Staycation to Spaincation: Britons flock back to their favourite resorts
Chalkmarks: Can we go on holiday in Spain this summer?

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 18th February 2022

Europe is the new UK. And Spain is the new Cornwall. Instead of staycations of the last two years Britons are heading to the continent for their holidays, the travel stats are showing for 2022. And in true British style Spain is their number one choice. 
Much of the Mediterranean is also looking popular this summer, according to the European trade association ETOA this week. And why would we dream of going anywhere else? We need its beaches, its islands, its sunshine and sangria! 
While much of Britain shuts down today as Storm Eunice halts flights, trains and ferries, stay indoors and plan a trip.

Holidays most wanted!

Fear of being stuck: As travel restrictions lift and pre-departure testing eases around the world, the number one concern for travellers is testing positive before travel and cancelling their trip, or catching Covid while away and having to quarantine or miss their flight home. 

Now read this: The best advice is to be prepared and book with a travel agent. Top story here from us written for trade magazine Travel Bulletin. Here, LATA chairman Colin Stewart reveals why travel agents are key to getting the travel industry back on track. Also make sure to book trips that are Atol and Abta protected.

Meanwhile: What a difference two months makes. In December Europe recorded a 62% drop in international tourists. In a sign travel is bouncing back following Omicron, new holiday data from the European Travel Commission forecasts tourist arrivals this year will reach 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

Worth noting: Research firm ForwardKeys also released its figures showing that Cyprus was the top choice for holidays this Easter, followed by Nigeria, MexicoGreece and Spain. Long-haul destinations were also popular as vaccination restrictions for children travelling to Europe had prompted “a strong preference for destinations afar such as Mexico, Maldives or Barbados,” said Olivier Ponti, vp of insights.

For the weekend: Can you imagine eating creamy praline chocolate, drinking Trappist beer and eating hot frites. Well, wait no longer. The Brussels Times revealed that from today (Friday 18th) Belgium drops its testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. For a small country it’s packed full if treats and if you like cycling that’s easily arranged. Those unvaccinated can enter only for essential travel with a negative PCR result.

Where next: On Thursday Vietnam announced it would reopen to tourists three months earlier than planned. From 15th March vaccinated travellers can enter – albeit with some restrictions including a negative PCR results taken 72-hours before travel followed by a lateral flow test on arrival, and a day’s quarantine while you await the result. Make sure you try the egg coffee while you wait.

Trans-Atlantic: If you’re looking to travel across the pond to Canada, there’s not long to wait until it relaxes it travel testing measures. This week it announced that from 28th February the entry requirements for fully-vaccinated tourists will change from a PCR swab to a pre-departure lateral flow test. On arrival also expect random passenger testing. The ipaper had the update.

Wanderlust: On Valentine’s day, India announced a warm welcome back for double-vaccinated travellers after an Omicron lockdown. The rules came in with immediate effect with pre-departure testing and quarantine all scrapped. Travellers are expected to complete a declaration form and monitor themselves for 14 days. Testing is still required for the unvaccinated. Independent Travel shared the news.

Also this week: France scrapped pre-departure testing for those fully vaccinated – and in this case that means the triple jabbed. Sky News reported.

Space travel: Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted an update on his SpaceX Starship rocket, which is preparing to take tourists to Mars and the Moon by 2050. It’s currently being developed in Boca Chica, Texas, and waiting for approval from America’s Federal Aviation Administration in March. The world’s richest man is then expected to launch a supersonic test flight to the edge of space and back. There’s much more to come very soon on dates and prices. We recommend visit planet earth first!

Coffee lovers: Italy is hoping that espresso will be officially be recognised as part of its cultural heritage this year. It has applied to Unesco to join its collection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Other examples that have made the list include Flamenco in Spain, Yoga in India, watchmaking in Switzerland and the Mariachi in Mexico. Last year we reported how Unesco had added Singapore’s hawker culture to its list of global treasures. AFP posted some delicious coffee shots.

The majesty of Britain: The Great West Way is one of England’s newest tourism projects designed to shift visitors out of the capital and into the rest of the country. It’s a 500-mile picturesque route from London to Bristol taking in three World Heritage Sites, royal palaces, and rolling English countryside. We wrote about it when it launched in March 2021

Famous highlight: Stonehenge of course… and just opened this week the Stone Circle Access Experience which allows you to visit this great heritage site up close at sunrise.

Two-day road trip: The Day One tour starts at Salisbury Museum and finishes with a visit to Salisbury Cathedral. Day two begins at Stonehenge for sunrise followed by Wiltshire Museum, a walk to West Kennet Long Barrow, which is one of the longest and most impressive Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain and a final stop a visit to Avebury to see the world’s largest stone circles.

Best new place to eat: A restaurant in the Lake District has become the first in the North to be awarded three prestigious Michelin stars. L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, will be included in the 2022 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland. Tell chef Simon Rogan we’re coming for lunch!

Bonjour, Hola and Ciao!

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