Visitors arriving in England from Thailand and Singapore will no longer be expected to isolate for 14-days from Saturday after both countries were added to the safe travel list.
Both destinations are also already exempt from the Foreign & Commonwealth Officer global advisory against all “non-essential travel”.
However, Slovenia and Guadeloupe have both been added to the quarantine list.
People arriving in England from these two countries from 04:00 Saturday will need to self-isolate for two weeks.
Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in both destinations.
Data from Slovenia shows that the weekly incidence per 100,000 has increased from 14 on September 9th to 29 on September 16th.
This equates to a 102 per cent increase.
There has also been a sharp increase in the weekly incidence rate of Covid-19 in Guadeloupe over the past four weeks, with a 558 per cent increase in weekly cases per 100,000 between August 25th and September 15th.
The decision to impose quarantine on the country is, however, unlikely to have a major impact on the tourism sector, with just “several hundred” Brits visiting the Caribbean country each year.
All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a complete passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.
Border Force carry out spot checks, and travellers who refuse to provide their contact details, face a fine starting at £100.
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British Airways will begin flying from Heathrow to Lahore, Pakistan, four times a week from October 12th.
The ‘City of Gardens’, Lahore is known for its rich culture and will be the second city in Pakistan that British Airways will operate to, following the relaunch of services to Islamabad.
Flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 departing from Heathrow Terminal 5, landing into Lahore International Airport.
Neil Chernoff, British Airways director of network and alliances, said “We are delighted be starting direct flights to Lahore, connecting London with Pakistan’s two biggest cities, following the relaunch of our services to Islamabad.
“Our new flights will give us the opportunity to open up more of Pakistan to travellers from the UK, so they can experience its delights and rich culture.
“We also think this will be hugely popular with the British Pakistani community, giving them more convenient options to visit family and friends.
“For those customers flying to or from Lahore, our flights have also been conveniently timed to allow seamless connections with flights serving the United States and Canada.”
Virgin Atlantic also recently announced it would offer a number of departures to Pakistan from later this year as the carrier rebuilds its network on the wake of the Covid-19 shutdown.
In response to Covid-19, British Airways has introduced a range of measures to keep its customers safe.
Prior to travel, they will receive information on changes at their airport and onboard experience and tips on how to prepare for their journey.
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InterContinental Hotels Group has confirmed it will launch its newest upscale hotel brand, voco, in the United States and Greater China.
The company created and launched the new flag a little over two years ago, focusing on conversion opportunities that combine the informality and charm of an independent hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a respected global brand.
Since then, a mix of 12 conversion and new-build voco hotels have opened across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
voco continues to generate strong interest from owners too, and with an uplift in conversion activity during the first half of 2020, its expansion into two large and fast-growing markets is a key milestone.
voco currently has a development pipeline of 28 properties will take it into 19 countries over the next five years, while it remains on track to open more than 200 hotels over the next ten years.
Keith Barr, chief executive, IHG, commented: “There’s currently a big appetite from owners to join the IHG family and tap into the power of our enterprise as the strength, resilience and attractiveness of our brands really shine through in the current environment.
“voco is leading a trend towards conversions, which we’re seeing across the full breadth of our portfolio and accounted for a quarter of IHG’s signings overall in the first half of 2020.
“We’re excited to be bringing voco to the US and China, as we continue to grow it successfully in our other key markets across the world.
“The brand’s sleep experience, thoughtful interior design, informal service and focus on sustainability have really resonated with guests and we’re looking forward to bringing the voco experience to life in our two largest markets.”
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International tourist arrivals plunged 93 per cent in June when compared to 2019, with the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation showing the severe impact Covid 19 has had on the sector.
According to the new issue of the World Tourism Barometer from the United Nations agency, international tourist arrivals dropped by 65 per cent during the first half of the year.
This represents an unprecedented decrease, as countries around the world closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.
Over recent weeks, a growing number of destinations have started to open up again to international tourists.
UNWTO data shows that, as of early September, 53 per cent of destinations had eased travel restrictions.
Nevertheless, many governments remain cautious, and this latest report shows that the lockdowns introduced during the first half of the year have had a massive impact on international tourism.
The sharp and sudden fall in arrivals has placed millions of jobs and businesses at risk.
According to UNWTO, the massive drop in international travel demand over the period January-June 2020 translates into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about US$460 billion in export revenues from international tourism.
This is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis.
UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “The latest World Tourism Barometer shows the deep impact this pandemic is having on tourism, a sector upon which millions of people depend for their livelihoods.
“However, safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world, and it is imperative that governments work closely with the private sector to get global tourism moving again. Coordinated action is key.”
Despite the gradual reopening of many destinations since the second half of May, the anticipated improvement in international tourism numbers during the peak summer season in the northern hemisphere did not materialise.
Europe was the second-hardest hit of all global regions, with a 66 per cent decline in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020.
The Americas (down 55 per cent), Africa and the Middle East (both down 57 per cent) also suffered.
However, Asia and the Pacific, the first region to feel the impact of Covid-19 on tourism, was the hardest hit, with a 72 per cent fall in tourists for the six-month period.
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The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has begun gradually resuming promotions in local and source markets as it seeks to revive the sector through a combination of short- and long-term strategies.
The body said the decision follows recent positive progress in the discussions between the local government and other destinations on forming travel bubbles.
Locally, the tourist board is restarting promotions with a “Holiday at Home” campaign, designed to create positive atmosphere in Hong Kong and encourage consumption.
Hong Kong Tourism Board chairman, YK Pang, said: “The HKTB is working diligently on the ‘Open House Hong Kong’ platform.
“It is anticipated that the mainland, in particular the Greater Bay Area, and some short haul markets will be open for travel relatively soon and the HKTB is planning promotions and tactical offers targeting these markets, which will be launched immediately once cross-boundary travel resumes.
“In the meantime, we will continue to maintain Hong Kong’s presence in source markets through a variety of promotions and mega events.”
He added: “Looking ahead, Covid-19 has transformed the global tourism landscape, resulting in a new normal for the industry.
“The HKTB will take the opportunity to review Hong Kong’s tourism positioning and will continue to seek to attract high-yield visitors.
“Recently, seven major MICE events were confirmed, boosting confidence in Hong Kong’s ability to draw high-yield MICE visitors in future.”
While the global pandemic remains volatile, the seven major international MICE events include first-time events for Hong Kong and the Greater China region, and the largest MICE event of its kind in Asia.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium, the Asia Sports Technology Conference, the Congress of the Asian Society of Transplantation, and the China Millions Forum Elite Annual Meeting will be held in Hong Kong for the first time.
Two other MICE events, rescheduled because of the pandemic, will be staged in Hong Kong following lobbying by the HKTB.
Between them, the seven MICE events are expected to attract a total of around 20,000 participants.
The HKTB announced that provisional visitor arrivals in August were about 4,450, amounting to a year-on-year decrease of 99.9 per cent.
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