Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 14th January 2022
It’s week two of 2022 and there’s more good travel news. France lifts its travel ban for British travellers today. Everyone was worried there for a while. Here is one of Britain’s most popular places to visit and back in December the French government shut its border due to the UK’s rising Omicron cases. The closure crushed dreams of Christmas shopping in Paris and winter ski trips. But now Covid numbers are falling, they’ve opened up again. Eurostar says it’ll be putting on more trains. I can smell the baguettes from St Pancras already.
The breaking travel news: French Tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne tweeted that Britons who are fully vaccinated (more on that later) are allowed back into France from Friday (14th January), if they also show a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure. Brittany Ferries said: “This news comes as a great relief.” Sky News told us that Jet2 and easyJet reported an instant spike in holiday bookings while MailOnline said that ski operators’ phones were ringing off the hook. And those returning to the UK no longer need a PCR test after restrictions were lifted last week.
Oui oui: Just off the coast of Cannes in the warm seas of the Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum and then there’s the Loire-Atlantique – filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. It has a rugged coastline, fishing huts that hang off cliffs, miles of cycling trails and wide sandy beaches.
First hols of the year: Since no one thought they’d be going to France this winter, skiers had been booking up trips to Austria and Switzerland according to Sunday Times Travel. Oof! I bet that hurt the French and explains the ‘effective immediately’ reopening of its borders.
- When in Lima make lemonade
- Unesco serves up heritage award for Singapore’s street food culture
- The world on a plate in Soho
Shot in the arm: Omicron hit winter flights at Heathrow with the airport releasing figures that showed up to 600,000 passengers cancelled their plans in December. The airport usually sees 7million people travel in the last month of the year but that fell to just over 3million, said its boss John Holland-Kaye. On the flip side, he told Sky News that people were booking for July and August and numbers were expected to reach 5million each month this summer.
The bard on Cunard: The stage is set for an exclusive partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company and British cruise line Cunard. The news from Cruise Hive told us that plays and workshops on the high seas will take place on the Queen Mary 2, beginning on 29 May until August with more dates scheduled for the autumn.
Get back to the desert: The Coachella music festival announced its return this week. The show will go on in April having been postponed in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid. Taking to social media, the popular two-weekend festival, in Indio, the southern Californian desert, shared its headline acts: Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Kanye West.
Britain is great: The Queen’s jubilee celebrations were also announced, with an extra Bank Holiday added this year to give everyone a long, four-day weekend at the beginning of June. The programme of events for the Platinum Jubilee weekend include a live BBC concert at Buckingham Palace, a Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) in Horse Guards Parade, the lighting of beacons and a royal bake-off competition to design a Platinum Pudding. The list goes on. LBC gave us the full run down of events.
Crack open your suitcase: If you need UK travel inspo, Guardian Travel gave us its 10 hottest hotel openings in 2022 including the much anticipated Virgin Hotel, from Sir Richard Branson, in Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde. It’ll come with 242 Chambers, not rooms, free wifi and “street-priced” minibars.
Testing times: What are the rules this week? You need check the guidance of the country you’re visiting if you need to take PCR test before travelling. You don’t have to worry about buying one on your way back in – but you will need to pay for a day-two lateral flow test. If you’re still confused, Julia Lo Bue-Said from Advantage Travel Partnership spoke to BBC World News explaining the complexities of international travel especially if you test positive a week or so before going away. Spoiler alert: it’s not good news!
Don’t forget this one: The tiny market town of Marazion in Cornwall has pulled out of the competition to become Britain’s next city after a late-minute rule change by the Government. It had launched its bid in December to be granted city status – and went up against Reading, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough. Cornwall Live broke the news telling us its bid to become the UK’s smallest most southerly city wasn’t meant to be.