Summer holiday hopes lift as Portugal ends UK flight ban

Lizzie Frainier
·29 min read
Lisbon airport hopes to look a lot busier this summer - Getty
Lisbon airport hopes to look a lot busier this summer - Getty

Portugal’s ban on flights from the UK came to an end today, giving further encouragement to those hoping for a foreign summer holiday this year.

While holidays abroad are prohibited until at least May 17, it is thought that Portugal will be on the Government’s ‘green list’.

Portuguese officials have previously said they are keen to welcome back British tourists, whether fully vaccinated or able to provide a negative Covid-19 test.

Furthermore, today Germany announced it would be removing the UK from its own ‘red list’ of countries it considers to pose the most risk from coronavirus. This decision means that arrivals from Britain will no longer need to quarantine for up to 10 days.

Johan Lundgren, the chief executive of EasyJet, believes that most of Europe will be open to British travellers when restrictions are eased.

A number of popular holiday destinations across the continent, including Greece, Croatia and Turkey, have also already underlined that they are keen to welcome back Britons as soon as possible.

Scroll for live travel updates.

04:17 PM

Today's main headlines

That's it from us for the day. Here's a reminder of the top stories:

  • Summer holiday hopes rise as Portugal ends UK flight ban

  • Tui insists summer holiday season can be saved

  • UK removed from Germany's 'red list'

  • Maldives look to offer Covid-19 vaccines on arrival

  • Scotland might reopen travel ahead of schedule

  • Half of Heathrow's passport control booths unused because of lack of perspex screens

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral must reopen as planned in 2024, says Macron

04:11 PM

All humans are capable of amazing feats – as the Duke of Edinburgh recognised

Benedict Allen looks back at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, which encouraged young people to get out into the world.

Just lately, we’ve been remembering the many achievements of HRH Prince Philip – and for good reason. His was a life – as has been said by many – “well lived”. But I knew him mainly as someone who encouraged others to live their lives well. Every now and then I would go along to St James’s Palace and, with various celebrities, hand out gold medals for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

Notwithstanding the disappointed look on the faces of the recipients as they realised they were to be presented with their medal not by a pop star or a footballer but by me, I found it immeasurably rewarding to see the potential that had been released among these young people, and especially those from troubled backgrounds.

Read the full piece here.

Prince Philip presenting Duke of Edinburgh Awards in 1958 - GETTY
Prince Philip presenting Duke of Edinburgh Awards in 1958 - GETTY

04:02 PM

Testing for travel must be 'affordable and easily available'

Peter Liney, the chief executive of Great Rail Journeys, is asking the Government for more clarity on the restart of travel.

He said:

Many questions remain unanswered as to how and when international travel can safely resume from the UK. We, along with the rest of the travel industry, urge the Government to provide more clarity and to ensure the proposed traffic light system and travel testing regime can work effectively. It is imperative that tests are both affordable and easily available to build consumer confidence. It is concerning to see that the current testing proposals represent a significant cost for passengers that will be a real barrier to the return of long-awaited holidays.

Our research tells us the current cost of PCR testing is ‘unreasonable’ to holidaymakers and will need to reduce significantly to be considered viable – 81 per cent of our customers believe under £50 is a reasonable price to pay, with 52 per cent actually thinking the cost should be under £25. Just 1 per cent consider the current cost to be appropriate. We predict we could see a loss of 25 percent of bookings just as a result of customers having to pay anything at all for testing.

Our customers keenly await their booked holidays, and it is important they are provided with reassurance that the right steps are in place ahead of travelling again. 95 per cent of our over-60s holidaymakers are not at all confident about travelling to amber countries, so understanding which countries will be on the green list is key to unlocking travel.

03:50 PM

Holiday bookings show shift away from 'usual tourist crowds'

Bookings for UK holidays are already up by more than 40 per cent compared to 2019, according to rental agency Sykes Holiday Cottages.

And according to their research, which was based on almost 20,000 bookings made this year, Britons are “choosing less well-known destinations to escape the usual tourist crowds” for the summer. The small Lancashire village of Warton has topped the list of “trending staycation spots“, followed by Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire.

The fastest-growing region for bookings is Devon, with summer bookings up by more than 60 per cent, followed by the Peak District, Somerset, Cornwall and Northumberland.

Graham Donoghue, the chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said:

With the honeypot locations across the country booking up fast, we’ve seen a huge growth in demand for lesser-known – but no less enjoyable – staycation destinations.

Coastal towns and villages definitely dominate the list, as people are putting their passports away this year in favour of UK beach breaks.

As well as summer holidays, we’re also seeing a steady stream of bookings for next year and we’re confident the trend will continue beyond that as Brits settle into new holiday habits post-pandemic.

03:39 PM

UK snapshot: The latest Covid figures

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03:33 PM

Surge in travel expected for China May Day holiday

International online travel services provider Trip.com Group has released its China May Day holiday forecast data which shows up to 200 million tourists in mainland China are set to travel over the five-day break.

According to the forecast data, the current volume of hotel bookings has achieved a 43% increase compared to the same period in 2019, that is the same holiday pre-pandemic. High-end hotel bookings accounted for more than 50% of total bookings over the May Day holiday.

The strong domestic travel recovery in the mainland China market has prompted justified optimism in the wider world's travel recovery route.

03:24 PM

Will passengers need the Covid vaccine to go on a cruise?

Holidays at sea are returning this summer – but some cruise lines won't let you board unless you've had your Covid jabs.

Get all the details here.

03:08 PM

Cornwall may be almost booked up – but these top hotels still have some space left

Cornwall is in the spotlight once again as summer staycation demand continues to soar. And while a minority seem immune to the county’s charms, it’s hardly surprising so many find its pull irresistible. From the world-class beaches, to the arty coastal towns and unbeatable seafood spots, few places feel more removed from the drudge of everyday life.

Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate

Space may be severely limited, but we have scoured our favourite hotels and found that a few still have some rooms left in July and August, if you move fast.

Here are five top options to book now to secure that south-west escape.

02:42 PM

'Spontaneity makes for the best holidays – travel will be dull without it'

Booked-up Britain is the opposite of summer fun: the best holiday memories are formed from sketchy plans and last-minute trips.

marrakech - Getty
marrakech - Getty

Agree or disagree? Tell us here.

02:26 PM

Cornwall Council reiterates message of caution

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02:18 PM

Vaccinated people arriving in Ireland to be exempt from hotel quarantines

Ireland's Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has now said that regulations to allow fully vaccinated people to quarantine at home will be implemented in the coming days, meaning they are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantines.

In addition, professional athletes will be exempt.

Will the UK follow Ireland's lead? That remains to be seen.

01:55 PM

Boris Johnson's visit to India will still go ahead later this month, despite new variant concerns

Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson's visit to India will still go ahead later this month, despite concerns about a coronavirus variant which was first detected in the country.

Officials have currently designated it a "variant under investigation" (VUI) rather than a "variant of concern" (VOC), such as the Manaus (Brazil) or South African variants.

Asked if the Prime Minister's trip to India would still go ahead, a No 10 spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "The Prime Minister's visit is still happening later this month.

"We have said that the programme will be slightly shorter than it will have been and you can expect the main body of his programme to take place on Monday April 26.

"As you would expect, safety is obviously important and is a priority for us on this trip, which is why we will make sure that all elements of the visit are Covid-secure."

01:37 PM

My 'testing on arrival' nightmare bodes terribly for the summer ahead

My 'testing on arrival' nightmare bodes terribly for the summer ahead, says Eleanor Aldridge.

She writes:

This year, I’ve added a new specialism to my travel-writing resumé: quarantine. Gone are my old ride-and-die companions – a battered notebook and well-used set of WineSkins – in their place a meal planning spreadsheet and packable cafetière for one. It’s not a niche I’d recommend.

Until last month, it was at least an easy specialism to master. The skills required were simple: the ability to stay in isolation for anywhere from ten days to two weeks, depending on the government’s latest whim and scientific community’s latest leanings. A certain ingenuity when it came to securing supermarket deliveries was advantageous.

Now, things are a little more complicated.

As a French resident with legal reason to travel to the UK, I must get a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel, pay £190 for a “Day 2 & Day 8” postal testing package, then quarantine for ten days on arrival.

Unfortunately, I’m among many to receive incorrect tests – or no tests at all. Only after exchanging 36 ever-more-infuriating emails with my approved test provider do I spot the last two reviews on their Trustpilot read “scam” and their partner’s Google rating stands at 1.7.

Read the full story.

01:29 PM

Can I visit Scotland?

Rules on travel within Scotland were eased on April 16, with cross-border holidays permitted from April 26.

Emma Featherstone has all the details.

01:01 PM

Tui insists summer holiday season can be saved

The boss of Europe's largest tour company said he was 'optimistic' for foreign summer holidays this year.

Tui Group chief executive Fredrich Joussen credits successful vaccine programmes in the UK, US and Europe for his optimism.

He told the BBC: "We are still confident that we will have a decent summer.

"All medical advice we are getting as a company says that existing vaccines are working with existing variants.

"Now they might be less efficient sometimes, but still it's much better than not being vaccinated."

Joussen also broached the topic of testing, suggesting a negative test result would be just as effective as a vaccine passport – but only if the cost of individual tests is made more affordable to the average traveller. "The cheaper it gets, the better it works and the less harmful it is for the general economy," he said.

He added that bookings in March for Tui had hit 2.8 million, with the company expecting to operate up to 75% of its normal schedule for the summer season.

As it stands under the Government's current road map out of lockdown, Britons are set to be allowed to travel abroad for foreign holidays from May 17 – though the traffic light system may mean some destinations are essentially off-limits.

12:59 PM

How Devon is beginning to welcome back tourists

After lockdown, a trip to the coast felt like slipping into another dimension, with warm weather, fresh seafood and an intimate, 1930s cabin, says Emma Cooke.

She adds:

“It looks like Australia,” said my partner, Alex, wonderingly as we gazed out across Hope Cove. This tiny seaside village has a viewpoint across a section of the Devon coastline that’s filled with a sea colour gradient that shifts from dark navy to light teal, all underpinned by streaks of rock that create alien shapes under the water. The green-topped cliffs meeting this scene are the only hint that we’re in England – and even then, it’s difficult to believe.

It was snowing when we left London at 7am on April 12, something we took in our stride as we drove past trees frosted white and onwards towards the South Devon Area of Outstanding National Beauty. “Who cares if the weather’s mad?” I trilled, “We’re travelling! We’re staying somewhere that isn’t our flat!” After three gruelling months in a third lockdown, even sleet in July wouldn’t have stopped me taking advantage of the easing of restrictions in England.

Read more.

12:45 PM

Maldives look to offer Covid-19 vaccines on arrival

Tourists arriving in the Maldives will be offered Covid-19 vaccinations as part of a scheme aimed at boosting tourism.

The country’s tourism minister, Abdulla Mausoom, told reporters that it would make it “more convenient” for people to take holidays on the islands, which rely heavily on tourism.

He added that the country’s health authorities would be announcing restriction-free travel plans for vaccinated holidaymakers “very soon”.

12:29 PM

Staycation 'gazumping' threatens to turn holidays into the preserve of the rich and entitled

Outbidding fellow holidaymakers to secure a break this summer is the worst behaviour to come out of this pandemic and stinks of entitlement, writes Lottie Gross.

Picture this, dear reader: you’ve booked your dream holiday home in Cornwall, or maybe it’s a cottage in Kent between some of England’s finest vineyards. You’re a couple of months away from that much-needed, well deserved holiday and you just can’t wait. Then you get an email.

There’s been some sort of mistake. The agent has double booked themselves and all of a sudden your relaxing week away comes crumbling down. You’re back to square one, except you’re faced with sky-high prices thanks to the pandemic-induced surge in demand. You tell the kids. There are tears. Summer is cancelled.

Except there wasn’t a mistake at all. Instead, there was a wily, entitled family on the other end of the phone who have gazumped you over your summer holiday. It sounds implausible. Surely no one would do that? How desperate do you have to be to outbid someone else who had already reserved a cottage? However ludicrous it might seem, it’s happening.

Read the full piece here.

12:18 PM

How will the Government's traffic light system for travel work?

Travel Traffic Lights
Travel Traffic Lights

Read more: How will the new 'traffic light' system kickstart holidays again?

12:12 PM

No 10 dodges explanation for why India is not on travel 'red list'

Downing Street has failed to explain why India has not been added to the list of countries from which travel is restricted.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted that the red list of countries is "under constant review", when asked why India has not been put on it despite a high number of cases.

A No 10 spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "We add and remove countries based on the latest scientific data and public health advice from a range of world-leading experts.

"We keep it under constant review and we won't hesitate to introduce tougher restrictions and add countries if we think it is necessary."

12:08 PM

Wizz Air adds extra flights from Luton

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air plans to launch two new routes from London Luton Airpor to Turkey and Poland this summer.

The flights to Antalya, which will run twice a week, and Rzeszow, three times a week, are due to begin on June 22. They mean the total number of Wizz Air routes from the airport will rise to 74.

Owain Jones, the managing director of Wizz Air UK, said:

Although travel is currently restricted, we continue to plan for the easing of restrictions, as we remain committed to providing the UK with affordable, direct flights to exciting destinations.

Whether it is relaxing on the beautiful beaches in Antalya or discovering the historical Old Town in Rzeszow, our low-fare flights offer UK passengers even more choice when deciding on their post-lockdown holiday destination.

When the time comes, we will be ready with our industry leading health and safety measures to welcome passengers back on board our ultra-young and efficient aircraft.

12:00 PM

UK removed from Germany's 'red list'

Germany has announced it is removing the United Kingdom from its list of risk regions, meaning British travellers will be able to enter the country when restrictions are eased.

Those entering Germany within 10 days of leaving a risk area have to register with the authorities and quarantine for up to 10 days.

Areas in Ireland have also been removed, although a number of regions in Portugal, plus one in Spain, are to be added.

The changes will take effect on Sunday, German officials confirmed.

11:57 AM

And here's how the UK's vaccine push is going

Latest UK vaccine numbers: rollout figures
Latest UK vaccine numbers: rollout figures

Read more on our coronavirus blog.

11:54 AM

Coronavirus rate falling across UK

As England sets its sights on the next easing of restrictions – on May 17, which would see hotels reopening and indoor dining and drinking in restaurants and pubs – there is good news from the Office of National Statistics.

Across the country, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 fell in the week ending April 10 2021 to around one in 480 people. The previous week this figure was one in 340 people.

All of the devolved nations of the UK, which are following their own roadmap out of lockdown, have also seen decreased infections.

11:50 AM

Government urged to digitise Covid-19 border checks

Covid border checks for UK arrivals are taking too long are a "major risk" to the meaningful resumption of international travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.

Some passengers have been left queuing for up to six hours at Heathrow, with the airports' chief solutions officer calling the situation "untenable".

Iata has called on the Government to implement a digital system as priority with a month to go until the earliest date holidays from the UK could resume. The current system "compromises social distancing measures and passenger welfare," it added.

"It is urgent that agreement is reached on what digital systems will be accepted, trials are conducted to ensure their smooth implementation, and communication programs reach travellers who will need to arrive at the airport prepared. There is no time to lose."

11:40 AM

More chances for a Disney cruise in UK waters?

Is Disney Cruise Line gearing up for a long stay around Britain? Telegraph Travel cruise writer Dave Monk thinks that could be the case.

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Read more: The best British cruises to book for this summer as demand soars

11:29 AM

'Why will I always choose the middle seat on a plane'

Emma Featherstone writes:

It might sound contrarian, but I’m here to defend the most maligned spot on a plane. Being dealt the middle seat would fill most long-haul passengers with dread. To me, it’s the best-case scenario. It cuts the chances of all manner of flying irritations: from being trapped next to an amorous couple to that mortifying moment where you have to straddle a complete stranger to reach the loo.

I was therefore alarmed by the prospect of Covid calling time on the middle seat. The risk of catching the virus on a plane was reduced by up to 57 per cent if the centre seats were left empty, according to research by the US Centers for Disease Protection and Control (CDC). Indeed, early on in the pandemic, blocking the middle seat was deemed a simple route to better social distancing on planes.

Thus far, economics have trumped science in this case: the only US airline to have shut off centre seats in the pandemic is Delta and it’s due to drop this approach on April 30. And when Telegraph Travel quizzed UK airlines on their middle seat policy, the general feeling was – at least on busy flights – this spot would remain bookable. As we return to some semblance of normal, I hope this remains the case.

Is Emma right? Or do you completely disagree? Share your views here.

11:11 AM

Why the tech set is trading San Francisco for Miami

The pandemic has triggered a “tech-exodus” of digital entrepreneurs from San Francisco to more spacious cities in the US, and Miami, for one, has benefitted.

With its year-round sunshine, low taxes, relaxed restrictions and ocean you can actually swim in, the city has spent the past year welcoming Bay Area émigrés with open arms; the Republican mayor Francis Suarez has even taken to Twitter to greet these future tech titans, pairing them with other arrivals – ex-New York venture capitalists who’ve swapped micro apartments in Manhattan for spacious Miami beach pads.

Pharrell Williams and David Grutman at the Goodtime Hotel  - Alice Gao
Pharrell Williams and David Grutman at the Goodtime Hotel - Alice Gao

As hip neighbourhoods such as Brickell, Edgewater and Wynwood embrace a demographic keen to start up rather than slow down, Miami’s seasoned party hosts are in overdrive. This month, the musician Pharrell Williams and local hospitality legend David Grutman open the Goodtime Hotel on Washington Avenue (thegoodtimehotel.com).

In short, this Floridian city is creating waves with new hotels, eateries and art spaces, a boon not only for its new citizens, but also for visitors.

Read more.

10:50 AM

Some airline passengers are using forged GP notes to travel

According to a report in the Daily Mail, some airline passengers are using forged GP notes to avoid the cost of a Covid test when they arrive in the UK.

In fact, border guards have reported 'upwards of 100' fraudulent Covid test certificates per day. The forged notes claim the passenger needs emergency surgery, which exempts the passenger from needing to pay for a test.

'Forged letters have been uncovered which say the passenger's coming back for an emergency operation or other emergency treatment,' a borders source told the Mail.

10:26 AM

10 things I learnt on my first river cruise

River cruise holidays have played an interesting role during the past 12 months. After the pandemic brought the global cruise industry to a standstill in March 2020, river vessels were the first to return, sailing successfully through the second half of the year – they were even exempt from Foreign Office's cruise travel advice.

Misconceptions are shattered on Kaye's very first river cruise  - iStock
Misconceptions are shattered on Kaye's very first river cruise - iStock

And now they look set to lead the charge in 2021, with smaller ships that sail closer to land in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19.

Ready to embark on a river cruise when lockdown lifts?

Kaye Holland shares what she discovered on her first voyage to help you feel prepared here.

10:09 AM

Scotland might reopen travel ahead of schedule

From today, Scots can travel across local authority boundaries for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise. This latest stage in the roadmap out of lockdown was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at an unscheduled briefing on Tuesday.

She also noted that the continued decline in virus cases could mean the restrictions might be eased earlier than planned.

09:43 AM

17 amazing UK campsites beside the sea

Coastal camping on the cards this year? Blow those lockdown cobwebs away now sites are opening up

Wake to to sea views at these coastal campsites - Getty
Wake to to sea views at these coastal campsites - Getty

Find the very best here.

09:17 AM

Share your view: Holiday 'gazumping'

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09:03 AM

Denmark advances towards reopening

Denmark on Friday advanced its reopening plan on the back of stable infection rates, allowing indoor serving at restaurants and bars and some football fans to cheer from the stands from April 21, weeks earlier than originally planned.

Denmark has avoided a third wave of the Covid-19 epidemic after imposing wide lockdown measures in December, which slowed the epidemic considerably to between 500-700 daily infections from several thousands in December.

As part of the deal agreed by the government and most of parliament early on Friday, the limit on outdoor public gatherings will also be raised to 50 from 10 on April 21.

More on the coronavirus live blog.

08:50 AM

Britain's summer holiday hotspots – and the crowd-free alternatives you should visit instead

Demand for UK holidays is likely to be at an all-time high this year, with questions still surrounding how much international travel will be possible this summer. The good news is that self-catering accommodation has officially reopened in England, so holidays on home turf are finally back on the menu after a four-month hiatus.

A report by the Rest Easy Group the week of April 12 confirmed that 98 per cent of properties in Cornwall across its platforms were already booked for opening week – with Devon and Yorkshire also close to full capacity.

This summer, take the opportunity to explore the lesser visited corners of Britain and find out what you've been missing out on
This summer, take the opportunity to explore the lesser visited corners of Britain and find out what you've been missing out on

So here are some of best underrated places to holiday in the UK, which will likely have fewer crowds and better availability.

  • Ditch the Cotswolds, and try Somerset

  • Forget the Lake District, and try the Cairngorms

  • Instead of Cornwall, head to Northumberland

  • Move over Yorkshire Dales, it's Lancashire's Ribble Valley's time

Find more alternatives, and get all the details on why you should choose the underrated equivalent here.

08:33 AM

Coronavirus, travel insurance and the traffic light system: how do I make sure I'm covered?

Covid has not only thrown our holiday plans into confusion, it has also undermined our back-up plans: the travel insurance we rely on to help us when things go wrong.

Right at the start of the pandemic insurance providers moved swiftly to exclude claims related to the pandemic. Generally speaking, all policies sold after March 17, 2020 greatly reduced their cover and virtually all these have now expired. Only during last summer and autumn did less restrictive policies start to be offered, and many of these still had important exclusions.

In fact, such has been the disruption to the market that even Which? has temporarily stopped recommending specific travel insurance policies.

So now that there is hope on the horizon and we can begin to think about booking holidays again, what should you do about covering yourself? How can you be sure you have a decent policy which isn’t hedged about by exclusions and restrictions?

Nick Trend has the answers.

08:14 AM

Watch: Google and Nasa release amazing timelapse of how Planet Earth has changed over 30 years

Using 20 million satellite photos from the past 37 years, Google Earth can now show viewers the world from the "fourth dimension" – time.

The work is focused on climate change, and the human impact on the world. Scientists at Nasa and Google guide the viewer through changes including forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, sources of energy, and our world’s fragile beauty, in a set of timelapse videos.

Read more.

08:04 AM

Why Malta should be your first holiday this summer

After a rise in infections, Malta was put under lockdown until last Monday, but now that more than a third of its adults have received their first dose (the highest per capita rollout in the EU), the government has announced it soon expects to allow British tourists back to its shores. The UK government is still hedging its bets when it comes to foreign travel, but from Malta’s point of view fully vaccinated Britons will be welcome from June 1, and if infections in the UK are low enough, so will those who are unvaccinated but can provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Gozo’s Ir-Ramla l-Hamra (Red Sandy Beach) is a lovely spot for a swim  - iStock
Gozo’s Ir-Ramla l-Hamra (Red Sandy Beach) is a lovely spot for a swim - iStock

Malta has missed the British. Well over half a million of us usually head to this sunny Mediterranean archipelago each year, and our absence has hit the economy hard. But don’t imagine that visiting this year will mean strolling between boarded-up bars and ghost hotels. The number of tourist beds in Malta has expanded during the pandemic, with the opening of a new Hyatt, a fully refurbished Marriott and some new boutique accommodation, too.

Read more.

07:50 AM

Half of Heathrow's passport control booths unused because of lack of perspex screens

Chaotic queues of up to six hours at Heathrow are being compounded by half the passport control booths being unused because of a lack of perspex screens, a union has claimed.

The lack of side screens mean half the 40 desks are unattended because border staff cannot work alongside each other, according to Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the ISU immigration and border officers.

The problem emerged amid growing complaints about the queues for arrivals at the airport that average between two and six hours.

Chris Garton, Heathrow’s chief solutions officer, told MPs on Wednesday that "the situation is becoming untenable" and the police had been forced to step in. One woman collapsed while waiting on Wednesday evening.

The problems stem from the Government’s demand that all passengers’ locator forms must be checked by Border Force officers.

Charles Hymas has more.

07:47 AM

Notre-Dame Cathedral must reopen as planned in 2024, says Macron

Two years after the iconic Paris cathedral of Notre-Dame was partially destroyed in a huge cloud of fire and smoke, French president Emmanuel Macron has urged workers to help him hit a tough target for reopening in 2024.

Mr Macron is under pressure to meet an ambitious target for reopening he set in the immediate aftermath of the fire which sent shockwaves through France and the world in 2019.

He had then promised the reconstruction would be complete by the summer of 2024, when the Olympics will be hosted by the French capital. A year later, he reiterated that promise despite the coronavirus pandemic halting progress for months.

It is unclear whether worshippers will have a roof over their heads during the planned 2024 service, or whether the cathedral will be ready to host some of the 20 million tourists it welcomed each year before the fire.

Read more here.

07:40 AM

The seven destinations likely to feature on the holiday 'green list' this summer

The 'traffic light system' has been confirmed for our summer holidays – which countries will get the go-ahead?

Gibraltar will almost certainly get the 'green light' this summer  - Getty
Gibraltar will almost certainly get the 'green light' this summer - Getty

Greg Dickinson has the answers.

07:39 AM

'Wales deserves more respect – its language is as old as the hills and an indelible part of its charm'

Grumbles about Welsh flight announcements have reignited divisions between England and Wales. But embracing the language is part of the wonder of a holiday here, says Kerry Walker. She writes:

For years, the Welsh have been the butt of many a joke and their language has been dismissed. Still today, many visitors talk about Wales as if it were nothing but an appendage to England – a county rather than a country.

Yet Welsh is the sound of Wales: rising and falling with a lilt that ripples like a summer breeze through heather on the moors. This is a language of song: its beauty captured in the tenor and bass of a male voice choir. And it is a language of poetry, as expressed at August’s National Eisteddfod, a jubilant celebration of culture and language that has been going strong since 1176. The vowelless words and double consonants, confounding holidaymakers who find them impossible to pronounce, ring like bells in the mouths of proficient speakers.

Read more.

07:33 AM

Testing costs put holidays to popular destinations out of reach for two-thirds of families

Summer holidays to popular destinations will be out of reach for at least two-thirds of families because testing could increase the cost of travel by 160 per cent, a study for international airlines has found.

The research, for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), showed that even with cheaper tests more than half of travellers would be priced out of holidays in destinations such as the Spanish Canary islands.

The modelling, by Oxera and Edge Health, economics and health experts used by the NHS, calculated the costs of testing on five "typical" routes including UK to New York, Frankfurt and Singapore for business, UK-Pakistan for family and UK-Canaries for holidays.

With the current "gold standard" PCR testing regime that would apply to "amber" risk countries like Spain, a family of four would have to take 16 tests at a potential cost of £1,600 – more than doubling the travel bill to £2,600 and adding 32 per cent to the £3,950 price of a holiday.

Charles Hymas has more.

06:53 AM

What happened yesterday?

The key headlines:

  • Portugal to avoid quarantine and tests with travel pass plan

  • Government under pressure to stop 'rip off' fees for travel Covid tests

  • Northern Ireland to open outdoor hospitality from April 30

  • Greece reopening a 'pilot' scheme, says government ​

  • Government needs to sort out airport queues before May 17, warns airline group

  • More data needed before travel to South Africa to be allowed

​Follow along for more live updates throughout the day.