A quarter of the UK will be on local lockdowns from Saturday 3rd October, as areas around Liverpool in the north west, and north eastern regions are subject to stricter lockdown measures, discouraging all but essential travel. For those in these regions planning holidays, the situation has become increasingly complex and travel editors, including those in The Daily Telegraph have offered guidance.



Travel Corridors: Turkey & Poland off the safe list

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted on Thursday that Turkey, Poland, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have been removed from the Travel Corridor list. Travellers arriving in the UK from these destinations from 4am on Saturday 3 October will need to self-isolate for 14 days.


COVID-19 cases are rising in most European countries. Protests have taken place in some cities where new restrictions have been implemented such as in Marseille and Madrid. As a result, TravelSupermarket has reported that while demand for holidays to Greece has fallen by 17 per cent - holiday prices have now fallen by as much as 41 per cent. This week the WTTC also called for a co-ordinated response to EU tourism recovery.


In Germany, where cases are growing, albeit from a very small base rate, the Government has lifted its blanket warning against travelling to countries outside the European Union on 1 October. The new announcements have seen new travel corridors created to some Caribbean Islands and Sri Lanka. However, Germany has extended travel warnings to a number of neighbours including the UK.


Bar and club owners in Magaluf and the region of Calvia have planned a complete remodelling of the tourism product.

Slovakia & Czech Republic

The Slovak and Czech Republic governments have called a state of emergency to fight COVID-19.

Australia and New Zealand

Lockdown restrictions in Australia’s second city, Melbourne have been eased this week and a travel corridor between Australia and New Zealand will be open from 16 October.


Barbados now sees the UK as a ‘high-risk destination so visiting Britons must take a test 72 hours before arriving and take another test 2-3 days after arriving in Barbados and self-isolate until the second negative result comes through. There are clear directives from the UK Government that British holidaymakers should pay for these required tests and not use the NHS system. The Telegraph sees this change of stance as a pivotal moment as virus levels grow in the UK. Writer Chris Leadbeater believes that there will be a raft of other countries who will impose greater restrictions on British visitors.

South Africa

From 1 October, South Africa has opened its borders to most countries. Leisure travellers from the UK will not be permitted and other UK nationals require a visa, which will only be granted for exceptional circumstances. All visitors are subjected to quarantine.


Malaysia is targeting Q1 in 2021 to open borders for leisure travellers.


The first foreign visitors from China arrived in Thailand this week. Nationalities permitted to enter will be from countries deemed low risk by the government. "We are not opening the country, we are limiting the number of entries and will manage with wrist bands, apps to follow them," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.


The Maldives is set to be the first country to launch its own loyalty programme on 1 December 2020. ‘Maldives Border Miles’ is a three-tiered loyalty program for tourists with a bronze, silver and gold tier system to help visitors earn status and extra points. Tourists will earn points based on the number of visits and duration of stay. Additional points will be awarded for visits to celebrate special occasions. The rewards have yet to be set.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

2020 was supposed to be a big year for Saudi Arabia, as it stepped up efforts to welcome overseas tourism – but COVID-19 saw it seal borders shut in mid-February. However, officials have told reporters that early 2021 could see the reissuing of tourist visas, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The country's fledgling international tourism sector has been badly impacted by the pandemic, but Travel Daily reports that Saudi Arabia is showing the strongest recovery in the Middle East, according to the latest report by hotel connectivity expert eRevMax.

Skift also reports that Saudi Arabia has found that in its move to open its doors to international leisure travellers, the pandemic has also created an unprecedented domestic travel boom. This is both generating income and improving the kingdom’s preparedness to serve international tourists when borders open again.



The Prime Minister has signaled that the government will give the go ahead to Heathrow to start testing in the second half of October, the Chief Executive of Heathrow John Holland Kaye told Travel Weekly.

Holland-Kaye believes that the move could be a game changer and lead to substantial flying by summer 2021. Most of the travel industry agrees with him and this week ABTA, the Travel Association reiterated its calls to government stating that the lack of testing and current quarantine system is ‘shattering’ consumer confidence.

But Holland-Kaye admits the move is unlikely to lead to a quick solution – particularly when it comes to establishing an international standard, but he believes it will be feasible to get a pilot off the ground (where passengers would be tested before they got on the plane to New York) by the end of November.

Air travellers must rely on “privately-delivered” testing, insisted Heathrow’s boss, and the industry should not compete with the NHS delivered tests. But another airline source said the results of these tests would need to be “integrated with the government test-and-trace system.”

The test facilities at Heathrow have been ready for weeks, but continue to await government sign-off and it is hoped would provide a reduction in 14-day quarantine restrictions for those who test negative to a second test.

Phil Salcedo, who is VP of global content from HolidayPirates - one of Europe’s largest travel media companies which operates in ten markets said: “In Germany, travellers have, in general avoided quarantine by providing a negative coronavirus test result or health certification. Both must have been made within the previous 48 hours. In addition, German and Italian airports have provided free testing for arrivals from at risk countries. The result is for those who have negative test results, no self-isolation is required. In the summer fewer Brits took any kind of holiday compared to their continental neighbours - 14% of the French, 19% of Spanish, 18% of Italians and 25% of Germans who were surveyed didn’t holiday at all, compared to 37% of Brits – proving that testing protects the industry to some extent.






Holland-Kaye also warned: “The demand for these will be enormous. It might take much longer before there is sufficient supply to satisfy the needs of all travellers.”

ABTA has released a survey of 2,000 consumers which found four in five (80%) were concerned about having to quarantine upon their return to the UK, while more than 90% said they were worried about the potential for last-minute changes to Foreign Office (FCDO) travel advice.

"It leaves viable travel businesses, including the thousands of travel agents up and down the country, unable to generate income," said the association.

Holland-Kaye also warned: “The demand for these will be enormous. It might take much longer before there is sufficient supply to satisfy the needs of all travellers.”

ABTA has released a survey of 2,000 consumers which found four in five (80%) were concerned about having to quarantine upon their return to the UK, while more than 90% said they were worried about the potential for last-minute changes to Foreign Office (FCDO) travel advice.

"It leaves viable travel businesses, including the thousands of travel agents up and down the country, unable to generate income," said the association.



The CAA has failed to clarify whether the 30 September deadline for issuing new Refund Credit Notes (RCNs) will be extended. Refund credit notes for cancelled ATOL bookings issued up to 30 September remain valid for 12 months.

RCNs for non-flight package holidays, which are not part of the ATOL scheme, can continue to be issued with a guarantee of protection against insolvency from ABTA and other guarantors.

The CAA and trustees have been reviewing the system and it is possible that they will provide a new date when they have an agreed policy, but without that, the CAA has suggested that companies should not issue them.

There is speculation that clarification on whether RCNs issued from 1 October will be protected under ATOL may accompany confirmation of the September ATOL renewals, expected next week, reports Travel Weekly.



Bank of England economist Andy Haldane said this week that it was important not to overlook the economy's quicker-than-expected recovery from lockdown: "The economy has already recovered just under 90% of its earlier losses. Having fallen precipitously by 20% in the second quarter, we expect UK GDP to have risen by a vertiginous 20% in the third quarter - by some margin its largest-ever rise."

He admitted that there was an "unholy trinity of risks from COVID, unemployment and Brexit."



Following a petition put together by an industry sales manager which attracted 50,000 signatures, the government has responded and rejected the request for an extension to the furlough scheme for the travel sector by saying "bespoke" sector-specific financial support would only come "as a last resort", reports TTG.



Half term down, summer 2021 up

Due to the rule of six, bookings for domestic self-catering holidays for the rest of this year have slumped, the Guardian reports, but it is a different story for 2021. Cottage companies, campsites and glampsites are reporting a surge in bookings, popular coastal properties that are usually booked in January have already been snapped up said the Professional Association of Self-Caterers.

Forward bookings for camping collection Cool Camping are also up 50% on the same time this year, with smaller coastal sites in Cornwall and Dorset and rural sites within easy reach of London the first to go.

The HoldiayPirates Group also said that Brits are also turning their attention to 2021 when it comes to booking holidays too, but for last-minute breaks in the UK, spa and wellness searches have surged.



As the ski season 2020/21 draws closer, The Guardian, FT and BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours have all examined how the pandemic is impacting it. Most popular Alpine ski countries for Brits are off the air corridor list – such as France, Austria, Switzerland, Andorra, Bulgaria, the USA and Canada. However, the resorts themselves are preparing for a busy season with buoyant demand from their domestic market.

Ski Solutions said that while the last season was cut short due to the pandemic, there has been no problem with demand. The Ski Club of Great Britain surveyed 19,000 people who went skiing last season and almost all of them- 96% - intend to go skiing this year too.

Crystal Ski reports that most bookings taken so far are for March and April 2021. There has also been a change in attitude to packages and Ski Club of Great Britain predicts that while last year two out of five skiers booked a package, this year it will be more like three out of five – because of the extra protection it affords.

Crystal, like many operators, is emphasising that people can book now knowing that if destinations remain on the quarantine lists, customers will be offered full refunds. However, more skiers are expected to choose last-minute self-drive and self-catering trips to avoid exposure to the virus, and may favour quieter, smaller villages over mega-resorts.

Catered chalets are particularly impacted this year Crystal Ski have taken their chalets off the market; Hotelplan UK (which operates hotels and chalets through the brands Inghams, Ski Total and Esprit Ski) has cut its roster from about 120 to 60 and some of the smaller independent chalet operators have folded. The trade body Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) says anecdotal evidence suggests a similar 50 per cent cut, on average, across its 200 members, reports The Financial Times. Whereas operators using hotels can switch to a last-minute booking model with little financial risk, those operating chalets need to commit to hiring staff and renting properties for the entire season. Brexit has increased the jeopardy, making it impossible for British companies to send out staff – or ‘posted workers’ at short notice after 1 January, should the quarantine situation improve. However, those at the luxury end have not been affected as much.

The Guardian predicts a bumper season for ski resorts in Scotland and northern England.



Air Passenger Duty (APD)

Despite the industry lobbying for a waiver of APD, Air Passenger Duty is to rise next year on medium and long-haul routes, while the rate on short-haul flights will stay the same, reports Travelmole. Starting on 1 April 2021, medium and long-haul economy travellers will pay £82 each way, a rise of £2. Premium class passengers on medium or long-haul flights will pay £180, an increase of £4.

The Telegraph has also long lobbied the Government to scrap the tax, which has risen by 700 per cent since 1994. 








Add-Ons: Ryanair makes most

A study by IdeaWorks, a US travel consultancy, has published research on the amount of money earned by 81 airlines from add-ons. Ryanair made almost £2.6 billion through add-ons such as reserved seating, priority boarding and checked-in luggage last year, up by almost a fifth, making more money than any other airline outside the US. Other airlines successful with add-ons include EasyJet, Wizz Air, Jet2 and IAG.

Other aviation headlines

  • Air France suffered a 70 per cent fall in revenue in August while filling only about 30 per cent of the seats on its intercontinental routes. It has formed a new transatlantic joint venture with Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic.
  • Norway’s government is considering taking a temporary stake in Norwegian to see it through the COVID crisis, according to local press reports.
  • The future of Prestwick Airport is uncertain after the preferred private sector bidder pulled out of talks, blaming the impact of the pandemic.
  • Qatar Airways posts record loss of around $1.9 billion. It received a 7.3 billion riyal advance from the government of Qatar to help it cope with the global downturn. 
  • Pilots have agreed a deal with easyJet to avoid compulsory job losses. The  airline has also launched a new 'Protection Promise', which lets customers who decide not to travel for any reason up to four weeks before departure get a full cash refund, aside from their deposit which will be returned to them as a credit voucher.
  • Cardiff Airport to remain open despite local lockdown. It currently has around three arrivals and departures per day. Throughout the pandemic, no British airports have been forced to close – rather, it has been the cancellation of flights that has led many to cease operating. 
  • Skyscanner has been hard hit - at its peak in 2019, the website had 100 million monthly average visits. That figure has fallen 60% y-o-y since June. Revenue has collapsed (generated mainly through commission from bookings). There were green shoots in May, June and July, but the new CEO expects things to worsen as the winter months set in and travel restrictions to continue through winter. 

Inside the airline industry

The Guardian has taken an in-depth look at the airline industry during the pandemic and found a perfect storm. Air travel correlates to GDP. When people have more money, they fly more. In the past, airlines have only been stung by one or the other of these factors. During Sars, travel was unsafe, but the global economy didn’t flatline. During the 2008 financial crash, money was tight, but flying was not a health risk. This year there has been a financial crash and there have been health warnings around flying.

  • IATA predicts that passenger numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels only by 2023 and others in the industry cite 2024 or 2025.
  • Many carriers will have to invest in climate change plans, buying offsets or funding research.
  • The downturn in business travel has negatively impacted the industry. Business travellers make up 12%-15% of a plane’s passengers, but contribute as much as 75% of a flight’s profits.
  • In Asian countries including China and India – markets that have been growing faster than most others, as flights became increasingly affordable and they will rebound more quickly.
  • Airlines will have smaller fleets. More planes will be smaller, single-aisle jets flying point to point, as there will be less demand for connecting flights or layover airports.
  • Flying will feel both more austere, in aseptic and functional flights, and more luxurious, since there will be less of it.



  • Kuoni is to close 16 stores (from 48 to 32) but retain all affected staff.
  • Jet2holidays is offering a new coronavirus insurance for Brits - including if the Foreign Office changes its travel advice.
  • TUI, Europe’s largest travel organisation has confirmed it will receive a second stabilisation package by the German government of an additional €1.2 billion.
  • Thomas Cook's new online-only holiday business will get access to over 180,000 unique hotels in 140 countries via Hotelbeds in a new strategic partnership.
  • Amazon has soft-launched virtual tours and observers believe that real experiences won’t be far behind.



InteleTravel says membership has boomed during the pandemic and the homeworking company now has 10,556 members throughout the UK and the Channel Islands, reports Travelmole.



Walt Disney is to lay off 28,000 staff. Most of the layoffs will be in its US theme parks although Disney Cruise Line and Disney’s retail stores will also be affected.



A sustained recovery in China should increase confidence in the global hospitality market, delegates at AHIC on the Road have been told.

Kenneth Macpherson, chief executive in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa for InterContinental Hotels Group, said a renewed sense of optimism had return to the country and that this could spread globally.

He added: “The Chinese authorities did get the virus under control, and this has allowed them to get back to a focus on economic growth.



Global Radio

Despite a growth in commercial radio audiences, radio advertisers have slashed budgets and UK radio advertising spend is expected to plunge 21 per cent this year. Radio is expected to bounce back faster than TV (due to faster creative turnaround), according to Global Radio.

GB News

Andrew Neil, veteran BBC broadcaster and former Editor of The Sunday Times has quit the BBC to set up a new TV news channel. Backed by Discovery Inc, which is behind Discovery Channel and Science Channel, GB News will launch in 2021 with a right-leaning news agenda. It will be accessed through Freeview.

Travel Radio

A new digital radio station dedicated to the travel trade, is due to go live on air on Monday, 19 October. Travel Radio will feature 24-hour music, chat, interviews and competitions, and has its roots in CCFM On Air, the first global radio station for cabin crew, airline colleagues and aviation enthusiasts, which launched in May.

The LOTUS team has been in contact with these new media outlets to explore opportunities. LOTUS also compiles bespoke broadcast campaign packages.



Job losses

The events industry is warning the government that 90,000 jobs will be lost without an urgent package of support.

An open letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, signed by 334 companies across the UK, sets out the “existential threat” facing the industry, which is one of the few sectors that remains fully closed.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Global hospitality group Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a new hybrid meeting concept at selected Dolce Hotels and Resorts across Europe.

It includes innovations such as live streaming to separate Dolce meeting rooms at a single location, large online conferences, and on-site broadcast studios which can stream to its hotels across Europe.



Amadeus: How Tech Can Drive Consumer Confidence and Recovery

Amadeus published a report “Destination X: Where to next?” based on a consumer survey of 8,500 people globally. Safety was revealed to be of utmost importance to travellers, with 59% of those surveyed saying that they must know what is being done to prevent the spread of the disease by airports and airlines and a similar figure wanted to know the same information for hotels.

Amadeus sited some examples of how travel companies are using technology to reassure customers about the travel experience, which included:

  • United Airlines will ask passengers to self-assess their health and environmental exposure during check-in, and require customers to go through a “ready-to-fly” checklist. The airline has also rolled out touchless bag check-in
  • Digital health passport. In July a flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands tested an app using data from health authorities to certify that travellers were COVID-free. “The Health iCard App has the backing from the UNWTO and is GDPR-compliant. Blockchain protocols avoid the possibility of false profiles being created or medical records being manipulated.
  • Clear, a US company which specialises in biometric identification, is retrofitting airport kiosks to speed up the identification process while simultaneously taking passengers’ temperatures and scanning users’ faces to pull up their health passes.
  • Eurostar has created a contactless, walk-through biometric facial recognition service.
  • Manchester airport is trialling a new system that allows customers to pre-book free security time slots to avoid queues. “If successful the system will also be rolled out at Stansted and East Midlands airports,” says de Bono.
  • Reopen EU is a site from the European Commission that shares information about travel around and to European companies, detailing coronavirus rules as well as which beaches and hotels are open in each destination.
  • IATA has created a world map that details COVID regulations by country, and is updated more than 200 times a day.

Other findings included customers are relying more on travel agents for reassurance.

AllClear: Young Vs Old

Travel insurance provider AllClear has released new research that highlights polarised attitudes between young and older travellers on safety and holiday spend.

Almost three quarters (72%) of people would be prepared to cut corners to save money on the cost of a holiday abroad in the next year. But the youngest travellers are most likely to put themselves and others at risk in the pursuit of a cheap holiday.

However, holidaymakers aged over 55 were least likely to cut corners (54%), travel without insurance (4%) or buy cheap insurance cover (7%).

Older travellers were most likely to want to pay more money for a safer trip (£1,436 vs. £1,233 of under 35s), pick a destination based on its safety in terms of COVID-19 (31% vs 24%) consider the risks of the country going back into lockdown (30% vs 24%), and the state of the health service in the country they plan to visit (27% vs 21%).


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