Holidays could be back on the cards for Britons soon once Boris Johnson officially announces the list of countries which have agreed to an “air bridge”. However, even if travel is given the green light, the experience could be very different from the one holidaymakers are used to.
“If planning a holiday abroad, this will be a holiday which will be very different from those carefree breaks normally enjoyed,” warns Rebecca Kingsley, brand manager of consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk.
“There will be many new rules and regulations to follow and you may not have the freedoms you are used to when enjoying your holiday.”
Air bridges will allow Britons to travel to countries with agreements in place, without the need to endure a quarantine period either in their destination country or when they return home to the UK.
The agreement is reciprocal, meaning citizens of that nation would also be able to visit the UK without needing to quarantine.
Holidays could be very different this year
Holidays: Spain is enforcing social distancing on beaches
However, even once Britons are given the go-ahead to jet off, it is unlikely that holidays this summer will be the same as those from summers gone before.
Here are some changes you may expect upon arrival at some popular holiday hotspots that are likely to be granted “air bridges”:
Upon arrival in Spain travellers will undergo a temperature and health check, as well as being asked to provide details of how to contact them.
A new QR code system also means they can be traced for the duration of their holiday.
The Spanish government is recommending a social distance of 1.5 metres, and face masks will be mandatory at some indoor spaces including shopping centres and on public transport.
In order to maintain social distancing, there may be fewer sun loungers around hotel swimming pools, and some hotel restaurants will run booking systems for mealtimes. Traditional buffets may also be scrapped in favour of table service.
In some popular resorts, certain hotels and beaches have set their own specific rules including those associated with visitors of a certain age.
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In France, face masks continue to be a mandatory feature on public transport and in some shops. They are also compulsory in taxis
Though restaurants have reopened, there are fewer tables inside to ensure social distancing, which means holidaymakers may need to book in advance.
The country has also said it anticipates a boom in staycations, meaning hotels and resorts along the coast could be busier than usual.
In Italy, the social distancing of one metre remains in place and face masks are mandatory in enclosed public spaces. This rule is extended to all public places in the Lombardy and Piedmont regions.
Restaurants, pubs, bars, shops, hairdressers, salons and beaches have been permitted to open but with strict social distancing measures in place.
Some facilities may ask visitors to provide their name and contact details before entering or using services.
Tourist hotspots including museums are also open but guests must book online in advance.
In Italy face masks are mandatory in public
Turkey reopened its borders on June 12, but visitors must endure a medical check for symptoms of the virus.
On departure, temperature checks will take place prior to being granted entry into the airport terminal.
The wearing of masks is obligatory throughout Turkey in crowded places and specifically in markets and supermarkets, hairdressers, and barbershops.
It is also compulsory to wear masks on all public transport, including Metro, buses, taxis, and ferries, and in some areas masks must be worn when travelling in private vehicles with more than one person.
Some provinces are further asking for the face masks to be worn outside of the home at all times.
The impact of COVID-19 on tourism
It is thought that once the “air bridges” are announced, the current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advisory for Britons will be lifted.
At the moment Britons are being advised against “all non-essential travel” but this remains “under constant review”.
Ms Kingsley explains that this is vital for Britons wanting to protect their holiday.
“This is expected to coincide with a change to the blanket ban on travel abroad after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel abroad on March 17th,” she said.
“This is particularly crucial as travelling against FCO advice will invalidate your travel insurance.”