Travel news live: Latest updates as UK holidaymakers to Spain drop by 40%

The number of UK holidaymakers to Spain this summer dropped by 40 per cent, compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to new data.

The figures from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys also showed overall international arrivals to the country were half of those in summer 2019.

Spain is the UK’s favourite holiday destination, but as the country has remained on the UK government’s amber list throughout summer 2021, many travellers have been put off by costly PCR testing, Covid-era admin and the prospect that the country might slip onto the red list.

“This summer Spain was vastly impacted by the UK travel restrictions, which resulted in a 40.3 per cent drop in arrival numbers compared to 2019, despite the relaxation of these in August,” said analyst Juan Gomez of the severe drop in tourist numbers.

In other news, Anguilla – which is currently on the UK’s green list – has added a ‘day four’ PCR test requirement to its existing test on arrival.

Follow all the latest travel news below:


Womans strolls through airport wearing just a bikini

A woman has been videoed walking through a US airport in just a bikini – and a face mask.

The video, posted to Instagram on Thursday night, appeared on the comedy account Humans of Spirit Airlines, which pokes fun at the antics onboard flights with the low-cost US carrier.

Spirit Airlines flies to dozens of destinations across the States, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s unclear from the video if the scantily clad passenger was specifically boarding a Spirit Airlines flight, or exactly which airport the moment was captured in.

“At least she’s wearing a mask,” quipped the Instagram user who posted the video, which has now had around 8,000 views.

Lucy Thackray3 September 2021 10:45


Anguilla adds day four PCR test for tourists

The Caribbean island of Anguilla now requires holidaymakers to take a PCR test on day four of their trip, in addition to the existing test conducted on arrival.

The new rule will come into effect on 1 October.

Anguilla is currently on the UK’s green list of destinations open for travel, along with the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos islands.

Guests must stay at their accommodation while awaiting the result of their test-on-arrival, which is usually delivered within 12 hours.

As long as this is negative, they can move freely around the island in between testing negative on arrival and receiving their day-four test.

Read the full green list, plus and entry requirements for those countries:

Lucy Thackray3 September 2021 10:14


UK holidaymakers to Spain fell by 40% this summer

This summer saw 40 per cent fewer UK tourists to Spain than pre-pandemic levels in 2019, new research shows.

The figures, from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys, showed that overall international visitors were down by around half compared to two summers ago.

Analyst Juan Gomez said: “This summer Spain was vastly impacted by the UK travel restrictions, which resulted in a 40.3 per cent drop in arrival numbers compared to 2019, despite the relaxation of these in August.”

As Spain has remained on the UK government’s amber list, many travellers have been put off by the expensive PCR testing and confusing admin required – not to mention worries that the destination could move on to the red list, resulting in expensive hotel quarantine on return.

Lucy Thackray3 September 2021 09:27


Australia to keep borders closed

Australians learnt today that they will be banned from overseas travel for another three months.

The “human biosecurity emergency period”, involving a prohibition on going abroad, had been due to end on 17 September.

But the health minister, Greg Hunt, said: “We’ve extended biosecurity protections to 17 December in line with medical advice.”

It is now due to end just a week before Christmas Eve.

Simon Calder2 September 2021 15:58


Simon Calder to answer your travel questions at 4pm

There’s still time to submit your burning travel questions for The Independent’s resident expert Simon Calder.

From 4pm, he’ll be doing a live Q&A in the comments, tackling the most pressing holiday queries from our readers.

Click below to leave your question:

Helen Coffey2 September 2021 15:54


Bulgaria bans US travellers

Bulgaria has made the US a “red zone”, meaning that travellers coming from the country, regardless of vaccination status, are barred unless they meet strict exemption criteria.

The change was introduced on 1 September, shortly after the European Union removed the US from its “white list” of destinations considered highest risk.

“Please note that the current Bulgarian entry requirements are based on the country of departure only – not on citizenship and not on countries through which you transit,” read the statement.

“That means US citizens starting their travel from Green or Orange Zones may enter Bulgaria under the conditions listed in the new Health Order of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health.”

Lucy Thackray2 September 2021 15:21


30 days to save travel industry, warns travel council

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned the government that, if travel fails to open up significantly in the next 30 days, many UK firms risk job losses or closure.

In its warning, the WTTC said that the government has “just 30 days left to save travel businesses which are struggling to survive”.

The one-month window marks the countdown to the end of the furlough scheme, which has propped up businesses while travel has remained heavily restricted by government rules.

Lucy Thackray2 September 2021 14:46


Russia to relax visa rules

Russia is set to open up to the world post-Covid, with more relaxed visa rules on the horizon.

Earlier in the summer, Vladimir Putin signalled easier travel rules, and these are now taking effect. Foreign tourists to Russia are now able to get a visa to Russia for up to six months. Previously the standard limit was 30 days.

It seems that the Kremlin has decided to revert to the relatively straightforward approach to overseas visitors that prevailed in Soviet times: booking a tour or a hotel, and providing the confirmation as well as a completed application form, was all that was required.

The changes are currently moot for British holidaymakers, because any travellers arriving from the UK must quarantine for two weeks.

Simon Calder2 September 2021 14:07


Ask Simon Calder your travel questions

Following the changes to the UK’s red, amber and green lists last week, many people have questions about their upcoming or hoped-for travels.

Whether it’s about when the UK to US travel corridor might open up, what the specific travel rules are now for top holiday destinations such as Spain, France or Italy, or whether destinations like Turkey will remain on the red list for much longer, we’ll do our best to give you the most up to date and inside-track information.

Whatever your travel query, you can ask The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder today – he’ll be sitting down to answer your questions at 4pm.

You can ask Simon your travel questions in the comments box below this story, and follow live at 4pm as he answers as many as he can:

Lucy Thackray2 September 2021 13:40


Travel journalist’s “day two” PCR tests arrive five days late

The travel journalist and broadcaster Lisa Francesca Nand has tweeted that her family’s “day two” PCR tests have finally arrived – five days after their return from Spain.

Under the UK government’s arrival rules, a PCR test should be taken on the day of arrival, or within one of the two following days.

Ms Nand said: “If this is about testing to make sure incomers don’t spread the virus, it’s too late – I’ve already slobbered over half of Brighton.”

In response, Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, wrote: “If it was genuinely about public health there would be no exemptions for football, COP summit, Fashion Week etc”.

Read more about missing and late travel PCR tests:

Lucy Thackray2 September 2021 13:12

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