Home Lifestyle Which of our 10 favourite summer holiday destinations could reopen by June?

Which of our 10 favourite summer holiday destinations could reopen by June?

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It's looking good for Greece – but what about our other holiday hotspots? - Getty

It’s looking good for Greece – but what about our other holiday hotspots? – Getty

With vaccine passports on the horizon, holiday bookings soaring, and the end of lockdown (hopefully) nigh, the possibility of a summer getaway is increasing every day. 

But which of Britons’ most popular summertime haunts might be ready to accept visitors – and which are lagging behind? Here, we look into the stats and stances of 10 summer hotspots, to help you decide where to book. 

France

Chances of a summer holiday: 8/10

As things stand, only Britons who reside in the EU, or those with a pressing need to visit (that doesn’t include a holiday) may enter France. A Covid test, carried out in the previous 72 hours, is also required, while Britons must then self-isolate for seven days before taking another PCR test. All in all, it’s not exactly conducive to holidays. 

France has not given any indication as to when it will remove its ban on non-essential UK arrivals, but it would be quite a shock if our close neighbour, which derives significant economic benefit from free-spending UK visitors, did not ease restrictions in the coming months – particularly as our cases are plummeting and our vaccine rollout is so advanced. 

While the EU has signalled its support for vaccine passports, the French government has repeatedly sought to distance itself from the idea that only inoculated people will be able to travel. This would suggest that, even if the EU adopts a bloc-wide passport scheme, France will still welcome unvaccinated travellers who present evidence of a negative test. 

The French Riviera - GettyThe French Riviera - Getty

The French Riviera – Getty

Portugal

Chances of a summer holiday 6/10

Hanging over the resumption of holidays to Portugal is the country’s presence, rightly or wrongly, on the dreaded travel red list. As things stand, 33 countries are on the list. Direct flights from these 33 destinations to the UK are banned, and UK residents returning from them are required to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel. In any event, Portugal has banned flights from the UK over the Kent variant. Talk about tit-for-tat. 

Portugal’s inclusion on the red list has put many necks out of joint. It is on there, ostensibly, because of fears about the Brazilian variant and its close ties with the South American nation. However, Portugal banned flights from Brazil weeks ago, and has only reported two cases of the variant (fewer than the six found in the UK). Until the UK is satisfied that arrivals from Portugal do not pose a major risk, or that the Brazilian variant is not a significant threat (it is widely believed that existing vaccines, while slightly less effective against the variant, do still prevent serious illness), Portugal may stay on the red list. 

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said the UK’s Kent variant was actually the bigger threat to Portugal. “The only variants that are present in Portugal are British,” he said. “Almost half of new infections in Portugal belong to this British variant. That’s why we suspended the flights between Britain and Portugal.

“But we don’t have any evidence of prevalence of the Brazilian or South African variants in Portugal. I would say it is somehow useless, the decision taken by the British authorities concerning quarantine, since we decided to suspend the connections between Portugal and the UK.”

Portugal has not given any indication as to when it will remove its ban on non-essential UK arrivals. With Brits making up a large number of the annual visitors to Portugal, it seems likely that restrictions will be eased before the summer, particularly with Britain’s speedy vaccine rollout helping push cases down, but nothing is certain. 

Neither the National Tourist Office of Portugal, nor the Portuguese Embassy in London, could make any predictions about when flights might resume between the two countries, but we were assured that “Portugal has been in regular contact with the British authorities at both a diplomatic and technical level in an attempt to resolve this situation.”

Madeira

Chances of a summer holiday 7/10

Remember the ‘island corridors’ of yesteryear? Which allowed restriction-free travel, so long the your destination’s case rate was low enough? If reintroduced, a tactic like that could be the saving grace of Portugal’s big holiday islands. 

Currently, Madeira and The Azores are included in Portugal’s ‘red list’ status – despite being far removed from the mainland. But if the UK Government shifted its blanket ban to a more nuanced approach, perhaps they may be looked upon more favourably – provided they let us in too, of course. 

Madeira for summer? Possibly... - GettyMadeira for summer? Possibly... - Getty

Madeira for summer? Possibly… – Getty

Spain

Chances of a summer holiday 10/10

Spain could introduce its own ‘green corridor’ for vaccinated British holidaymakers, tourism minister Fernando Valdés has said.

Mr Valdés confirmed this week that Spain was in “discussions” with the UK, and told Bloomberg: “For us the British market is our main market. But obviously since we are a member of the European Union, the solutions have first to be part of the discussions in the EU.

“And obviously if that cannot be reached, we will be thinking of other corridors like green corridors with third countries that can help us restart tourism flows.”

Spain has begun the second phase of its vaccine programme, and hopes to have 70 per cent of the adult population inoculated by the end of summer – despite a rollout initially plagued by delays and vaccine shortages. 

The country is definitely feeling the pinch from the lack of British tourists: in 2019, we spent around £18bn annually in the country, making it the most popular holiday destination for Britons, but numbers were down by more than 80 per cent last summer. The Spanish Government will, no doubt, be hoping to claw back as much of that lost trade as possible. 

Canaries and Balearics

Chances of a summer holiday 10/10

It’s not just mainland Spain that Britons love. Its islands, too, are high on our hitlist – and they’re already showing a proactive approach to vaccine passports and the reintroduction of travel. 

The Balearic islands hope to conduct a trial run of any new vaccine passport scheme, which would enable fully inoculated travellers to visit the archipelago without restrictions. 

Speaking to Telegraph Travel, The Islands’ Minister for Tourism, Iago Negueruela, said: “The Balearic Islands has proposed to Spain’s central government that the archipelago becomes one of the first places where the vaccine passport is trialled.

“In 2020, the Balearics pioneered a safe tourism initiative called the Pilot Plan; a test project which launched in June 2020 to bring visitors back to the Balearic Islands in a controlled and safe way. This Pilot Plan helps to illustrate our capacity to trial these kind of initiatives before they are rolled out on a wider scale.”

With an approach like this, we’re confident that Spain’s islands will be back on the map for summer.

Turkey

Chances of a summer holiday 7/10

Turkey’s ministers have told the country’s tourism industry it is “ready” for the summer season, Turkish news site Daily Sabah reports. But is Britain ready to return to Turkey?

Last year saw the country struck from our travel corridor list for perhaps not being wholly transparent with its case rate figures, so expect our Government to be cautious. That said, Turkey appears to be ploughing ahead with its Sinopharm vaccination rollout, with more than 8.45million doses administered. 

Could Antalya be on the cards? - GettyCould Antalya be on the cards? - Getty

Could Antalya be on the cards? – Getty

Greece

Chances of a summer holiday 10/10

We’re confident that Greece will be open to British holidaymakers by summer – and so is its tourism minister, Haris Theoharis. Last week, he told reporters that all Britons will be welcome in Greece this summer, regardless of whether they’ve had the vaccine. 

He described vaccination programmes as “a game changer, together with rapid tests and alongside PCR tests.” Travellers who have the “required certificates” will be permitted to enter Greece without any need for self-isolation, he confirmed, and will also be exempt from taking a test before boarding a flight bound for Greece.

And those who haven’t been inoculated will still be granted access, Theoharis confirmed – as long as they have a good old fashioned negative test certificate. 

The country’s vaccination programme continues apace, both on the mainland and islands: indeed, in some islands, the entire adult population has been inoculated.

So, once the vaccine is rolled out, cases fall and lockdown is lifted, it seems reasonable to assume that we’ll be welcomed back to Greece once again. 

Italy

Chances of a summer holiday 6/10

Italy has backed the EU’s plans for a ‘vaccine passport’, which would enable restriction-free travel between member states. But as for Britons? There have been no juicy soundbites from ministers on whether non-EU visitors would benefit from a vaccine passport this summer.

The country’s vaccination programme is lagging: uptake among the public has been slow, though the country’s healthcare system does issue vaccination certificates for completed doses.

Perhaps we will see a return to the ‘island corridors’ of last year, with holidays open to only to certain islands – and if so, Sardinia looks promising. It is currently the country’s only ‘white zone’, rendering it free from restrictions – though only fully-vaccinated travellers are permitted to enter. A sign of things to come?

Sardinia is Italy's only 'white zone' - GettySardinia is Italy's only 'white zone' - Getty

Sardinia is Italy’s only ‘white zone’ – Getty

Croatia

Chances of a summer holiday 6/10

Croatia’s ministers have been tight-lipped on the prospects of a return to tourism this summer. Its vaccination programme began in December and continues apace, but vaccine certificates aren’t in circulation – either domestically, or for international visitors. 

Watch this space.

Malta

Chances of a summer holiday 8/10

Europe’s first completely vaccinated country may well be Malta. Not only is it small, with a population of around 500,000, but it is already inoculating its citizens faster than nearly every other nation on the continent. 

How it approaches the return of sunseeking foreigners remains to be seen, but perhaps it will adopt the same policy as the Seychelles. The Indian Ocean archipelago has said it will reopen its borders to all travellers once its own rapid vaccine rollout is completed (possibly by the spring).

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