Travel news latest: Staycations may be prohibited until June

According to the UK Government's plan for post-lockdown recovery, domestic leisure travel in England may not be permitted to restart until June, The Telegraph understands.  Although restrictions regarding social gatherings and non-essential day trips are set to lift from March 29, non-essential overnight stays will likely be prohibited until the final stage of the four-step 'roadmap'. According to some sources, this may not begin until June. There have been rumours that self catering accommodation could be permitted to open earlier than hotels, though there has been no official guidance yet. There is also currently no indication of when international holidays will become legal again.  Under the current travel restrictions, Britons are "effectively imprisoned on our island", says Noel Josephides, CEO of industry body AITO. "To extend lockdown for travel beyond April 30 will be disastrous for many firms...  It is plain that the Government, mistakenly, considers us to be expendable."  The 60-page roadmap outlines four stages for reopening which roughly correspond to the months of March, April, May and June. It was signed off by key cabinet ministers on Sunday. It will be announced at Parliament today around 3.30pm, with a press conference around 7pm.  Scroll down for more on this, and other travel headlines. Auto update On Off 12:20PM Disneyland Hong Kong reopens to visitors Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong has reopened its gates – but there are still strict restrictions inside.  An employee holds a sign reminding visitors to maintain social distance  Credit: Bloomberg A visitor uses a smartphone to scan a QR code for the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 contact-tracing app Credit: Bloomberg 12:06PM UK hotels: If Easter staycations are prohibited, more businesses will fail If Britain's hotels are forced to remain closed until June, many may be forced to 'close for good', says Sally Beck, the general manager of Royal Lancaster London: With the success of the vaccines we should be able to offer staycations for at least members of the public that can prove they’ve had the vaccine – the hotel industry has gone through so much and we are all struggling to stay afloat.We have proven that we can offer safe stays for guests in a socially distanced manner with contactless check in, and check outs, offering contactless room service and minibar service rather than dining in our restaurants and bars.To be able to have some business stay with us over the Easter period may mean the difference of actually being able to continue trading rather than closing for good. 11:51AM How to make your post-lockdown travels a force for good Volcanoes Safaris, a group of luxury lodges, provides ethical safaris in Rwanda and Uganda Credit: Getty Fair wages, good working conditions and empowerment of local communities is at the heart of the Fairtrade cause, so for Fairtrade Fortnight – which begins today – we’ve found some of the best holidays you can book that don’t come with a human cost.  Change the world for the better, one trip at a time. 11:34AM Emirates operates its first fully-vaccinated flight  Emirateshas today operated its first flight staffed entirely by fully-vaccinated crew, pilots and support staff. Flight EK215 from Dubai to Los Angeles departed at 8:30am local time, with every aspect from check-in and security to baggage handling provided by vaccinated staff. The aircraft itself was staffed by inoculated crew and pilots. Emirates began its vaccination drive in January, and has provided almost 26,000 staff members with both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinopharm vaccines. This amounts to approximately 44 per cent of its workforce.  The flight was staffed entirely by vaccinated personnel Credit: Getty Earlier this month, Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate a flight staffed entirely by vaccinated personnel.  Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer, said: “Our operational workforce are at the aviation frontline, helping people get to where they need to be, and moving essential goods to global communities. “Protecting our people with vaccinations is important – for them, for our community, for the smooth running of our operations, and also for our customers as it introduces of an additional layer of protection when they travel with us.” 11:20AM 'We must hope that common sense prevails' If Britain's hotels are not able to open until June, they face 'potentially ruinous hardship', says Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels: At the moment we only have speculation about the Government’s road map out of lockdown, but hoteliers will face potentially ruinous hardship if it is true that hotels will not be allowed to open fully, with unrestricted indoor dining and household mixing, until June.Even with furlough support the fixed costs of rent, National Insurance, insurance, maintenan

Travel news latest: Staycations may be prohibited until June

According to the UK Government's plan for post-lockdown recovery, domestic leisure travel in England may not be permitted to restart until June, The Telegraph understands. 

Although restrictions regarding social gatherings and non-essential day trips are set to lift from March 29, non-essential overnight stays will likely be prohibited until the final stage of the four-step 'roadmap'. According to some sources, this may not begin until June.

There have been rumours that self catering accommodation could be permitted to open earlier than hotels, though there has been no official guidance yet. There is also currently no indication of when international holidays will become legal again. 

Under the current travel restrictions, Britons are "effectively imprisoned on our island", says Noel Josephides, CEO of industry body AITO. "To extend lockdown for travel beyond April 30 will be disastrous for many firms...  It is plain that the Government, mistakenly, considers us to be expendable." 

The 60-page roadmap outlines four stages for reopening which roughly correspond to the months of March, April, May and June. It was signed off by key cabinet ministers on Sunday. It will be announced at Parliament today around 3.30pm, with a press conference around 7pm

Scroll down for more on this, and other travel headlines.

Auto update

Disneyland Hong Kong reopens to visitors

Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong has reopened its gates – but there are still strict restrictions inside. 

An employee holds a sign reminding visitors to maintain social distance  Credit: Bloomberg
A visitor uses a smartphone to scan a QR code for the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 contact-tracing app Credit: Bloomberg

UK hotels: If Easter staycations are prohibited, more businesses will fail

If Britain's hotels are forced to remain closed until June, many may be forced to 'close for good', says Sally Beck, the general manager of Royal Lancaster London:

With the success of the vaccines we should be able to offer staycations for at least members of the public that can prove they’ve had the vaccine – the hotel industry has gone through so much and we are all struggling to stay afloat.

We have proven that we can offer safe stays for guests in a socially distanced manner with contactless check in, and check outs, offering contactless room service and minibar service rather than dining in our restaurants and bars.

To be able to have some business stay with us over the Easter period may mean the difference of actually being able to continue trading rather than closing for good.

How to make your post-lockdown travels a force for good

Volcanoes Safaris, a group of luxury lodges, provides ethical safaris in Rwanda and Uganda Credit: Getty

Fair wages, good working conditions and empowerment of local communities is at the heart of the Fairtrade cause, so for Fairtrade Fortnight – which begins today – we’ve found some of the best holidays you can book that don’t come with a human cost. 

Change the world for the better, one trip at a time.

Emirates operates its first fully-vaccinated flight 

Emirateshas today operated its first flight staffed entirely by fully-vaccinated crew, pilots and support staff.

Flight EK215 from Dubai to Los Angeles departed at 8:30am local time, with every aspect from check-in and security to baggage handling provided by vaccinated staff. The aircraft itself was staffed by inoculated crew and pilots.

Emirates began its vaccination drive in January, and has provided almost 26,000 staff members with both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinopharm vaccines. This amounts to approximately 44 per cent of its workforce. 

The flight was staffed entirely by vaccinated personnel Credit: Getty

Earlier this month, Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate a flight staffed entirely by vaccinated personnel

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer, said: “Our operational workforce are at the aviation frontline, helping people get to where they need to be, and moving essential goods to global communities.

“Protecting our people with vaccinations is important – for them, for our community, for the smooth running of our operations, and also for our customers as it introduces of an additional layer of protection when they travel with us.”

'We must hope that common sense prevails'

If Britain's hotels are not able to open until June, they face 'potentially ruinous hardship', says Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels:

At the moment we only have speculation about the Government’s road map out of lockdown, but hoteliers will face potentially ruinous hardship if it is true that hotels will not be allowed to open fully, with unrestricted indoor dining and household mixing, until June.

Even with furlough support the fixed costs of rent, National Insurance, insurance, maintenance, power and myriad annual contracts mean it is not viable to only trade partially. We must hope that common sense prevails, and the ultra-safe environment offered to hotel guests is not delayed a day longer than is absolutely necessary.

Forward bookings from April onwards are strong, so we know the demand is there for a fantastic and rapid recovery when it comes. It would be a tragedy if all those bookings had to be cancelled by the venues themselves.

10 things you didn't know about building cruise ships

Creating a cruise ship is a complex procedure that brings together a wide range of cutting-edge technologies in a finite space Credit: Getty

A ship is the largest human construction capable of moving across the globe. Not surprising then, that putting a cruise ship together is a tour de force of structural engineering.

We spoke to Per Lindqvist, the US business director for Tillberg Design of Sweden Inc – which has created the design concepts for illustrious ships, including Regent Seven Seas Splendor, Crystal Endeavor and Norwegian Encore.

Here's how to build a 'floating city'.

Air New Zealand to trial 'digital health passport'

Air New Zealand will trial a 'digital health passport' on flights between Auckland and Sydney, starting in April.

The airline says it will 'be amonfg the first' to trial the IATA Travel Pass digital health passport, joining Qatar Airways (which will offer it on its Doha-Istanbul route from March), Emirates and Etihad. 

Users will create a 'digital health wallet' linked to their e-passport, which will update automatically with their vaccination and testing status. Those that meet the border criteria of their destination will be issued a 'green tick to travel'.

The Air New Zealand trial will initially run for three weeks. 

My airline will refund my cancelled outbound flight, but not my return journey – is this legal?

Though it sounds outrageous, there is no right to a refund for flights arriving in the UK from outside Europe – even if you have bought a return ticket in the UK.

Gill Charlton, our consumer champion, explains your rights.

Lockdown roadmap month-by-month

A tourist at Hastings beach last June Credit: Getty

From the reopening of pubs to summer holidays, what can we expect from the PM's plan to unlock the UK?

Ahead of the official announcement this afternoon, here's everything we know so far

Spoiler alert: Travel doesn't get a look-in until June/July.

Search for missing British hiker in Pyrenees will 'probably have to wait till spring'

Esther Dingley has been missing since November Credit: ESTHER & DAN via REUTERS

French police say they will "probably" have to wait until spring to continue the search for a British hiker who went missing late last year in the Pyrenees.

Esther Dingley, 37, had been walking solo in the mountains near the Spanish and French border and was last seen on November 22.

French police captain Jean Marc Bordinaro told The Times "all possible investigations" in French territory have been carried out "without any result".

Read the full story.

'The vaccine is supposed to let us live': Travel leaders call for an end to draconian restrictions

Ahead of an official announcement today, it is feared that overseas holidays could remain off the cards until the summer – at best.

Here, travel leaders outline why the Governments needs to be bolder. 

Last surviving male member of Brazilian indigenous group dies of Covid

There are fears that health workers may have inadvertently spread the virus to indigenous communities Credit: AFP

The last surviving man of an exterminated Brazilian indigenous group has died from complications linked to Covid-19.

Aruká Juma, who died on Wednesday aged between 86 and 90, was the last Juma man left from a tribe that once numbered 15,000. Repeated massacres in the 20th century meant that by 2002, just five Juma people were left – Mr Juma, his three daughters and a grandchild.

Brazil’s indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 because of their isolation, communal way of life and poor healthcare provisions.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many indigenous groups sought to cut themselves off from the outside world by closing roads and turning away visitors. Those efforts failed, however, and the virus is now widespread among indigenous communities, with almost 49,000 cases and 969 deaths and 162 tribes affected, according to Government figures.

Daniel Capurro has the story.

UKHospitality: 'Travel and hospitality companies need additional support'

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, has warned that hotels and restaurants may not survive if forced to remain closed for much longer:

‘Hotels are one of the best managed and safest spaces to be’ 

Mr & Mrs Smith specialises in luxury breaks in the UK and overseas Credit: Mr & Mrs Smith

Without definitive dates, the Government is creating costly and unnecessary obstacles for a sector already on its knees, says Tamara Lohan, co-founder of Mr & Mrs Smith:

We understand the necessity of lockdown to save lives and relieve pressure on the NHS. However, travel isn’t something that can be switched on at the drop of a hat. We desperately need a roadmap so our customers, hoteliers, airlines and everyone in between can prepare for saving not just the summer but our industry. With infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths thankfully decreasing and the vaccine rollout at full speed, now’s the time to be bold for business.

A further irony is that, despite being last on the list for re-opening, hotels are not linked to high numbers of cases and are not a leading environment for transmission – certainly compared to other areas such as retail. Hotels are one of the best managed and safest spaces to be: separate rooms, highly trained staff, socially-distanced restaurants, cleaning teams and meticulously managed Covid-19 protocols. This has been corroborated by a recent research study conducted by UKHospitality and CGA.

We must have clarity if we’re to survive – not just as a business, but as an industry that’s the third largest employer in the UK, responsible for three million jobs directly and a further 1.8 million indirectly.

Aircraft grounded in US and Japan over engine failures

United Airlines grounded 24 of its Boeing 777s on Sunday while Japan also suspended some of its fleet, after two jets using the same family of engines showered debris on the ground shortly after take-off.

The  US Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive calling for the inspection of Boeing 777s, following two separate incidents involving Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines on Saturday.

"We reviewed all available safety data," the FAA said in a statement. "Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes."

David Millward has the full story.

Poland could demand negative test result at border, minister says

Poland is expected to announce new rules this week demanding a negative coronavirus test result to enter the country, Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said today.

A person with a negative coronavirus test result will not have to quarantine after entering the country, Niedzielski told private broadcaster TVN. The new rules are likely to be announced at the end of the week.

He added that Poland is at the start of the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic which is likely to peak at the end of March or beginning of April.

Read more: I've been vaccinated – so where can I go on holiday this summer?

A quick catch-up on the headlines

Before we begin, the key travel headlines from last week:

  • Airlines refuse 2.3 million people refunds
  • Germany extends ban on UK arrivals
  • Britons warned holiday cottages are booking up for 2021
  • Wales will block travellers from 'high incidence' areas over Easter
  • Dozens more businesses call for overseas travel to restart by May 1
  • Crystal Cruises will require passengers to be vaccinated

​Now, on with today's travel news.