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UK prepares for holiday air bridges to Europe

UK to open up European holidays from 6 July

UK to open up European holidays from 6 July

UK to open up European holidays from 6 July

Britons will be able to go on European holidays from July 6

UK holidaymakers will be able to travel to Spain, France and Greece this summer without being forced to quarantine on their return.

From July 6 travel rules will be relaxed and a series of “air corridors” will be established with a number of countries, the BBC reported, giving Britons the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad.

Paul Charles, a member of Quash Quarantine, a campaign group lobbying the UK Government to drop the 14-day quarantine, describes the guidelines as “unworkable and unenforceable.”

Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany and Norway are also expected to feature. The Government will announce the full list next week.

However, it is thought Portugal and Sweden will not be included because of the countries’ current high rate of coronavirus infections.

“Portugal may still be included,” adds Charles. “You can simply fly to Madrid and then drive across the border when it reopens, so it would make sense to include Portugal.”

As long as there’s an effective test and trace systems in these countries and people stick to social distancing measures where appropriate and travel responsibly, it makes sense to open as many corridors as possible with countries with lower R rates.

“There will be spikes. It’s understandable. But from a travel economy point of view, it’s crucial to get things moving again and allow people to book holidays.”We have to see an unblocking of this fear of booking.”

News of the air bridges came as UK booking sites reported record sales for staycation trips shortly after Britons were given the green light to stay in self-contained accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and campsites in England from July 4 onwards.

The announcement will come as welcome news to travel industry bosses, who criticised the Government earlier this month after a 14-day quarantine period was introduced for anyone returning to the UK.

In a statement to the BBC, travel industry group ABTA described the relaxation of quarantine rules as “encouraging”.

“Confirmation of the list of countries is eagerly anticipated by the travel industry, and should encourage customers to book,” it said in a statement.

“The blanket Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel is still a major impediment to travel, however, and we look forward to the government adopting a similar risk-based approach to that advice.”

The UK introduced rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on 8 June. It was widely criticised by the travel industry and MPs of all parties.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the laws were designed “to prevent a second wave” of coronavirus.

Foreign Office advice against all but essential international travel has been in place since 17 March.

“Our public health measures at the border were put in place to manage the risk of imported cases and help prevent a second wave of the virus, and will continue to support our fight against coronavirus,” said a government spokesman.