July 24, 2020
This week news broke that a Covid-19 vaccination being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford has been found to induce an immune response to the illness. The first phase of human trials saw doses of the vaccine given to 1,077 healthy adults in April. While the findings are promising, scientists have warned more research must be done to determine whether the immune response is effective enough to protect against Covid-19. The new face covering rules that will be implemented in England from midnight tonight are at the forefront of today’s UK news. Ministers have been under pressure to clarify the mixed messaging regarding where face masks are mandatory. UK media are also reporting about the unlikelihood of a UK trade deal with the EU by the end of the year. Ahead of the next announcement from the UK government about air bridges, there is much speculation about which destinations will be added or removed from the list of those exempt from the UK’s 14-day quarantine rule. Meanwhile in the US, President Trump has suggested it is "patriotic" to wear a face mask in situations where you can’t socially distance. The US has confirmed more than 3.8m cases of the virus so far, and almost 141,000 people have died. In England and Wales, deaths have fallen to their lowest level since lockdown was imposed in March, with fatalities down 31% to 366 in the week ending 10th July.
This week’s major articles and topics:
- BBC reports President Donald Trump has warned the US pandemic may "get worse before it gets better", as he revived his virus briefings with a more scripted tone and there could be more than 3,500 avoidable cancer deaths in England in the next five years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Professional networking site LinkedIn is to cut 960 jobs as the coronavirus hits demand for its recruitment products and a third of firms to cut jobs in the next three months reports Sky News.
- The Telegraph reported that Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland must rule out quarantine measures for visitors from other parts of the UK
- The Daily Express reports that Britons face travel ban as Greece ramps up COVID-19 testing at borders. Should too many UK visitors receive positive results on arrival, the Greek government could make the decision to shut its borders to Britain until further notice.
- Mail Online reports that the international travel ban sees flights soar to double pre-COVID-19 prices as economy travellers are kicked off flights for first and business class seats. With limited seats available, airlines have been criticised for prioritising higher fares and replacing economy seats with more expensive business or first class travellers.
The travel trade press continued to focus on the impact that Covid-19 has had on the travel industry and the updates from airlines, tour operators and tourism destinations. Elsewhere, as more destinations opened up, trade titles covered the surge in bookings across the UK as well as informative angles on how travellers will be able to go on holiday this summer and the requirements needed to ensure health and safety.
This week’s major articles and topics:
- Co-op Holidays vows to pay cash refunds within 10 days and bookings for summer 2020 increased eight percentage during Week 15 (week to Friday 17 July) reports TTG.
- Travel Weekly reports Tui is focusing its advertising on “inspiration” and will not try to tempt customers back with promotions or late deals and easyJet staff are to protest against planned cuts and base closures with socially-distanced demonstrations at Newcastle, Southend and Stansted airports.
- Major airlines have asked for a joint coronavirus testing programme, so that travel may resume between the US and Europe and many hotel brands and management companies are touting flexibility around guest cancellations polices and loyalty status amid the Covid-19 pandemic, reports TravelMole.
- Travel Bulletin reports the capital of Mallorca, Palma, has seen a surge in private jet arrivals and the Czech Republic has officially reopened its borders for the British tourists, with new health and safety guidelines in place.
- Organisers have confirmed WTM London will go ahead between 2 and 4 November 2020 and will be one of the first major exhibitions to take place globally since the Covid-19 pandemic. This year's event is centred on the concept of recovery, rebuild and innovate, as global travel and tourism leaders will meet to discuss the future of the industry and begin its resurgence. WTM said: "The show will reflect the diverse needs of the travel and tourism industry by incorporating both a live event, at ExCeL London, as well as a virtual event taking place online the week after, reports Travel Mole.
- Abercrombie & Kent has announced plans to restructure its UK business reports TTG, Breaking Travel News, Travel Mole and Travel Weekly
- Virgin Atlantic has admitted it “fell short of its standards of service” in processing Covid-19 related refunds and has apologised to its trade partners and their customers as reported by Travel Weekly
- Wizz Air has named reality TV personality Gemma Collins as a brand ambassador to help provide “post-lockdown holiday inspiration” to the British public this summer reports TTG
- Travel Republic has introduced Covid-19 insurance covering cancellation and medical costs reports TTG
Similar to the past few weeks, travel titles continue to cover the destinations that are now open to UK travellers and the FCO advice. With this list of new destinations, roundups and listicles have been published to aid readers in their holiday planning. As well as international travel, many titles are still focusing on domestic holidays and staycations.
This week’s articles and topics:
- The Independent: The Foreign Office (FCO) has published a list of destinations where it has now lifted its blanket advice against all non-essential international travel
- Bermuda is offering year-long stays for people who want to work or study remotely reports The Independent
- Scottish holidaymakers can jet off to Spain without quarantining on their return after SNP ministers finally announced that restrictions will be lifted this week reports The Telegraph
- The Times reports that a survey has suggested that three out of four people in Ireland are not contemplating a holiday abroad this year
- From 24 July, face masks must be worn in enclosed spaces in England. These spaces include shops, supermarkets, banks, post offices, trains, train stations, buses, bus stations, airports and planes. Those who fail to wear a mask could be fined up to £100, with this in mind, Conde Nast Traveller included a roundup of the best masks to wear when travelling.
WHAT WE’RE LOVING IN TRAVEL THIS WEEK
The UK’s first National Travel Agent Day took place on 24 July 2020, which was supported by trade bodies, travel agents, tour operators, tourist boards and airlines. Launched by Intrepid Travel, the virtual appreciation event aimed to celebrate the valuable role of travel agents and their extraordinary efforts during the Covid-19 crisis.
Emirates has launched free medical and quarantine cover for passengers in the event they are diagnosed with Covid-19 during their travels. The cover is free to passengers in all classes, flying to any destination across the Emirates network – and is immediately available on any flights departing up to 31 October. Emirates will cover medical expenses of up to €150,000, and quarantine costs of €100 per day for 14 days.
Refund Credit Notes praised as ‘lifeline’ for agents. Following the news that the government confirmed Atol-protection of package holiday bookings extends to refund credit notes for cancellations due to Covid-19.