public.”
The command advised the public to observe strict compliance to the circular till further notice.
Max Air’s flight suffers bird strike - THE NATION
By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
Max Air’s Abuja bound aircraft yesterday suffered a bird strike 10 minutes after take-off at the Aminu Kano International Airport, (MAKIA) Kano.
The aircraft, according to sources, was forced to return to Kano.
The Max Air B737 plane with registration number VM1645, which was slated for take-off at 1.30 pm had about a 30-minute delay. The aircraft later took off around 2:00 pm with full passenger load.
A source close to the airline confirmed the incident.
He disclosed that the aircraft engine was hit by a bird during take-off, affecting some of the blades of the aircraft engine, forcing the captain of the aircraft to make an air-return, a standard practice in aviation to forestall an accident.