Holidaymakers rushing to book winter sun getaways in the Maldives and Canary Islands are finding it less straightforward than hoped.
Ongoing restrictions mean that despite the Maldives being awarded a travel corridor with the UK on Thursday, visitors will still have to quarantine upon their return unless they fly direct to the destination. The only airline that offers this service is BA; greatly limiting the options for Britons.
Derek Jones, CEO of luxury travel agency Kuoni, told Travel Weekly: "It is still horrendously complicated. If you take any other routing [than BA's direct flights], you do still get caught with quarantine on your return."
The Canary Islands were also granted a travel corridor this week, but the Spanish government recently said it was considering new protocols that would require Britons, and other tourists from countries with high case rates, to present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure, to gain entry.
Alan Cross, head of trade at Jet2holidays, said: "At this moment in time, we are just clarifying with the UK government and the Canarian government, what the entry and exit requirements are. So keep checking our website for information related to that."
Still, demand for both destinations is high. Paul Charles, CEO of travel PR consultancy The PC Agency, tells Telegraph Travel: "From talking to several tour operators and travel agents in the last 24 hours, they have each taken hundreds of bookings for the Maldives and Canary Islands for travel in the next three months, including Christmas."
Scroll down for more updates.
What we learnt today
A quick recap of the top stories:
Wales enters national lockdown
Flight prices go sky-high in a day as new island travel corridors open
Scottish hospitality industry launch legal action against lockdown
Spain's regions urge Government to allow curfews
Thank you for joining us, and see you again tomorrow.
Police will stop people leaving Wales for non-essential travel
A police force in England says it will try to stop people from leaving Wales, which today entered a 17-day 'firebreaker' lockdown.
The Gloucestershire Constabulary will patrol routes from Wales and pull over drivers they believe are making long journeys, AP reports. Those without a good excuse will be asked to turn around. If they don’t comply, officers will inform their Welsh counterparts so they can take action because Gloucestershire police don’t have the authority to fine people traveling from Wales, the department said.
British tourists pour back into the Canaries
That didn't take long. A mere two days after the Canary Islands were granted a travel corridor, Britons are descending.
Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife brings forward reopening date
With news that the Canary Islands are back on the map with a new travel corridor, the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife is reopening sooner than originally planned.
Sergio Zertuche, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Palladium Hotel Group, tells Telegraph Travel:
The UK is one of the most important markets for Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife so we're delighted to see the change in advice for travel to the Canary Islands. As a result, I'm happy to confirm that we're bringing forward the re-opening of the hotel and we look forward to welcoming guests from November 13 for some much-required winter sun.
In addition, all Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife guests are offered free health care insurance, Stay Safe, which gives protection against any unforeseen circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is all with the aim of ensuring our guests have a Rockstar holiday this winter.
Can I travel between tiers? The latest rules for local holidays
Local lockdowns with differing restrictions and contrasting regulations in the home nations have made a mockery of calls for a clear, consistent message over Covid-19.
For those planning holidays the situation has become more and more complex.
A record-breaking new plane - one for the aviation geeks
Newspaper images of unwanted A380s lined up on desert airfields across the world looked to be just another sign of the aviation industry’s apparently inexorable decline, with the pandemic being just the latest blow, writes James Gurney.
So, the news that Bremont has partnered with Rolls-Royce, a troubled company in these most troubling of times, was curious to say the very least. So, what is Bremont up to?
Building a battery-powered plane that can break the airspeed record for electric flight, that's what. Gurney writes:
The team believes that the plane, officially named ‘Spirit of Innovation’, is capable of over 300mph, easily enough to break the airspeed record for electric flight (the current one for a zero-emissions’ flight is 213mph). And it is quite the achievement as the plane runs through enough energy to power 250 homes in the time that the record attempt will take. Even at 90 per cent efficiency, that’s a lot of heat to manage, though that’s already a Rolls-Royce speciality given the temperatures jet-engines operate at.
Quick, efficient, uncomfortable – a blow-by-blow account of a pre-holiday Covid test
In case you missed it on the blog yesterday, Greg Dickinson documented the highs and lows of getting a pre-holiday Covid test.
"It is, in truth, not the most comfortable process in the world – particularly, for me, the throat," he writes. "But remember it will all be done in less than a minute."
South Africa's greatest wildlife holidays
It's not open to Britons yet, and likely won't be until our infection rate comes down. But there will come a day when we can enjoy a safari holiday again, and South Africa is one of our readers' favourite countries in which to do so. Mike Unwin writes:
South Africa virtually invented the big game park and, more recently, has pioneered game translocation, re-establishing historic wildlife communities in neglected areas. Today, an excellent infrastructure and hospitality industry lays all this on a plate. You can luxuriate in an exclusive bush lodge or simply drive yourself around in a hire car. Activities span walking safaris, mountain-bike trails and scuba diving. There are whale-watching cruises, birding tours, flower safaris and even frog safaris. And this is the only country in Africa where you can find the Big Five malaria-free.
The view from Wales today
The next country for quarantine?
... or, more positively speaking, the next for a travel corridor?
When the UK Government first introduced the concept of 'travel corridors', the original threshold for a country to achieve quarantine-exempt status was no more than 20 cases per 100,000 citizens over seven days.
This seemed increasingly ridiculous as cases mounted, and we started axing countries from our 'green list' that had lower rates than our own. Currently, the UK's seven-date infection rate is 213.1.
But the Government has apparently raised that threshold. Sweden and Germany remained on the green list this week, while Denmark was reinstated despite a seven-day infection rate of 64.7 per 100,000.
Which country could be next on our travel map?
Nightclubs to close in Bulgaria
Another day, another curb on nightlife. This time in Bulgaria, where authorities will close clubs and discos in the capital of Sofia on Sunday for two weeks.
Speaking on national BTV television, Mayor Yordanka Fandakova also urged Sofia universities to switch to online education and appealed to businesses to have as many employees as possible work from home, Reuters reports.
“The situation is Sofia is becoming increasingly alarming. We have a new increase in infections and of people who need hospital treatment. This is straining the hospitals,” she said.
Young, female and mixed-race: meet the South African winemaker who defied the odds
Kiara Scott manages a team of 50 farm workers on the new Brookdale Estate, which sits beneath the dramatically jagged Drakenstein mountains near Paarl in South Africa.
She is not only a woman working as a senior winemaker in South Africa (unusual in itself) but at 27 is one of the youngest. She is also of mixed race and grew up in a township, which, in the almost exclusively white and old moneyed Cape wine industry, makes her even more extraordinary. Scott says:
"Even though I have a very supportive family, they are very conservative, very Christian and they thought any alcohol including wine was a very bad thing.You see, there was a lot of alcoholism in our community. I know people who are 40 and still living with their parents and not working and doing drugs. And I thought, I don’t want that, I don’t want that life. I am not going to live that life. But I had to convince my family that making wine was an amazing opportunity for me and that wine was something to savour, to enjoy – not something you drank until you passed out."
Confused about the rules in your area?
If you aren't quite sure about what the rules are in your area, our reporters have put together some handy explainers that will answer all your questions:
Four more feasible European holidays
Along with Sweden, Greece, Gibraltar and the Canary Islands, these are your other European options:
1. Cyprus: Test before departure
Cyprus has placed the UK in Category B: this means that tourists are permitted to travel, but they need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival, obtained no more than 72 hours before travel. Test results can be in the form of an email or SMS, but the result itself and/or appointment letter must include the date and time when the test was taken. Children under 12 years old do not require to be tested in order to travel to Cyprus. Please see the Republic of Cyprus Information Office website for further information. All travellers to Cyprus must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before travelling, available on the Cyprus Flight Pass website. You will be responsible for ensuring your PCR test result is uploaded to Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours of your departure. More details here.
2. Germany: Test on arrival
Germany has added the whole of the UK to its list of high-risk destinations. Arrivals from high-risk countries must take a test on arrival, something offered by most major German airports. If they test negative they are free to continue their holiday. Otherwise they can present evidence of a negative test no older than 48 hours.
3. Jersey: Test on arrival
Jersey requires UK arrivals to show evidence of a negative Covid test or take a test on arrival if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine.
4. Madeira: Test before departure
Before you arrive you must complete and submit a traveller questionnaire between 12 and 48 hours before departure. If you have one, upload proof of a negative Covid-19 test, carried out 72 hours before departure.
On arrival, you will be subject to a health screening. If you have not uploaded your Covid-19 test result, you will be asked to show it at the airport. If you do not have proof of a test, you will be able to take one at the airport and self-isolate at your accommodation until the results are known. This will take about 12 hours.
Spain's regions urge government to impose state of emergency to allow curfews
Spanish regions are urging the central government to take measures that would give them legal backing to impose curfews as the country battles a resurgent coronavirus epidemic.
As of today, 10 of Spain's 17 regions, including Valencia, Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country, had called on the government to decree a state of emergency, which would allow regions to limit people's movement.
Regions expect the government to call an extraordinary Council of Ministers on Sunday to approve the measure, Spanish media including El Pais reported.
While many regions favour some form of curfew, the powerful Madrid region opposes it, which has so far prevented a nationwide decision.
The collapse of tourism is turning Madrid into a ghost town
One man's mission to peddle across Britain continues
This month, travel writer Simon Parker is cycling the length of Britain, from the tip of Shetland to the Isles of Scilly, to see how Covid has changed the nation.
Yesterday, he was toughing it through the wind on the west coast of Scotland:
Already very windy here, on the west coast of Scotland. Just the 70mph gusts tomorrow, apparently... 🚲 💨 ☔️ pic.twitter.com/Ub1KvwTUGa
— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) October 23, 2020
Today, thanks to the great British weather, more of the same:
Going to be very tough today in the wind and rain, but love capturing moments like these. You see so much on a 🚲 - check out these kite surfers off Troon, beside the golf course. #cycling #Britain for @TelegraphTravel pic.twitter.com/yz97XhcRcW
— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) October 24, 2020
Comment: Poor Wales. This must be the most ridiculous lockdown rule yet
Politicians have no business interfering with people’s shopping lists... and their absurd plan is bound to backfire, writes Michael Deacon.
At first I couldn’t believe what I was reading. There had to be some mistake. The headline on the BBC website was bizarre. “Wales Lockdown,” it read. “Supermarkets Told to Sell Only Essential Items.”
I stared at the screen. Only allowed to sell essential items? Why? And what exactly were “non-essential” items? And how, in practice, could their sale be banned? Perhaps, before you were permitted to approach the checkout, a government official would root through your trolley, passing judgment on your intended purchases.
A disturbing thought. Then, however, I read the story. It turned out that, in reality, the Welsh Government had not recruited an army of trolley inspectors or basket police.
What it was doing, however, was no less bonkers. It was banning supermarkets from stocking “non-essential” items in the first place. For example: microwaves, hairdryers, birthday cards, books... and even clothes.
Read the full piece here.
In pictures: A view from around the world
Flight prices go sky-high in a day as new island travel corridors open
Flight prices to autumn sun destinations have risen tenfold in less than a day as new island travel corridors sparked a half-term holiday frenzy, reports Charles Hymas.
Within 24 hours of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps opening quarantine-free travel to Spanish, Greek and Maldive islands, flights had either sold out or surged to as much as 10 times the price they were on Thursday morning.
Return Ryanair flights from London Stansted to Tenerife on October 24 which were £26 return before Mr Shapps’ announcement had sold out by mid-morning on Friday.
Thomas Cook, which unveiled Canary Island holidays within hours of the announcement, said demand for holidays rose more than 20-fold on the previous week for Spanish holidays.
Czech Republic records highest daily case tally
The Czech Republic reported 15,252 new cases for 23 October, the highest daily tally. Deaths rose by 126 to 1,971.
The country is currently the centre of Europe's biggest surge in new Covid cases, and the prime minister Andrej Babis said he regretted ruling out tougher lockdown measures earlier.
“I apologise even for the fact that I ruled out this option (lockdown measures) in the past because I was not able to imagine it might happen,” he said.
Why the Maldives is the greatest holiday destination on Earth – and how to get there
For a sun-soaked getaway, absolutely nowhere beats The Maldives, according to John O'Cealliagh:
I have visited an embarrassing number of times and, given the terrible year we’ve all endured, the country’s appeal is greater than ever. Maybe next year we might have the energy for abseiling expeditions in Azerbaijan, but for now a fortnight’s beachside recuperation, lazily reading under the shade of Maldivian palms and with something chilled close to hand, is all I desire in terms of exertion. I wasn’t always a fan.
Before my first visit, I was a naysayer who dismissed its tiny private-island resorts out of hand. “There’s nothing to do,” I’d say, as if that were a bad thing. Within a day of my arrival, I realised the Maldives’ mellow rhythm suited me nicely. There’s something freeing about a setting unrepentantly pushing unfettered R&R.
Even with nothing to do there, I barely have enough time to do it. On a typical rest day I might follow my lie-in with a multi-course breakfast, usually involving just the right number of cakes and pastries to induce a midday snooze. Lunch ordinarily includes sushi and ice-cream, and is typically followed by a spa treatment and some gentle snorkelling. By the time I’ve dried off and changed, there’s hardly a moment to spare before rushing off for sundowners and dinner. At night, I speed through books instead of doom-scrolling through Twitter.
Slovakia reports highest daily tally of cases
Slovakia has reported 2,890 new cases of coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily tally yet, as the country launched an experimental testing programme.
The country of 5.5 million has recorded 159 deaths connected to the virus so far.
Thousands of Slovaks lined up to be tested for the coronavirus in the country's worst-affected areas on Friday, taking part in a pilot programme that will eventually go nationwide.
Slovakia lost its travel corridor with the UK on September 24.
The remote, eerily beautiful Canary Island you probably didn't know about
La Graciosa: a secluded volcanic world of low-lying lava peaks and miles of powdery golden-white Atlantic beaches officially became the eighth Canary Island in 2018, but it’s still one of Spain’s most blissfully remote and secluded pockets, writes Isabella Noble:
La Graciosa feels so distant from the rest of the world that it’s surreal to see visitors and islanders wandering around the small low-key ‘capital’ Caleta de Sebo in face masks (which are mandatory everywhere in public in Spain).
The taxis (four-wheel drive) are waiting, bike-hire shops spill on to the sandy streets, and people sit out on restaurant terraces. The village’s nautical-themed 20th-century church now has a one-way system, hand gel at the door and a maximum capacity of eight. Over in the bakery, it’s hand sanitiser and a one-in, one-out policy, and even at the Museo Chinijo, which claims to be the world’s smallest museum, an arrowed itinerary has arrived.
Spend the days wandering between the beaches (Playa de las Conchas is a favourite), soaking up the sunsets, having long seafood lunches and breezy picnics, and maybe dabbling in diving, kayaking or kitesurfing, or hiking up the island’s tallest ‘peak’, 266m-high (873ft) Agujas Grandes. For accommodation, it’s a choice between self-catering apartments and houses and a couple of guesthouses.
Scottish hospitality industry demands evidence for restrictions
Scotland's hospitality businesses plan to focus on the unfairness of the 10pm curfew and the lack of evidence provided by SNP ministers to justify blanket closures in a bid to win a quick victory in overturning restrictions.
The industry has taken the unprecedented step of launching legal action against the Scottish Government after they received a legal opinion by the prominent QC Aidan O’Neill, advising them a judicial review would be warranted.
Claiming that pubs and restaurants have been forced to “fight for their very survival”, the move came the day after Nicola Sturgeon extended what she said would be a temporary 16-day shutdown of Central Belt hospitality businesses.
Many have accused the Government of imposing the restrictions without publishing clear evidence that proves hospitality businesses are driving Covid-19 case numbers, raising questions over how proportionate the measures are.
Caroline Loudon, partner at law firm TLT which is representing the trade bodies, said the action aims to challenge “the legal basis of recent restrictive regulations imposed on the hospitality sector”.
Georgina Hayes has more here.
Surge in bookings proves 'enormous pent-up demand' for travel
Paul Charles, CEO of travel PR consultancy The PC Agency, tells Telegraph Travel:
Our research shows that there is enormous pent-up demand out there and there is certainly no fear of flying and catching Covid-19. It just proves that when the UK government engages with destinations about creating safe corridors, they can be switched on very quickly.
The only downside for the Maldives at the moment is that you can only fly non-stop from the UK on BA. You can’t go via transit hubs such as Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi as you have to quarantine from those destinations when re-entering the UK. When in transit, the government worries you may come into contact with someone who has been through a Covid hotspot. So BA’s prices have increased simply due to the pent-up demand and the fact it is the airline route in to the islands.
All of this proves we need an urgent UK roadmap for testing - either showing negative test proof on arrival, as other countries are accepting, or a 5-day quarantine plus test with quick results. It just needs a bit of innovative thinking and urgent delivery.
South Yorkshire wakes up in lockdown
South Yorkshire has moved to the third and highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
As well as Sheffield, the areas affected include Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster. The new restrictions took effect at 12.01am.
In a letter to colleagues, Sheffield's Mayor Dan Jarvis said: "This decision has not been taken lightly." A package of financial support has been agreed with the Government.
South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said the Government must realise people will only abide by the rules "as long as they feel that what is being proposed is not just reactive, but part of a longer term strategy to defeat the virus".
Will visitors to the Canary Islands soon need to take a test?
As it stands, Britons can fly to Tenerife or Lanzarote and are only subject to the following three requirements:
Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to Covid-19 48 hours prior to travel
Undergo a visual health assessment
However, the Spanish government recently said it was considering new protocols for travel to both the Canary Islands and the Balearics. Under the proposed rules, tourists entering the islands from a country with a seven-day case rate of more than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants (the figure for the UK is currently 205.8) would need to test negative for Covid 48 hours prior to their departure. Such a move would make trips more of a chore, and could nip any tourism boom in the bud.
What happened yesterday?
A quick recap of the top stories:
Holiday bookings have soared after the Canary Islands were moved to the quarantine green list
The Maldives and Mykonos are also back on the menu for travellers
Cyprus and Greece have made face masks mandatory outdoors
Italy's Campania region has announced plans for a full lockdown
Australia's travel ban is inspiring city-dwellers to explore the Outback, with deadly consequences
Wales is about to begin its (minimum) 17-day second lockdown, with all non-essential travel banned