Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 21st January 2022
More good news this week. After two tricky years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic we are finally “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel” – words from the World Health Organisation. We heard an early whisper that the UK Government was planning to end all Covid travel testing – meaning the day 2 lateral flow test – for vaccinated travellers, by the end of January. PCR tests were scrapped two weeks ago. Things are now moving very fast. If true it means we can stick the pin into our travel dream map, feel the tyres on the tarmac, leave the ground and take a big trip. The scoop came from The Sunday Times. Let’s get into what’s been happening.
It’s going to be a good summer!
Ticket to freedom: It was a mad PMQs in Parliament on Wednesday but for the world of travel, there was some really big news in there. Boris Johnson all but confirmed the easing of travel testing. He said: “We’re certainly reviewing the testing arrangements for travel and will be making a statement in the next few days.” The Daily Telegraph brought us the news as it happened from Westminster.
What does it mean? The talk is that all travel testing will end for those who are double jabbed – and then in the spring it will change to those who’ve had the booster. The Daily Telegraph backed this up with findings from a study that showed testing does little to “manage the spread of new variants”.
Catch 22: While this will mean no more expensive tests for travellers coming into the UK, it looks like we’ll still need to show proof of vaccination and complete the lengthy passenger locator form. Also many countries may require UK travellers to show proof they’ve had the booster before travelling and still insist on PCR tests on arrival. Plus international travel is going to remain complicated for those unvaccinated – and that includes children too. The full announcement is expected next week.
Fall in love on a plane: It looks like mask wearing on flights is here to stay but let’s keep them on because the ghastly surgical ones make us look as hot AF. That was according to a study of just 43 women who prefer a love match when much of the face is hidden. Reuters brought us the breaking news. What happens when you take it off the other end? NB: could be a short-lived win!
Travel is not just for holidays: LBC reported that Dr David Nabarro from the WHO said the United Kingdom was starting to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”. Travel Weekly revealed the WHO had also called on governments to lift all border closures to ease “economic and social stresses”. It added that proof of vaccination may not need to be a requirement for international travel. We reported on Dr Nabarro when he was speaking out about Covid 19 fake news in January 2021.
Welcome to the world: Many countries this week announced they were reopening. AFP told us that Thailand had announced its ‘test-and-go’ quarantine-free travel for vaccinated visitors from February 1 and Sweden invited all fully vaccinated travellers back from today (January 21st) without the need for tests. We explored the country’s island capital Stockholm where you can tour the city by boat, drink slushie beer and visit the Abba museum. The Telegraph Travel team pulled together a very useful list of countries where we can travel without the need of a swab test.
Go to the sails: With all this good news there are some very good deals at the moment with the Independent Travel putting us in the know with weekend trips for under a tenner.
- Holiday trends set to take off in 2022
- Prepare for take off: travel bookings soar
- Europe’s travel recovery: The battle for the British tourist
Three city breaks: How about Kaunas, in southern Lithuania? The country’s second largest city after its capital Vilnius, has become Europe’s latest Capital of Culture. At 2hr40minutes from London, Kaunas, is described as a colourful city with street art and festivals. Its tourism board says it’s the “only city in the world where so much of the style of the buildings has survived to the present day”. Tomorrow (Saturday 22nd) marks its grand opening event with a weekend filled with music, performances, exhibitions and more. Kaunas is sharing the European Capital of Culture title this year with Novi Sad in northern Serbia and Esch in Luxembourg.
Croatia: On Saturday Croatia celebrated its 30th anniversary. On 15 January 1992, it was recognised as an independent state by the EU. Since then the country has become a hugely successful tourism destination. I was lucky enough to spend a month there and it still it wasn’t enough. There is so much to explore with Plitvice National Park, Zagreb and its Spica culture, Dubrovnik, Split and its islands – especially Hvar which records 115 sunny days each year. Get the lowdown.
British tastes: The UK’s first national food museum is due to open in Stowmarket, Suffolk, in March. Formerly the Museum of East Anglian Life, it has been renamed the National Food Museum. Food Matters Live says it will focus on the history of British food, farming, seasonal foods, brewing, and bring in famous chefs.
After Life: If you’ve been loving Ricky Gervais’ After Life 3 on Netflix, you can now visit Tambury aka Hemel Hempstead Old Town where it was filmed. Visit Herts shared the locations where you can get your fix.