MILLIONS of concerned Brits face having their summer holidays ruined with thousands cancelling foreign trips in case they are forced to isolate on their return.
On Saturday the government issued an effective travel ban on Spain – with all Brits forced to quarantine for two weeks when returning to the UK – sparking families to cancel trips to Spain as well as France, Italy and Greece due to fears of similar last-minute quarantine restrictions being introduced.
The announcement, which gave just four hours’ notice, has affected as many as 600,000 Brits with Spanish holidays this summer, as many frantically tried to get home this weekend before the quarantine was imposed.
Tens of thousands of Brits cannot afford to effectively take a month off work – with no guarantee from the government regarding their jobs.
The Sun understands the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was keen to set up air bridges to the Baleriac islands as soon as this week as Covid cases are much lower there than the mainland – but he’s currently away in Spain – and faces a quarantine of his own when he gets back.
France and Germany have confirmed a spike in coronavirus cases, which could lead to further lockdowns, while Italy and Greece have also seen infections rise since tourists returned.
Paul Charles, founder of the travel PR consultancy firm PC Agency, told The Times: “People are cancelling not just Spain but other short-haul bookings.
“We’ve heard of lots of cancellations for holidays to France, Italy and Greece.”
France saw 1,130 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, while Italy daily cases jumped from 128 to 306 last week. Greece has seen coronavirus cases also rise since international tourists returned from July 1.
Mr Charles continued: “Dominic Raab said they wouldn’t hesitate to introduce quarantine measures on other countries and that’s simply put fear into people.”
The Foreign Secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge yesterday: “As we’ve found with Spain, we can’t give a guarantee.”
Mr Raab added: “There is an element of uncertainty this summer if people go abroad.
“I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. They should follow the advice.”
Dominic Raab said they wouldn’t hesitate to introduce quarantine measures on other countries and that’s simply put fear into people
Last week, it was reported that two thirds of hotel bookings in Spain were cancelled as tourists were put off by the country’s coronavirus spike, ahead of the travel ban announcement.
Hotel cancellation rates were as high as 70 per cent in the Balearic Islands, which includes Majorca and Ibiza, according to tourism market research group Dingus.
For some hotels the number of tourists cancelling stays booked weeks or months ago outweighs the number of new bookings.
A spokesperson for the Association of Hotel Chains of the Balearic Islands told Ultima Hora: “The situation has turned around in the last week and it has gone from having more reservations than cancellations to the opposite side.”
Brits are being warned not to cancel their own holidays to Spain as they may be left out of pocket, and to wait for tour operators to cancel them.
However, families who have booked flights and hotels separately may not get their money back as both remain operational.
Even Scotland has seen holiday cancellations after English tourists were warned they may be forced to quarantine.