Officials ‘devastated’ as feds extend nonessential border travel ban | Cronkite News

Nogales, like all ports of entry on the southern border, saw traffic plummet after the U.S. and Mexican governments banned nonessential travel to head off the spread of COVID-19. Local officials had hoped the ban would end this week, but the government extended it to July 21. (File photo by Miranda Cyr/Cronkite News)

WASHINGTON – Border officials said they were “devastated” this week to find that the federal government has extended a COVID-19 ban on nonessential border crossings for another month, potentially crippling businesses there.

“The ban is a terrible and now-exaggerated response to the pandemic,” said Andy Carey, executive director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Project. “It’s reinstated every month for another month, and it’s been going on for nearly a year-and-a-half now, it’s time for the ban to end.”

The ban was first imposed in March 2020 on nonessential travel – essentially tourists or family visitors – between the U.S., Mexico and Canada in response to the first wave of COVID-19. It was regularly extended but was set to expire Monday.

Customs and Border Protection said that the situation has improved in both Canada and Mexico, as vaccinations have risen and infections have dropped. But it announced Wednesday that things were still too uncertain, particularly given the rise of new variants, to lift the restriction, which was extended to 11:59 p.m. July 21.

CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. But border community leaders, who had been looking for the ban to end this week, were not happy.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said his city has lost billions of dollars in business from the ban that “should have been lifted months ago.”

“You know it’s going to hurt when 65% of our sales tax comes from residents in Sonora coming here and shopping,” Garino said. “That money keeps us afloat.”

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Officials in Yuma and in San Ysidro, California, echoed his comments, saying border communities are suffering from a travel ban that has “outlived its purpose.”

“I represent about 800 businesses, and we would do $895 million in retail sales during a normal year,” said Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. “We are estimating from March 2020 to March 2021 that the number is about $250 million. That’s about a 72% loss.”

In the Nogales district alone, according to data from the University of Arizona, the number of people crossing the border fell from almost 2 million in January 2020 to 552,827 in April of that year, before climbing back to 1.25 million in March 2021.

Jaime Chamberlain, chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, said his community is desperately missing Mexican shoppers and visitors, and that “stores are closing down left and right.”

He said the travel ban has dealt “a horrendous blow to our economy, not only to the city, but to our state economy…. Before the pandemic, Hispanic consumers were spending over $9.5 million a day in the state of Arizona.”

Officials complained that they have reached out repeatedly to the Biden administration about lifting the nonessential travel ban, but so far have not received a response.

“I’ve written two letters to Vice President Kamala Harris, one in April and one in the beginning of this month asking her to come to Nogales and visit our port to understand more the economic impact and I haven’t gotten a response from her office or any staff of hers, not by email not by phone,” Garino said.

Wells said he also reached out, with no luck, and that until the ban is lifted border businesses will continue to suffer.

Local leaders said the ban is not logical. It allows the cross-border movement of cargo and travel for schooling, medical care, work or government business, among other exceptions, and only applies to land ports – not airports.

Border crossings in pre-pandemic days, like this 2016 photo, saw motorists lined up to cross into Mexico form downtown Nogales. (Photo by Brian Fore/Cronkite News)

“Thousands and thousands of people are still crossing the border every day,” said Kimberly Kahl, executive director for the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re not stopping the spread of COVID-19, all we’re doing is stopping people from being able to cross the border and provide patronage to businesses or visit family.”

Carey asked what health protections are offered if “you can fly to Mexico City, you can fly to Cancun, but you can’t drive across the border?”

Chamberlain said that the travel ban served a purpose when vaccines were not readily available and COVID-19 cases were spiking. But Santa Cruz County today has “an 84% vaccination rate, which is the best of counties in Arizona,” he said.

“We’ve been working really hard, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done,” he said of local vaccination efforts.

Garino said it’s past time to lift the restrictions.

“To use the COVID-19 pandemic to continue closing our border and prohibit trade is devastating,” he said. “The Biden administration needs to put a stop to this and they need to open up the border.”

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Alaska expands Pacific Northwest service, Delta returns to Amsterdam, more flight news

Following vaccination availability and loosened travel restrictions, leisure travel continues to skyrocket. In response, airlines are enhancing service routes to meet the heightened demand of summer travel.  

This week’s airline news reveals new Pacific Northwest service from Alaska Airlines, nonstop service between Seattle and Amsterdam from Delta, and the return of Tahiti service from Hawaiian Airlines.

Keep reading to discover the latest airline news for the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Alaska Airlines expands with Boise and Redding

Alaska Airlines is adding new nonstop service between Washington’s Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) and Boise (BOI). Service begins August 17, with five flights per week between the two cities.

“Our new year-round route bridging Boise and Pullman-Moscow will offer a crucial link to that area’s two major universities,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines.

Alaska has also introduced daily service between Redding Municipal Airport (RDD) and Seattle (SEA).

Delta enhances trans-Atlantic offerings as borders reopen to tourism

Trans-Atlantic flights continue to return as European destinations reopen to travelers. Delta is operating more flights to Amsterdam than any other U.S. airline, including direct nonstop service between Seattle (SEA) and Amsterdam (AMS).

Effective June 24, passengers from the U.S. do not need to present vaccination or covid test results when entering The Netherlands. Travelers may book flights to Amsterdam and review entry requirements on Delta’s Travel Planning Center. A roundtrip flight from SEA to AMS starts at $1,060 in Delta’s basic economy.  

Seascape at the beach in Tikehau island in Tahiti.

Seascape at the beach in Tikehau island in Tahiti.

Max shen/Getty Images

Hawaiian Airlines to resume Tahiti service

Hawaiian Airlines has announced the return of its Tahiti service following the launch of a pre-travel testing program allowing quarantine-free travel within the two archipelagos. Beginning August 7, Hawaiian will reinstate once-weekly nonstop flying between Honolulu’s HNL airport and Tahiti’s PPT airport.

“We look forward to reconnecting our islands, but most importantly, reconnecting family members who have not seen each other for over a year,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines.

Guests traveling to Tahiti from HNL will need to provide proof of vaccination and have fulfilled the government of Tahiti’s COVID-19 entry requirements prior to travel.

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Independence Day travel expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels | Local News

The greatest number of Texans on record, approximately 3.7 million, are expected to travel during the Independence Day holiday weekend, according to travel forecast data from AAA Texas.

A closer look at the travel forecast, which the American Automobile Association started in 2000, shows more Texans than ever will drive to their Independence Day destinations, about 3.3 million. That is a 41% jump from last year and a 10% increase from 2019.

Airports will be busier too as AAA Texas forecasts around 338,000 leisure passengers will fly to get away, an increase of 177% from 2020 and just around 3% fewer than 2019. The “Other Travel” category, which includes buses, trains and cruises, is also going to see a recovery by about 75% (+15,000 people) from 2020 totaling around 35,000 passengers but will remain lower by around 83% from 2019 figures.

On a national scale, more than 47.7 million Americans will take to the nation’s roadways and skies during this holiday timeframe, as travel volumes are expected to nearly fully recover to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record nationally, trailing only 2019. Overall, just 2.5% fewer Americans are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019. This represents an increase of nearly 40% compared to last year, when total travel fell to 34.2 million.

While all modes of travel will see increased demand this Independence Day, road trips continue to dominate this summer. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. An expected 43.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 5% more than the previous record set in 2019. With 3.5 million people planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels and increase 164% compared to last year.

“After deferring opportunities for nearly a year-and-a-half, more Texans than ever are anticipated to travel away from home this Independence Day holiday,” said Kent Livesay, vice president and general manager, AAA Texas. “With this projection in mind, AAA Texas recommends that vacationers work with a trusted travel advisor to plan a memorable getaway that meets your needs and comfort-level.”

Another 620,000 Americans are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, an increase of over 72% compared to last year, but 83% lower than in 2019. This includes travel by bus and train, and also the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports beginning in late June. For those who make the personal decision to take a cruise, AAA Texas reminds them that a travel advisor can help with any cancelation policies, answer questions related to what you can expect on your cruise, and travel insurance options to help protect your health and travel investment before and during your vacation.

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, along with the return trip on Monday mid-day. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see nearly double the delays verses typical drive times, with drivers in Boston and San Francisco likely to experience nearly three-times the delays.

“With travelers eager to hit the road this summer, we’re expecting nationwide traffic volumes to increase about 15% over normal this holiday weekend. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delay,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoon, along with Monday mid-day.”

The 3.3 million Texans expected to travel by car this Independence Day can expect gas prices to be the most expensive since June 2018 with the statewide average at $2.74 per gallon of regular unleaded, at the time of this report.

“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer. In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Though prices are around $1 more per gallon compared to this same time last year, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned.”

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Travel update: When is next green list announcement? | Travel News | Travel

An update to the UK’s traffic light system for travel is due imminently as British holidaymakers hope for more summer holiday options to be made available. The narrow number of choices on the current green list has caused agony for wannabe summer holidaymakers across the UK, with most countries out of reach due to their own restrictions.

The Government is due to review the travel lists every three weeks, and while nothing has been confirmed as yet, Brits are hoping for more choice when it comes to summer travel later this year.

The current green list includes none of the UK’s top travel destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, making the prospect of a summer holiday less inviting.

Holiday destinations rumoured to be moving to the green list include Spain’s Balearic Islands, Italy, Croatia, and Malta.

However, countries being added to the green list is highly dependent on Covid data.

Matt Hancock has said he is “in favour of moving forward in this area” and replacing quarantine with daily testing.

He told Sky News: “This hasn’t been clinically advised yet – we’re working on it.”

It comes as the travel industry lobbies the government in a Travel Day of Action, putting pressure on the Government to further support the largely decimated travel industry.

Tim Aldersale, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said that “it is now or never for the government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season”, adding that the “travel sector remains in lockdown as the rest of the country opens up”.

Gary Lewis, chief executive of “Over the last 14 months we have seen our members’ revenues drop to a fraction of 2019 levels and a number of our members have sadly closed their doors for good.

“While much of the economy reopens, businesses in the outbound travel sector have been left out in the cold with a lack of financial support and ambiguity about a safe route to international travel.

“Alongside colleagues across the travel industry, we’re asking the Government to allow international travel to return safely in a risk-managed way, implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system.

“This should see the Green list expanding in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.”

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises unveils plans for Grandeur | News

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has confirmed the name of its new ship as Seven Seas Grandeur.

Embodying a 30-year legacy of perfecting luxury travel, the sixth member of the Regent fleet is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Jason Montague, chief executive of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, revealed the name in a video, which also unveiled the ship’s beautifully reimagined design of Compass Rose, the cruise line’s signature restaurant.

“The culmination of a 30-year heritage of perfection, Seven Seas Grandeur is the latest evolution in luxury cruising.

“Her refined style, matchless elegance and breath-taking beauty will exceed all expectations of our discerning guests,” said Montague.

“We are immensely proud that by the end of 2023 we will have welcomed a sixth member to the world’s most luxurious fleet. It’s a testament to the expanding demand for luxury cruising that the Regent brand is driving thanks to our perfectly sized ships offering unrivalled space at sea.”

Seven Seas Grandeur will host only 750 guests and have a gross tonnage of 55,254, providing among the highest space ratios and staff to guest ratios in the industry. She is a sister ship to Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever built and Seven Seas Splendor, the ship that perfects luxury.

Find out more [email protected]

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Green list news live: Latest travel updates

Fully jabbed Britons won’t have to quarantine when they return home from amber destinations from as early as mid-July, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Malta and the Balearic islands of Spain are slated for the green list, which is due to be updated tomorrow.

There are currently 11 countries on the green list, most inaccessible to British tourists.

It comes as the travel industry lobbies the government in a Travel Day of Action, putting pressure on the government to support the beleaguered travel industry.


What could be added to the green list tomorrow?

Rumours are swirling that Malta and the Balearics could be added to the green list in the latest traffic light reshuffle tomorrow.

But what could make the cut for summer holidays?

Data analysed by the PC Agency from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and Our World in Data suggests that, according to the UK’s own criteria, the following countries should go green: the US, Croatia, Canada, Italy, Germany, the Balearic Islands, Mexico, Jamaica, Finland, Poland, Morocco, Malta, Barbados and Grenada.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has made his own green list predictions, and agrees that Malta should be added.

“I am holding out hope of Albania, Morocco (100 to 1), Finland and plucky Moldova. And of course Malta they cannot overlook for a third time.”

Cathy Adams23 June 2021 10:37


Could Malta and Balearics make the green list tomorrow?

The government is expected to announce its next review of the travel “traffic light” system on 24 June.

While there has been much speculation that no countries would be added to the slim “green list”, from where returning travellers need not quarantine, a government source told The Times there was a “real possibility” that the Balearics would make the cut.

Read the full report here.

Helen Coffey23 June 2021 10:33


Travel Day of Action kicks off

People from across the industry, including travel agents, pilots, tour operators, aviation workers and cabin crew, are among the thousands who will “speak up for travel” at events across the UK today.

The day has been organised by a brace of industry groups, including Abta, Airlines UK and the Business Travel Association.

Huw Merriman, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, shared his support.

Gatwick Airport added its voice.

To see more messages of support, the hashtag to follow is #SpeakUpForTravel.

Cathy Adams23 June 2021 10:23


Travel expert responds to assertion that ‘important people’ need not quarantine

“The government is way behind other countries on this issue and is now having to play catch-up. The sooner it frees up travel for the masses, the sooner it protects and saves hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk in the sector.”

Simon Calder23 June 2021 10:15


A reminder that travel isn’t just about holidays…

Your regular reminder that travel isn’t just about holidays.

In a new poll of 2,000 adults, travel insurer battleface found that almost a quarter were planning to travel abroad this year or next for family reasons. On average, those polled have not seen those family members in 15 months, when Covid lockdown restrictions began.

A similar percentage (28 per cent) said they wanted to travel abroad for a holiday.

“It is clear from our latest data that there is a huge appetite for the return of international travel,” said Katie Crowe, director of communications for battleface.

“While there are many Brits looking forward to an overseas holiday, there are even greater numbers who want to reconnect with family members who they haven’t seen in over a year.

We hope very much that families who have been kept apart due to ongoing travel restrictions will be reunited as soon as possible. battleface continues to offer travel insurance for all destinations including countries under FCDO and government essential and non-essential travel advisories.”

Cathy Adams23 June 2021 10:07


EasyJet scraps Manchester-Scotland flights

Britain’s biggest budget airline has constantly been thwarted in its hopes to fly British travellers abroad this summer.

In desperation, six days ago easyJet announced a dozen new UK domestic routes, on the basis that travel was unrestricted within and between the four nations.

But now key links from Manchester to Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been scrapped because of Scotland’s ban on non-essential travel to and from the English city.

Read the full story here.

Simon Calder23 June 2021 09:50


Green list bingo

Which countries could be added to the green list tomorrow following the last disappointing traffic light update?

The Independent has crunched the numbers, and here is what could be added in the next reshuffle.

Cathy Adams23 June 2021 09:47


Travel industry lobbies government over support

Workers from across the travel industry are today lobbying the government for support as part of a Travel Day of Action.

Everyone from travel agents, pilots, tour operators, aviation workers and cabin crew are among the thousands who will ‘speak up for travel’ today, asking the government to capitalise on the vaccine rollout by safely reopening travel for the summer season and provide tailored financial support to businesses.

According to industry body Abta, as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk in the travel industry.

The Travel Day of Action has two main aims.

The first is for the government to “properly implement” the traffic light system, and to expand the green list “in line with the evidence”. Additionally, it wants the government the remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from green and amber countries.

The second is to provide a package of tailored financial support, including extension of the furlough scheme until April 2022.

Cathy Adams23 June 2021 09:32


Big day for Essex airport

Ryanair will launch daily flights between London Stansted and Helsinki on 31 October 2021.

The Essex airport is among eight new links to and from the Finnish capital.

The airline schedule analyst, Sean Moulton, said: “Ryanair is also adding another Finnish city – Tampere, with flights to Stansted year-round.“

It’s a big day for Stansted’s connectivity.”

Simon Calder23 June 2021 08:57


Quarantine… but not if you’re ‘important’

The media minister has said that “people who are important” should be entitled to avoid tough quarantine rules when travelling to the UK.

Speaking on Sky News, John Whittingdale was asked why players, officials and others coming to London for the Euros final on 11 July should be allowed in without self-isolating.

He said: “We’ve always said that for some people who are important, players, for instance …”

Read the full story here.

Simon Calder23 June 2021 08:56

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Travel sector demands reopening in nationwide protest | News

Travel agents, pilots, tour operators, aviation workers and cabin crew are among the thousands of people who will ‘speak up for travel’ today, as part of a day of action.

The sector is seeking to put pressure on the government to capitalise on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout by safely reopening travel for the summer season and provide tailored financial support to businesses.

The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end.

Data from ABTA estimates that as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry, with IATA research indicating that hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs are supported by the furlough scheme.

Although travel is no longer illegal, the industry says the government has failed to deliver a restart to international travel as promised, by undermining the risk-based system ministers established for a safe return to travel.

In contrast, other countries are forging ahead with pragmatic, risk-based schemes that allow safe travel including most recently Germany, France and Spain.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “It is now or never for the government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season, not just for families desperate to get away but the tens of thousands of jobs which rely upon this once thriving sector.

“Airlines are at the absolute limit of what they can borrow and without a genuine reopening this summer they will require Government support to survive.

“The best way to save UK aviation is to enable a return to the skies – safely – by taking advantage of our vaccine dividend and allowing fully vaccinated passengers to travel without restrictions from amber and green countries.

“This is now happening across much of Europe and the UK is in grave danger of needlessly falling behind.”

Without a meaningful summer season – a crucial period of the year for travel businesses, airlines and airports – many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of the travel sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.

As part of the day of action there are a range of events and activities happening across the UK – including 800 people attending an organised lobby outside parliament in London, 200 people at an event in Holyrood in Edinburgh and 100 gathering in Belfast.

There will be a virtual lobby in Cardiff, as well as activities at a range of UK airports and meetings with MPs locally and campaigning on social media.

The industry bodies behind the protest – including ABTA, Airlines UK, the Business Travel Association, Airport Operators Association, UKinbound, Advantage Travel Partnership and the Travel Network Group – also say the UK government’s support through the crisis has been inadequate.

While other sectors have received tailored support, such as grant schemes, the story is quite different for travel, with many travel businesses excluded from the general grant support available and others only able to access the bare minimum.

Airlines and airports, meanwhile, have taken on billions of pounds of debt – raised privately and through government loans schemes – that will have to be paid back.

As a result, many businesses are struggling to survive – 57 per cent of small- and medium-sized travel agents said they would not have the cash to survive more than three months based on current trading conditions and available government support.

The travel day of action has support from the major airlines and tour operators as well as hundreds of small independent travel agents and leisure and business travel agents.

Collectively they are calling on the UK government to:

  • Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, while keeping a strong red list to guard against variants. Government should also capitalise on the success of the vaccine rollout by removing testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated individuals travelling from green and amber countries.
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support until April 2022, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

The government is expected to provide an update on the traffic light list within the next week, and a review of the requirements for international travel is due on June 28th.

Despite international travel significantly being curtailed, meaning businesses still have little opportunity to generate income, companies will be subject to the ten per cent rise in furlough costs at the end of the month, and payments towards business rates for travel agents will also go up.

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Travel news: Hotels in Spain take legal action against’s ‘abusive’ practices | Travel News | Travel

Travel news: Hotels in Spain take legal action against’s ‘abusive’ practices | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix

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Travel news: island retreats for peace, pampering and privacy

Crowing about Antiparos

A lap pool at the Rooster spa
A lap pool at the Rooster spa © Yannis Rizomarkos
The hotel is designed to embrace ‘slow living’ and harmonise with its surroundings
The hotel is designed to embrace ‘slow living’ and harmonise with its surroundings © Yannis Rizomarkos
The reception reflects the organic design of the suites
The reception reflects the organic design of the suites © Yannis Rizomarkos

Cultural communities, experience hubs, creative retreats… A lot of hotels these days bill themselves as more than just hotels. But we’re inclined to think The Rooster, which opened on 1 June on the Cycladic islet of Antiparos, is going to be one that actually fulfils its promise. Owner Athanasia Comninos’s love for Antiparos springs from its unspoilt, anti-Mykonos beauty, and this is what she aims to help preserve with her vision for holiday living. She commissioned Athens-based VOIS Architects to design 17 accommodations – suites, small houses and villas of different sizes and layouts – with the blue of the Aegean to one side and gardens full of native grasses all around. Peace and privacy are The Rooster’s twin mandates: there are internal courtyards and outdoor kitchens, and sea-view terraces with long lap pools. Walls are smoothed in simple plaster, floors lined in sisal; organic cotton dresses the low-slung sofas, divans and beds. A secret garden hosts candlelit suppers with produce sourced from The Rooster’s own veg patches; they’ll prepare “beach baskets” for guests who want to explore further afield (or they’ll deliver a sundowner basket to you at Sifneiko Beach, if you prefer). Wellness is woven into every guest’s stay, with open-air treatments that leverage nature to the fullest, from the pure nut and fruit oils used to the salutary settings carefully chosen.; from €580 per night

Retreat yourself in the Caribbean

Aerial BVI Buck Island – the private eco-retreat can host up to 30 guests
Aerial BVI Buck Island – the private eco-retreat can host up to 30 guests
The view from Grace Villa
The view from Grace Villa

With a similar ethos but a far more elaborate execution – and, if it’s desired, far more hardcore wellbeing programming – is The Aerial BVI. Clutching a rocky promontory at one end of Buck Island, with Bond-villain-lair looks, this all-inclusive private retreat comprises five discrete houses sleeping 30 guests in total. The concept, in broad strokes, is next-generation self-improvement and actualisation. The method is tailor-made… everything: sleep, food, fitness, creative expression – from dance to singing or painting – and, of course, therapies of all stripes, from the emotional to the energetic. A thick roster of specialists (including garden and animal therapy experts) is on hand to facilitate it all, as are nutritionists who’ve planted the extensive organic farm and conscripted local fishermen to provision the menus. One nice proviso in every programme: guests give back first-hand, whether by tagging and observing turtles, cleaning reefs or teaching for a day (or a week) in the local schools.; from £30,500 per night for 30 guests, all inclusive

Otherworldly Oz

One of the two swimming pools at Samphire Rottnest
One of the two swimming pools at Samphire Rottnest
The hotel design is a ‘relaxed coastal vibe’
The hotel design is a ‘relaxed coastal vibe’

Once upon a pre-Covid-19 time, a 17-hour Qantas flight had linked London to Perth, thereby opening up a direct-connection world of Western Australian beauty to British travellers, from the electric-hued reefs at Ningaloo to the vineyards and surf breaks of Margaret River. Wadjemup, or Rottnest Island as it is commonly known, lies about 11 miles off the coast from the city. With its vanilla beaches, excellent diving and photo-op-ready population of quokkas, it’s long been a must-tick – all it has lacked is a sleek, indulgent place to stay. Samphire Rottnest has solved that problem; with the backdrop of a nature reserve and views onto the eminently swimmable waters of Thomson Bay, its 80 rooms channel a bit of Byron and a bit of Bali, with poured-concrete floors, wainscoted walls and open stone-tiled showers – they overlook two “lagoon” pools and the hotel’s own beach club. From around £270 per night

Beach Bodrum

The swim jetties at Bodrum Loft
The swim jetties at Bodrum Loft
The beach club has pop-up dining options including an open-fire seafood grill
The beach club has pop-up dining options including an open-fire seafood grill

And down in Bodrum, a vision for a “modern Aegean village” – actually a collection of 36 contemporary stone villas, sharing 14 private acres shaded by sandalwood, olive and citrus trees – opened last month. Bodrum Loft offers its houses, ranging from two to four bedrooms, as holiday lets but also as longer leases (should your work-from-home surroundings be a bit tired). It’s already been shortlisted for a handful of sustainable architecture awards, but it serves its guests like a five-star resort, with huge pools, various fine-dining and beach-bar options, wellness and fitness, and a smattering of smart little swim jetties along a private cove. Offsite, you can make for Kaplankaya, where the pop-up culinary event ONA will be in residence until the end of October, with not one but two venues – an open-fire seafood grill manned by Nicolau Pla Gomez (ex-El Celler de Can Roca), and a “beach club” inspired by the Mexican artists’ residence Casa Wabi, which will rotate in various marquis-name chefs every week.; two-bedroom villa from €2,750 per week.


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Covid travel restrictions: where you can and can’t go within Australia – and to New Zealand | Australia news

As families prepare for winter school holidays, Covid outbreaks have once again raised the spectre of state border restrictions and flight cancellations.

State and territory health authorities are monitoring the cases and the situation is changing daily. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of where you can and can’t travel and what you need to do before you leave home.


The following local government areas of New South Wales have been declared a Covid hotspot: City of Sydney; Woollahra; Bayside; Canada Bay; Inner West; Randwick.

This means from 1am, Thursday 24 June people who live in or have visited these areas are barred from entering the state, unless they are granted a special exemption.

People who live or have visited Waverley council area in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, are already barred from entering Queensland, following the government’s decision to declare the area a Covid hotspot.

Greater Melbourne is also still a Covid hotspot, which means anyone who has been in the city in the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the state, except for a limited number of people deemed to be travelling for “essential purposes”. However, authorities have announced plans to lift the ban on Melbourne travellers at 1am on Friday.

If you are a Queensland resident returning from a hotspot, you will need to quarantine for 14 days at your own expense.

Everyone else will need to complete a travel declaration form up to three days prior to arrival to enter the state.

Western Australia

Every state and territory except Victoria is currently deemed “very low risk” by Western Australia’s government, which means there are no quarantine measures for anyone arriving from those states and territories.

Arrivals will still have to complete the mandatory G2G pass registration and declaration, as well as completing a health screening on arrival.

Travellers arriving from Victoria will need to quarantine for 14 days, either at a suitable premise or at a government-approved quarantine facility, which arrivals will need to pay for. Victorian travellers will also need to complete the G2G pass registration and declaration.

People who arrive in Western Australia from New South Wales must get tested for Covid-19 on arrival or within 48 hours and self-quarantine until a negative result is returned. They must wear a mask when in transit to their premises or to get a Covid-19 test.

Anyone that has been to an exposure site is barred from entering the state. WA premier Mark McGowan said on Thursday authorities were carefully monitoring the situation and would reimpose a hard border if deemed necessary.

New South Wales

Arrivals to NSW – except those from Victoria – do not require a permit.

Travellers from Victoria will need to complete a travel declaration within 24 hours immediately before you enter NSW, or on entry. Anyone who has been to a venue of high concern (listed here) must follow testing and self isolation requirements.

Australian Capital Territory

Anyone arriving from NSW or Queensland must check the close contact and casual contact exposure locations (listed here). Anyone who has visited a close contact exposure location cannot enter the ACT without an exemption. Anyone who has visited a casual contact location must complete a self-declaration form, and isolate until a negative test result.

Anyone arriving from Victoria must complete a declaration form within 24 hours prior to arriving, and follow the same rules on casual and close contact exposure locations as NSW and Queensland.

Travellers from all other states and jurisdictions can travel freely to the ACT.


All travellers from anywhere in Australia must apply for a permit to enter Victoria.

The NSW local government areas of City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick have been declared ‘red zones’, meaning these residents are effectively banned from entering the state.

Anyone arriving from other parts of Sydney must also self-quarantine, get a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival and remain in self-quarantine until a negative test result is received.

South Australia

South Australia on Sunday joined Queensland and imposed an immediate ban on travellers who have been in Sydney’s Waverley Council area. Travellers from elsewhere in NSW, who have attended a Covid case location at the specified date and time on the NSW government’s website are not permitted into the state.

South Australian residents or anyone escaping domestic violence can enter, but will still need to self-quarantine for a fortnight.

People from greater Melbourne are not permitted to enter SA at all until 12.01am on Friday when the border restriction is set to lift. People from regional Victoria must get a Covid test on day one and must self-quarantine until a negative result is received.

All travellers coming to South Australia must complete the Cross Border Travel Registration form prior to their trip.

Northern Territory

All interstate arrivals to the Northern Territory must fill in a border entry form.

The Territory declared the Woollahra and Waverley local government areas in NSW Covid-19 hotspots, meaning visitors from there will need to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Anyone deemed a close contact by the NSW government must undertake 14 days of quarantine in their home or at a suitable place. Any casual contacts must isolate, get a Covid-19 test and remain in self-quarantine until a negative test is returned. The same directions apply to those coming from Queensland.

As of 6pm Monday 21 June, travellers from greater Melbourne no longer need to go into quarantine.


As with other states and territories, all arrivals into Tasmania must provide their contact and travel details before entering the state.

From 12.01am Tuesday, a ban on people travelling from metropolitan Melbourne will be lifted, with the city downgraded to low risk.

Anyone who has been to an exposure site in Victoria, NSW, ACT and Queensland are not permitted to enter the state.

New Zealand

From Wednesday, tourists and visitors from Victoria will be welcome back in New Zealand.

However, NZ has suspended quarantine-free travel with NSW for an initial 72 hours from midnight Tuesday NZT.

People who have visited an exposure site in any state are also barred from travelling to New Zealand within 14 days of visiting that site.

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