BRITISH tourists could be back out and about on Europe’s beaches, historic towns and party cities, as the government looks to build air bridges by next week.
The air bridge, or “travel corridor”, scheme is an agreement between two countries to allow quarantine-free travel, meaning tourists don’t have to worry about more self-isolation.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said that a “lot of work is being done on travel corridors” with plans for France, Spain and Italy expected to be announced this week.
The new air bridges could be opened from as soon as July 4, with ministers expected to announce the plans ahead of June 29 when the quarantine policy will be reviewed.
However, while many of the popular tourist destinations have lower coronavirus rates than the UK, many still remain high.
Here are the potential countries which may be linked for Brits, as well as their active Covid rates.
Spain has been one of the first countries to welcome Brits back, with tourists visiting the country once again on the weekend of June 20/21.
Despite this, strict rules remain in place – Benidorm is enforcing face masks on beaches while clubs remain closed and cafes must social distance.
Spain has the closest active coronavirus rates to the UK as far as we know.
Brits can travel to France, with the country lifting the ban since June 15, although tourists will need to quarantine for 14 days upon entering.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French president Emmanuel Macron are understood to have discussed travel during a meeting on June 18.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on June 16, Mr Johnson said: “Obviously I will be talking to Emmanuel Macron about all sorts of ways in which we can bring our countries together, making sure that eventually we will be able to travel freely to and from each other’s countries.”
The government hopes to come to an agreement to allow Brits to freely travel across the English Channel again soon.
Turkey restarted flights from the UK in June, with Brits able to return to the popular tourist resorts.
New rules have seen face masks enforced in a number of regions across Turkey, or tourists face £100 fines.
Temperature and health tests will also be conducted upon entry, with tourists quarantined if testing positive.
Italy was initially one of the hardest-hit countries by coronavirus, but have reduced their lockdown measures and welcomed Brits back since June 3.
The country has no quarantine measures in place, but Brits will quarantine when returning to the UK.
“We hope that at the end of June quarantine will be abolished”, a source told the Telegraph.
Portugal has managed to keep its number of coronavirus cases much lower than many of its European neighbours.
The country is keen to offer an air bridge with the UK, despite recently experiencing a spike in cases in Lisbon, but No.10 is having doubts over it at the moment.
The Algarve also hopes to be an option for Brits this year.
João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism added: “The Algarve is one of the least affected regions in Portugal, and so we are now in a position to carefully plan a gradual reopening of its economic and social activity”.
More than a third of the Algarve region’s hotels are already open, with plans to have 75 per cent up and running by June and 100 per cent by July.
British tourists will be able to visit Dubai this summer as the United Arab Emirates prepares to welcome foreign visitors again from July 7.
Those arriving in the country will be required to prove, through certificates, that they have recently tested negative for Covid-19.
The alternative is that they could undergo a coronavirus test on arrival at the airport, the Dubai government media office said in a statement on Sunday.
International health insurance, coronavirus tests and a completed health declaration forms are mandatory for tourists visiting Dubai.
The UAE halted all incoming flights on March 24, with thousands left stranded after the date was moved 48 hours earlier at short notice.
Hotels are already slashing prices by 60 per cent to encourage tourists to return, but no plans have been put in place for the arrival of international visitors as of yet.
Germany has welcomed tourists, including Brits, back to the country, since June 15.
However, on June 22 it was revealed the country saw its coronavirus R rate triple in just two days to reach 2.88 – sparking fears of a second wave.
The reproduction number, or “R”, is the average number of people each person with the virus infects – if it remains below 1, then the outbreak in a country is shrinking, but it’s growing if it rises above it.
This may see it being moved to a “high risk” country for the UK when considering air bridges.
Greece is open to tourists, although quarantines between seven to 14 days are enforced depending on coronavirus test results upon entering.
EasyJet has started reselling flights from London Gatwick to Athens and TUI will fly there from July 11.
The country has managed to keep coronavirus cases relatively low, making it a popular choice for an air bridge with the UK.
Austria is also being considered for an air bridge with the UK.
However, Brits must have a medical certificate proving they don’t have coronavirus no older than four days, or face a 14-day quarantine.
Vienna Airport sells the tests for €190.
Yet cases remain low in Austria, and could be considered for the quarantine-free travel.
The lowest number of active cases, Croatia is a low-risk country to be linked with the UK.
Brits have been able to visit Croatia quarantine-free since June 16, with arrivals from Britain asked to fill out a form with details including whether you have ever had coronavirus or if you have been in contact with someone who has recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 14 days.
Travellers also have to provide proof of an accommodation booking or that they own a residence when crossing the border.
Masks are also not compulsory across Croatia.
While flights to Croatia are still limited, Wizz Air has restarted its Luton to Split route three times a week, with fares from £21.99.
Brits are instead looking to the future, and are booking holidays in 2021 instead due to uncertainty surrounding travel this year.
Thankfully, tour operators are already putting flights and package holidays on sale, with easyJet, On The Beach and Love Holidays selling trips.
Here are some of the best travel deals if heading to Spain, Greece or Florida in 2021