Tens of millions of UK residents have now received their call to action from the NHS, which is now sending out vaccine bookings. So far, a total of 56,992,075 people have had one or both vaccines, with the number accelerating every day. Health services are approaching rollout in bands by age, and a new cohort can get their jab soon.
Who can get the Covid vaccine?
Health officials and the Government are slowly making their way through the UK’s population.
Initial focus fell on the elderly and chronically sick, and success in these bands has allowed them to move on to younger adults.
Officials asked those aged 38 and 39 to book their first doses on May 12, and arrangements have progressed swiftly since then.
It isn’t 100 percent certain that holidays after June 23 will go ahead, as this is down to the Government’s restrictions.
Jet2 has said: “We look forward to clarity from the UK Government so that we can get flying again.”
Customers who booked flights praised the airline for prompt refunds, and more than £1.3 billion was refunded by Jet2 to customers whose plans were affected by the pandemic.
Jet2 said it will continue this “customer-first approach” and will “refund customers if they want their money back” instead of a refund credit note.
Jet2 best deals
If you’re looking to book a summer getaway with Jet2, read on to find out their best deals at the moment.
They’re offering “sunshine breaks” from £339 per person and villa stays from £489 per person.
Jet2holidays – Rhodes, Theologos, 3-star Filoxenia Apartments, 7 nights self-catering departing from Birmingham on July 2. Price: £369 per person based on 2 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.
Jet2holidays – Turkey, Antalya, Side, 3-star Lemas Suite Hotel, 7 nights room-only departing from Birmingham on July 2. Price: £389 per person based on 2 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.
Jet2Villas – Spain, Costa Blanca, Moraira, Villa Coldbryca, 7 nights self-catering departing from Birmingham on July 3. Price: £519 per person based on 6 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and car hire.
Jet2holidays – Tenerife, Playa De Las Americas, 3+ star Parque Las Americas, 7 nights self-catering departing from Bristol on July 3. Price: £379 per person based on 2 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.
Jet2holidays – Turkey, Dalaman, Ovacik, 3-star Celay Hotel, 7 nights bed & breakfast departing from Bristol on 2nd July. Price: £339 per person based on 2 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.
Jet2Villas – Menorca, Cala’n Bosch, Villa Som Fonoll, 7 nights self-catering departing from Bristol on July 2. Price: £489 per person based on 6 sharing, includes a 22kg baggage allowance and car hire.
Summer holidays are something to look forward to each year, however, Britons have faced months of upheaval and coronavirus restrictions. Now a Government task force is examining how Britons can travel abroad come May, with countries categorised depending on coronavirus data.
International travel is permitted from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap, meaning holidays are back on the cards.
The Global Travel Taskforce are in the process of deciding which countries will be free to travel to, which will face quarantine upon return to the UK and which are banned.
A number of factors are being used to determine the lists, which are categorised in traffic light colours of green, amber and red.
This includes Covid cases, vaccination efforts, the extent of variants and capacity for genome sequencing of the virus.
Holidays: Simon Calder discusses testing requirements
Turkey saw 2.5 million Britons visit in 2019 and has over the years become one of the most popular tourist destinations. With the pandemic preventing travel, many are itching to head abroad and soak up the sunshine – but just how likely will it be for Brits to visit Turkey this year?
International travel has been subject to intense restrictions since the outbreak of coronavirus more than a year ago, with Britons foregoing summer holidays.
With restrictions easing under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap, many may be wondering when they can book that long-awaited trip abroad.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is reviewing countries and placing them in a traffic light system based on a series of criteria.
Green listed countries will be free to visit, however, Covid testing may need to be done before and after your trip, anyone visiting amber countries will need to isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK, and red countries will face strict restrictions on travel.
TUI is one of the UK’s biggest travel agents, and is currently allowing customers to book holidays to Turkey from May 17 onwards.
You can book for destinations like Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, the Maldives and Portugal, among others.
Currently, on TUI’s site, you can’t book to travel to Albania, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Japan, Oman, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago or Uzbekistan.
However, for those wanting to take a trip to Turkey, there are restrictions in place across the country.
Turkey holidays: Turkey is a popular summer holiday destination for millions of Britons (Image: GETTY)
Turkey is under a Covid-risk “tier” system, with four tiers based on risk.
The FCDO explains: “Provinces in Turkey are split into four tiers by COVID-19 risk: low, medium, high and very high.
“A map of Turkey illustrating these tiers is available from the Ministry of Health.”
Currently across Turkey, facemasks are mandatory “at all times” when “outside the home”.
If you book a trip to Turkey and cannot visit due to Covid restrictions, most travel agents are offering free rescheduling.
Nicola Sturgeon eases travel restrictions ahead of schedule
If Turkey is placed in the green tier, holidaymakers will need to take Covid tests both before and after travel – however, will not need to isolate on return.
New research has shown 61 percent of Brits believe under the traffic light travel system, the Green tier should mean restriction-free travel this summer.
Currently, countries on the green list will require Brits to take a PCR Covid test before they fly there, at additional expense.
In total 55 percent of Brits say they will not be able to go on holiday this summer if expensive PCR Covid tests, currently costing up to £150, are imposed on passengers to low-risk ‘green’ tier countries.
easyJet polled 2,000 British holidaymakers and found almost three-quarters (74 percent) of Brits believe if tests do remain a requirement for travel to low-risk green tier countries, they should be in line with the lateral flow testing being used for the reopening of the rest of the UK economy rather than the more complex and expensive PCR tests.
Turkey holidays: Coronavirus restrictions are likely to remain in place across Turkey for the foreseeable future (Image: GETTY)
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “The UK government need to come out as early as possible with final details of the testing regime and let the public know the tiers countries will be put into and the criteria it will use to decide those tiers.
“We believe that most European countries should be in the green tier based on the protection the NHS provided Brits through our vaccination roll-out and the low presence of variants of concern in most European countries“easyJet was founded to make travel affordable for all. Before the pandemic, we were flying around 100 million customers paying £50 per flight on average.
“At the current costs, even low-risk, green destinations look likely to make travelling for a well-deserved holiday or the chance to see family out of reach for many – and the preserve of the rich – this is unfair.
“We are not pushing for the reopening of travel at any cost – we need to protect the NHS and vaccination programme, but we have worked with expert scientists to understand what would be needed to safely restart travel.
“Passenger health and safety remains our absolute priority and strongly believe that with vaccination, travel to a low-risk government approved destination should not be placed prohibitively out of place by unnecessary, costly PCR testing.
“The public recognise that green tier travelling should mean safe travel without exorbitant costs.
“We urge the Government to make good on its promise to bring the cost of testing down and make travelling to safe green-light destinations affordable and possible for all.”
Sixty-three percent of people said they hope to book a holiday abroad in the next six months or longer.
Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA – The Travel Association, commented on the findings: “Travel professionals and package holidays have an important role to play in helping people feel reassured and confident to book and travel this year, and we’re seeing more and more people turning to them as they plan their holidays.
“Over the last 12 months there has been a lot of uncertainty around international travel, with holidays having to be changed or postponed, but there is a lot of pent-up demand for holidays.
“People are increasingly recognising that they can get great value for money, added protection and the benefit of having someone else plan their holiday or make changes if needed further down the line.”
Caravan and camping holidays are much-loved among many UK holidaymakers. Stunning caravan parks and campsites can be found all over the country – perfect for when travel starts back up again. But where are the most popular ones?
To look ahead to what could be the return of the classic British holiday, gas company Flogas Britain has been finding out which caravan sites are the most popular in each region of the country based on Google search data between January 2019 and January 2021.
Most popular caravan sites
Riverside Caravan Park
Amassing 6,600 average searches per month, the family-run Riverside Park in Scotland is the most popular caravan park.
Located on the banks of the River Teviot, the park is set within 10 acres of land and boasts stunning views, offering charm and luxury in equal measure.
In second place is Haven’s, Weymouth Bay Holiday Park with 4,400 searches on average.
Situated in Dorset, the park is one of 37 Haven sites dotted around the Great British coastline and is ideally placed at one of the country’s most recognisable seaside destinations.
Parkdean Resorts’ Whitley Bay Holiday Park,
With 3,600 searches, it’s Parkdean Resorts’ Whitley Bay Holiday Park, which like Weymouth Bay, boasts a short walk to the nearest beach and enough family entertainment to keep everyone happy.
Scotland, Yorkshire and Northumberland & County Durham proved to be the most popular regions for caravanning in the country, according to the research.
Scotland has the most regional searches on average per month.
It’s home to 67 popular parks and resorts.
After Riverside Caravan Park, Clayton Caravan Park was ranked as the second most popular caravan park.
Sandy Bay Caravan Park came in third.
Speaking on behalf of Flogas, Stewart Woolley, General Manager for Cylinders, said: “It’s been a difficult start to the year, but the data shows how popular caravan parks are, and the hope people still have for enjoying a well-earned break.
“Although trips abroad look unlikely, the vaccine rollout offers a beacon of light that a staycation may be possible at some stage in 2021.
“Our fingers are crossed that we’ll see families and friends pitching up at caravan sites and lighting up the BBQ this summer, albeit still in a socially distanced way.”
Flights have been axed in droves throughout the pandemic. It can be hard to keep up as airlines adopt different stances to cancelling flights after it was announced international travel would not be permitted until May 17 at the earliest. This is is what you need to know about major operators TUI, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2.
TUI has cancelled all flights until May 17.
“All TUI holidays departing from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including flight-only and accommodation-only bookings, due to depart on or before May 16, 2021,” said the operator in a statement.
“If your holiday has been cancelled, we’ll be contacting you soon to discuss your options. We’re working around the clock to do this and are getting in touch with customers in departure date order.”
Additionally, flights to Los Cabos, Mexico and Kvarner Bay, Croatia due to depart on or before October 31, 2021, are axed.
READ MORE: Portugal, Cyprus and Spain to welcome Britons from May
British Airways has continued to fly limited flights and is operating a “reduced” and “dynamic” schedule amid the ongoing lockdown restrictions.
The latest update from BA concerns the UK travel declaration form.
“From March 8, 2021, you must complete the UK Government’s declaration form for international travel if you are travelling outside the UK from England,” said the carrier.
“Different rules apply for international travel from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”
Passengers who wish to “change or cancel” their booking can do so using the airline’s “Book with Confidence” policy.
Though BA has not axed all of its itineraries, it does warn customers to some changes to flight schedules may arise.
On its website, BA states: “If your flight has been cancelled, we will contact you with your options. Alternatively, you can rebook or claim a voucher online.”
easyJet continues to operate some flights, though it is on a reduced schedule and some flight times are subject to change.
Customers who are impacted by changing flights will be contacted by the airline to discuss their options.
“If part/all of your trip is cancelled, you will be notified directly via email and informed of the options available to you,” the easyJet website detailed in its latest statement.
Travellers can switch to another flight for free, choose a voucher for future spend or apply for a full refund.
Customers can also avail themselves of these three options if they wish to cancel their bookings.
“Due to a number of countries across our network imposing national and regional lockdown restrictions, we appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing if you are due to fly with us and understand that you may wish to change your travel plans, so we are providing a number of flexible options,” said easyJet.
Jet2 have suspended flights until May 17.
The operator said in a statement: “Following the release of the government’s roadmap, we’ve taken the decision to extend the suspension of all flights up to and including May 16, 2021.
“If you’ve been affected by these programme changes, we’ll be automatically cancelling your booking with a full refund.
“If you’re due to travel from May 17, 021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time.
“We want our customers to be on holiday enjoying themselves and we’re looking forward to resuming our award-winning flights. In the meantime, we’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Package holidays are an easy and secure option during the volatile times we live in. It can be tricky to keep up with what the popular tour operators are doing when each has a different stance towards cancelling getaways. This is what you need to know about providers TUI Holidays, easyJet Holidays, British Airways Holidays, Jet2 Holidays and Virgin Holidays.
TUI have axed all holidays until May 17 following the news from the Government last week that international travel cannot restart until this date at the earliest.
“In line with the UK Government’s latest lockdown announcement, we will not be operating any holidays departing from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland up to and including May 16, or any holidays departing from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) up to and including April 5,” said TUI in a statement today.
Those affected by the news will be contacted and provided with their options.
“We will be contacting impacted customers directly, in departure date order, by March 5 to discuss their options, which will include amending to a later date with an incentive, receiving a refund credit note with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.
“Due to the high volume of customers that are impacted we kindly ask that you wait until you receive the email from us before getting in touch.
“We know our customers are looking forward to their holidays, so to offer continued flexibility and reassurance, we have extended our free changes policy to the end of June.
“Those due to travel between May 17 and the end of June can change their booking to a later date fee-free through Manage My Booking.”
easyJet holidays has cancelled all package holidays up to and including March 24 in line with current lockdown and travel restrictions.
The airline has not yet said whether any holidays will be impacted beyond this point.
Customers who have had their holiday cancelled by the operator will be contacted directly and provided with three options.
They may either rebook their holiday for a new date and destination, accept a voucher that can be used towards further travel or request a full cash refund.
easyJet has said it is aiming to provide refunds in “an average of 12 days”.
easyJet holidays said: “With safety and enjoyment front of mind we will cancel any holidays where the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel.
“We’re constantly reviewing bookings ahead of planned travel dates to give holidays as great a chance as possible to go ahead. If it’s likely your holiday will be impacted we’ll be in touch to discuss your options, and unless you’ve already taken action to cancel or change your booking, we will make a carefully considered decision on whether your holiday is able to go ahead in the week leading up to your departure date.
“Even where the FCDO advice permits travel, if at the point of departure there is a known requirement for routine quarantine or self-isolation on arrival in your holiday destination, our standard response is that we’ll cancel your holiday.
“If it’s likely that your holiday will be impacted by these restrictions, we’ll get in touch no later than a week before your planned departure date.”
British Airways is operating a “reduced” and “dynamic” service which means holidays and flights could change at any time.
The airline has cancelled its scheduled package holidays up to and including March 15.
A British Airways spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “If we cannot fulfil a holiday, we’re committed to ensuring customers receive a full refund within 14 days.
“Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.”
The airline is currently in the process of contacting all customers who had a package holiday booked on or before March 15.
On the British Airways website, it explains: “If your flight is cancelled, please rest assured that we’ll contact you.”
As phone lines are busy, passengers are requested only to call if they are flying within the next 72 hours.
Virgin has likewise cancelled all its holidays until May 17.
“The UK Government has confirmed that restrictions will remain for the near future, easing no earlier than May 17, 2021, which means that unfortunately, we’ll be cancelling all holidays up to and including May 16, 2021,” said Virgin Holidays in a statement.
Customers will be contacted in departure date order and informed of the options available.
“This will be on a rolling basis and so far we’ve contacted customers due to depart up to and including March 21, 2021,” said Virgin.
“If you haven’t heard from us just yet, please don’t worry as we will be in touch. We’re grateful for all our customers’ patience as we contact everyone affected.
Holidaymakers should wait to be contacted and not get in touch with Virgin.
Virgin Holidays said: “To simplify the options and to provide immediate peace of mind, all customers whose holidays will no longer be going ahead will be provided with an ATOL-protected digital voucher for the value of their trip, redeemable up until September 30, 2021, which can be used to rebook a holiday, giving you the time and flexibility to decide what to do next.
“The digital voucher can be redeemed for any holiday on sale through to April 30, 2023. This can either be to the same destination or we can look at alternatives, as well as different times of the year.
“Of course, customers with a cancelled holiday will also be able to request a refund at any time via Manage my Booking.”