Editor’s letter

Headline here

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Contact

Get in touch with the team

ABTA Magazine is produced by Waterfront Publishing on behalf of ABTA, The Travel Association.


Contacts

Editorial
Anthony Pearce, director
anthony@waterfront-publishing.com

info@abtamag.com
020 3865 9360

Design
DJMWeb, The Studio

Sub-editors
Nathaniel Cramp, Emily Eastman

Sales and partnerships

Sam Ballard, director
sam@waterfront-publishing.com

Bryan Johnson, senior sales manager
bryan@waterfront-publishing.com
0203 865 9338
075 3270 9734


About ABTA

Waterfront Publishing is an independent publisher based in central London. It has an in-house magazines, Cruise Adviser, which is aimed at the travel trade. It has also produced magazines on behalf of ABTATravelzoo; and Emerald Waterways. Its design agency The Studio by Waterfront offers copywriting, proofreading and design for print, digital, advertising and branding.

Get in touch

Waterfront Publishing
Hop Exchange,
Southwark Street,
London, SE1 1TY
info@waterfront-publishing.com
020 3865 9360
Feature

On the wine trail in Greece

Greece’s climate and terroir result in the production of some outstanding wines. Sharing a carafe of house wine over homestyle food is very much a part of holidaying in Greece. And visiting vineyards and sampling wine in the winery where it was crafted is a great way to explore this idyllic land. 

Wine in the Cyclades
This Aegean island’s volcanic soil, low rainfall and sunshine are factors in producing quality wines. They include minerally white wines and bottles proudly referencing the island’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). 

Santorini’s soil is too acidic for phylloxera, tiny pests that destroy vines, meaning you can see vines of prodigious age while touring vineyards. The long-established Estate Argyros and modern Vassaltis Winery count among those that welcome visitors. Look carefully and you’ll see vines trained into shade-casting basket shapes.  

Assyrtiko grapes produce crisp, full-bodied white wine. Relax while sipping a glass accompanied by a plate of fava dip and freshly baked bread. Afterwards try pairing a glass of the island’s Vinsanto dessert wine with baklava or a chocolate-based dish.

In Paros, visit the Moraitis Winery, near Naousa, to see a vineyard set in sandy soil typical of the region. The island’s PDO was established in 1981. It’s unique as Greece’s only appellation permitting use of a white grape varietal in red wine production. The red Mandilaria varietal is balanced with Monemvassia grapes also used to produce notable dry white wines.

Revithia, a chickpea stew finished with lemon and olive oil, pairs well with Paros’s white wines. So too does gouna, a traditional dish of sun-dried fish grilled with herbs and lemon juice. Karavoloi, snails in a garlicky sauce, are ideal with the island’s red wine. Wherever you visit, experiencing Greece means good food and wine.

Wine from Epirus
Epirus, in Greece’s northwest, is known for its undulating mountains and verdant green landscapes. The region’s winemaking is concentrated around Metsovo (and the Katogi Averoff winery) and Zitsa (which has the Zoinos Winery and Estate Glinavos), with PDO Zitsa being the only wine in Epirus to have the highly-valued PDO badge – and the only one in the whole of Greece to be given to a white sparkling wine. 

Once visitors have had their fill of the local drop, they can visit some of the region’s fascinating sites, including the Monastery Agios Ilias in Zitsa, which Lord Byron visited in 1809. While there he sampled the wine and declared it among the best in Europe. He even included the monastery in his epic poem, Child Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Halkidiki’s wine
Northern Greece’s Halkidiki region is famed for organic, vegetable-rich cuisine. Locally landed seafood also features. The region’s traditional diet, of which an occasional glass of wine is part, is reputedly a factor in locals living lengthy lives. The Tzikas Family Winery near Kassendria welcomes visitors to its organic vineyard to taste wines.

The region encompasses the autonomous Mount Athos region. Monk Epifanios of Mylopotamus, a renowned chef, reintroduced winemaking to the peninsula after phylloxera devasted vines during World War Two. Vines in the Mylopotamus vineyard grow on the lower slopes of Mount Athos. Limnio grapes provide the eponymous Epifanios red wine with body and minerality.

Peloponnesian wines
Driving or cycling the Peloponnese’s wine routes enables visitors to admire landscapes in a region that produces nearly a third of all Greek wine. With seven PDO appellations it presents wine-loving visitors with variety and quality. 

The Mercouri Estate – 40 minutes’ drive from Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympics – was established during the 1860s and is a reason to visit the western Peloponnese. The Monemvasia Winery reproduces a version of Malvasia, a wine that was popular during the Middle Ages.

The region’s succulent goat stew pairs well with red wines made with Agiorgitiko grapes. Grilled octopus is lifted by aromatic white wines crafted from the Moschofilero varietal. 

Wine in Crete
Crete is home to four wine-producing PDO appellations: Archanes, Dafnes, Peza and Sitia. Look for vintages produced using indigenous grapes. Sip white wines made using the Vidiano or Thrapsathiri varietals with roasted rooster. Red wine crafted from Mandilari grapes pairs well with rabbit stifado, a stew slow-cooked with onions and garlic.

Crete’s rugged interior commonly receives a covering of winter snow. Touring vineyards is a reason to head inland through villages with palpable rustic traditions. The Idaia Vineyard at Venerato is in a region dotted with the remains of ancient winepresses: evidence of Greece’s lengthy winemaking heritage. Visiting the Diamantakis Winery highlights the adoption of modern equipment and practices.

 

Feature

Beyond Athens: 6 other must-visit Greek cities

A wealth of enticing towns and cities await those who venture beyond the Greek capital


Greece’s ancient capital may steal the limelight in the city break stakes but it’s far from being the only game in town. While some historic Greek centres such as Sparta may have paled in importance over the years, and others such as Kalamata and Prevezia function primarily as regional air gateways, many others remain ripe for exploration, awash with charming old towns, unique cultures and vibrant local cuisines. Here are six of the best. 

Thessaloniki
Notwithstanding the excellent Archaeological, Byzantine and Olympic museums, Greece’s second city, on the northeastern coast, cries out to be explored with your feet and taste buds, its unique energy, cuisine and architecture borne of a fascinating fusion of historic influences, from Greek and Roman to Ottoman and Byzantine.

Revitalised areas such as Ladadika and Ano Poli throng with inviting bars, restaurants and fancy buildings while walking tours curate grand gestures such as the Rotunda of Galerius, Aristotelous Square and Heptapyrgion fortress, offering sweeping views over the city. Scenic strolls along the coastal promenade meanwhile are watched over by the city’s emblematic White Tower. 

Halkidiki’s sun-soaked resorts are within easy reach too, as are the epic landscapes and trails spilling out from Mt. Olympus. Alternatively, conjure a beach-backed twin centre by adding time in Kavala, 100 miles east. 

Volos
Located halfway between Athens and Thessaloniki on the Greek mainland, Volos is a mythical destination where tourists can walk along Argonauts Avenue and bask in the region that the centaurs called home.

The city of Volos has a rich history. Grand mansions and government buildings tell their own tale, while walking along the seafront you can eat in small restaurants that look over fishing boats and yachts – and even a replica of the ancient ship Argo.

Sightseers can visit Volos Castle, in Palia, towards the west of the city, or head to Agios Konstantinos, a pretty corner of the city that that is perfect for wandering around.

The region stretching out around Volos is beautiful. Visitors can tour archaeological sites, explore nature, get to know Pelion or set sail for the lush-green Sporades islands.

Ioannina
This northwestern charmer owes much of its allure to the idyllic lakeside setting, ringed by mountains.

Cosy cafés dot the shady, tree-lined promenades edging Pamvotis Lake, offering a great place to kick back over a drink or a bite. More attractions await those who venture out to its island, not least the Ali Pasha Museum and fresco-filled Byzantine monasteries.

Another of Ioannina’s draws is the 6th century Byzantine castle area, which remains inhabited. It’s a fascinating place, the Byzantine Museum and Acropolis of Its Kale featuring among its highlights. 

The town also makes a great base for touring the wider area, from the mystical monastic landscapes of Meteora, so beloved of hikers and photographers, to the national parks of Pindus and Vikos-Aoos, with its famous gorge and natural springs. 

Heraklion
Gastronomes find much to savour in the airport-backed Cretan capital. Plani, Thigaterra and Erganos offer a mere taste of the city’s foodie credentials, with operators such as Tasting Crete serving up all manner of culinary experiences. Fresh local produce and snacks also flavour the Central Market on 1866 Street, vying with souvenirs for visitors’ attention. 

Beautifully floodlit by night, Koules fortress, by the old Venetian port, adds an air of romance to pre- or post-prandial harbourside strolls while the impressive archaeological museum helps school visitors ahead of a visit to Knossos. The major Minoan site is but a short bus or taxi ride away, as are some lovely elevated inland villages such as Archanes. Exploring the latter makes for a pleasant diversion, powered by tasty pastries from the local bakeries, or extended stops at welcoming tavernas. 

Chania
Not for nothing has Chania been prized as a settlement since Neolithic times. Served by an international airport, the city offers a more compact and characterful alternative to Heraklion, some 90 miles east along the northern coast. 

Despite its clear Ottoman and Byzantine influences, and Minoan and Roman roots, much of its prized architecture hails from the Venetian era, including the remnants of the fortified walls and harbour. The latter help define the Old Town where myriad bars and restaurants grace the narrow stone alleyways, and squares such as Eleftherios Venizelos. Bargains await at the central market while the inviting harbourside eateries make worthy outcomes for evening strolls along the promenade. 

Outside of town the pink-sanded beaches of Balos and Elafonissi await, with Samaria Gorge National Park catering to active types. 

 

Feature

5 reasons why autumn is the perfect time to visit Greece

Greece’s sun, sandy beaches and warm seas are factors in the country being a leading summer holiday destination. Yet even after the holiday season peaks and autumn arrives long hours of sunshine result in warm days and evenings, helping the mainland and Greek islands remain pleasant places to spend time. Here are five reasons why autumn is the perfect time to visit Greece.

1. Enjoy Athens without the crowds
Travelling during Greece’s shoulder season, from mid-September into October, means being able to enjoy sunshine without experiencing fierce heat. Cooler than in summer, the footpath corkscrewing around the rocky hillside towards the Lindos Acropolis makes for a leisurely walk on autumn days. Climbing it brings opportunities to view the ancient temple dedicated to Athena Lindia and medieval buildings constructed by the Knights of St John. From the acropolis’s walls you can view Lindos’s white houses and sunbathers on the beach in St George’s Bay.

Being in Greece on 28 October, the national holiday known as Ohi Day, means you have an opportunity to view parades commemorating the country’s entry into World War Two. Flags are waved while student, military and community groups parade and bands play in cities including Athens and Thessaloniki.

2. Walking trails in Naxos and Andros
The biggest island in the Cyclades, Naxos has plenty to offer, but its hiking trails are among the best in the world.

Discover the varied landscape of the island by following numerous routes (Chora–Melane-Halki, Halki–Danakos-Apeiranthos, Skado-Apollonas.). There are incredible views from the top of Zas Mountain – where en route you will pass a cave that was dedicated to Zeus in ancient times.

Andros, the northernmost island in the Cyclades, is a totally different landscape to its neighbours. Here you will find lush vegetation and rocky coastlines – and amazing cobblestone paths that run along the island through meadows – where you can smell the thyme, saffron and sage growing nearby.

3. Big islands that are not so busy
Autumn also means fewer people at popular attractions, including the ancient city of Knossos on Crete. The hub of Minoan civilization thrived more than 3,500 years ago. The Palace of Knossos with the labyrinth of King Minos is ideal for exploring early in the day, leaving the afternoon free to view artefacts at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Popular beaches draw fewer bathers after the summer peak. Travelling in autumn brings opportunities to photograph beautiful coastal landscapes such as Navagio Beach on Zakynthos. A rusting wreck sits on the golden sand of what’s nicknamed Smuggler’s Cove. Limestone cliffs hem the beach, and the water temperature remains pleasantly inviting until late in the year.

The shoulder season means opportunities to find late deals and optimal value on room rates. That brings chances to stay at resorts renowned for their luxury and outstanding cuisine. The Lindian Village (lindianvillage.gr) on Rhodes is an upscale resort styled like of a traditional village. With stylish private villas it provides access to Lardos Beach and is a 15-minute taxi ride west of Lindos.

4. See some surprising wildlife
When the crowds start to dissipate, the wildlife becomes far more abundant in Greece, and there is plenty of it to be found in Greece.

Whether you’d prefer to see the majestic water buffalo at Lake Kerkini or the incredible bird life in Prespes National Park – including 1400 pairs of Dalmatian pelicans – there is something for everyone. Not to mention the dolphins in Alonissos Marine Park. At Arcturos Sanctuary you can learn more about the brown bears and wolves that have been saved from captivity.

While it might not be the first reason for visiting the region, there is plenty to go wild about.

5. See the grape and olive harvests
Grapes tend to be harvested during September in northern Greece. Being present means that you can – if you want to – participate in the harvest. A time of celebration, picking and crushing grapes brings people together. Thessaloniki’s Kechris winery offers visitors an introduction to the winemaking process during a tour that includes tastings.

Olives are harvested on Crete from October onwards. Being present late in the season gives you opportunities to view gnarled trees being shaken so the fruit falls into nets below. Cretan olive oil is sold throughout the year from the Chania’s historic market hall, an easy stroll from the Venetian harbour.

The harvests don’t just stop there, either. There are crocuses in Kozani, chestnuts in Pelion and of course olives in Kalamata.

Autumn is a rewarding time to visit Greece.

 

Feature

5 under-the-radar Greek islands you need to discover now

Blessed with more than 6,000 islands – of which only some 200 are inhabited – glorious Greece has plenty of gorgeous sun-dazzled atolls where you can laze on golden sand beaches, lap up succulent food and enjoy spectacular cultural attractions – without the crowds. 

Here are the five under-the-radar Greek islands you need to discover now.

Alonissos
Sister atoll to Skopelos – the Sporades Island where feel-good movie Mamma Mia! was filmed – Alonissos’ pristine waters attract divers who come here to explore Greece’s first underwater museum near the uninhabited isle of Peristera.

Renowned since ancient times for its health-giving herbs, Alonissos is also a paradise for hikers who can explore a web of walking trails leading to mediaeval castles, ancient churches and highflung mountain villages.

Folegandros
Tucked between Paros and Santorini, this charming Cycladic Island has a timeless quality which is best discovered in the spectacular cliff top capital Chora, where sugar cube houses linked by winding alleys lead to the island’s centuries-old Panagia church, home to a silver icon that’s said to work miracles.

This unsung atoll surrounded by mirror-clear waters is also famed for fabulous food: must-try dishes here include matsata, handmade pasta served with rooster or rabbit in a rich tomato sauce.

Kalymnos

One of the largest islands in the Dodecanese Group, Kalymnos is known for its sponge harvesting trade – the only Greek island to be involved with it after the Second World War. However, it’s the water sports that the island is arguably better known for now with people flocking to Kalymnos for its scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain hiking and spelunking.

Walk around Pothia, the island’s capital, and you’ll soon be seduced by the cobbled streets and colourful buildings. Many of the grander mansions were owned by the sea sponge merchants of years gone by.

Serifos

One of the lesser known Cycladic islands, Serifos has much of the charm of its more popular neighbours, without the crowds. White and blue buildings dot the landscape and sit beautifully against the azure waters of the Aegean. There are some incredible beaches, too.

The capital of Serifos, Chora, is split into an upper neighbourhood (Pano) and a lower one (Kato) with the town seemingly  cascading down the side of the island.

Kythera

The birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, Kythera has inspired artists, poets and filmmakers for centuries. The southernmost of the Ionian Islands, Kythera boasts valleys that end on the seashore; mountainsides that can be green or rocky and barren; spring waters cascading down the slopes; wonderful beaches; picturesque little villages; and an architecture that blends the apparent Venetian influences with the style found in the south Peloponnese.

 

 

 

 

Feature

The 8 most Instagram-worthy beaches in Greece

From spectacular volcanic seascapes to pink sand beaches lapped by crystal waters and hidden coves where monk seals love to frolic, Greece has some of the world’s most photogenic beaches.


Whether you’re seeking dazzling strips of sand where you can photograph that perfect sunset or tropical-style beaches that provide a picturesque backdrop for your selfies, here are eight Greek beaches that are guaranteed to set your feed on fire. 

The lunar look-alike – Sarakiniko, Milos
Santorini might be the Greek poster child when it comes to calderas, but Milos’ moon-like Sarakiniko a short drive from the island’s capital Plaka is definitely a strong contender for the title of the country’s most picturesque volcanic beach. 

Insider’s tip: Set against a backdrop of perfect azure sea, this photogenic beach also has a half submerged shipwreck, which is guaranteed to add drama to your photos – get here at sunset when the colours reflected on the white rocks are stunning.

The romantic hideaway – Canal d’Amour, Corfu
With its azure waters cutting a narrow canal through high sandstone cliffs, Corfu’s ‘Channel of Love’ – which earned its name from the legend that says couples who swim here will stay in love forever – is one of this lush and lovely island’s most striking beaches.

Insider’s tip: Get up high – or use a drone – to get the best photos of this unique natural formation on Corfu’s northern coastline.

The pale pink beauty – Elafonissi, Crete
An hour and a half’s drive from Chania’s Venetian harbour and warren of shopping lanes, Elafonissi’s rose-pink sands separated from a sand-dune-studded peninsula by a shallow lagoon will have photographers in a frenzy.

Insider’s tip: The western side of the beach where you’ll find sunbeds and snack bars tends to get crowded. For best photos explore quiet coves further along the peninsula, but make sure not to disturb endangered loggerhead turtles that come here to nest here in summer. 

The celebrity-loved  hangout – Shipwreck beach, Zante
Featured on IG feeds around the globe, this scenic sand-lined beach hemmed in by high cliffs on Zante’s northwest coast earned its name from the MV Panagiotis, a shipwreck that was washed up here after a violent storm in the 1980’s. 

Insiders tip: Skinari is the starting point for half day boat excursions to Shipwreck beach, but you’ll get best photos from the clifftop Navagio viewpoint near Volimes village.

The local-known gem – Simos beach, Elafonissos
Reached via ferry from Pounta port near the Peloponnese town of Neapolis, this scenic strip of sand on the local-loved island of Elafonissos is actually two beaches – megalos (large) and mikros (small) – linked by a narrow band of grass-studded dunes. 

Insiders tip: Stay in Simos campsite which is right on the waterfront, and then get up early to take sumptuous sunrise photos when there’s no one else about. 

The scarlet stunner – Red beach, Santorini
Known for those spectacular caldera views, sultry Santorini also has one of the most photogenic beaches in Greece. Close to the ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri this striking beach, framed by rust-red cliffs and strewn with brick-red pebbles, is a rainbow of colour which contrasts vividly with the sparkling waters below. 

Insiders tip: Your feed will fly if you fill it with photos taken just before sunset, when colours are most vivid. 

The flamingo’s hangout – Agios Prokopios, Naxos
Backed by a small lagoon where pretty pink flamingos strut their stuff in spring, this strikingly lovely four-kilometre-long strip of golden sand lapped by mirror-clear waters was named Naxos’ most popular nightlife resort, which is within easy strolling distance. 

Insider’s tip: For the best shots make a beeline for the chapel of Agia Anna overlooking the kokkini limni (red lake) salt pans.

The exotic haven – Vai beach, Crete
A tropical paradise surrounded by Europe’s largest palm forest, this picture-perfect beach which featured in the 1970’s Bounty bar adverts lies 25 kilometres east of Sitia, a Venetian-castle-topped town renowned for its traditional tavernas serving local specialities.

Insider’s tip: Once you’ve filled your feed with tropical beach pics head over to photograph Toplou, a stunningly picturesque 17th century monastery close by.

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Editor’s letter

Action speaks louder than words

It’s been another turbulent month for the travel industry. We began June with Portugal snatched from the green list, but ended it with 16 new countries and island groups added, including the Balearics and a host of Caribbean destinations. The update is incredibly welcome but, with so many destinations on the newly introduced green watchlist – and entry restrictions of course a factor –  it does not, on its own, deliver the meaningful restart of international travel that the industry needs.

That’s why the Travel Day of Action was vital – and why we must continue to push the government every chance we get. The day, an amazing achievement, saw about 800 industry professionals come together in London – plus groups in Belfast and Edinburgh. But the battle, of course, is nowhere near being won. ABTA continues to push for the government to commit to a package of tailored financial support for the sector, which recognises that the travel industry’s recovery will be slower than that in other sectors of the economy.

In this issue, we use an interactive map to take a look at the entry restrictions to some of the new green list destinations, head on a whirlwind tour of the Caribbean, plus consider some of the UK destinations that will satisfy your customers’ wanderlust. Plus, there’s all the usual news from ABTA and the wider industry.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Contact

Get in touch with the team

ABTA Magazine is produced by Waterfront Publishing on behalf of ABTA, The Travel Association.


Contacts

Editorial
Anthony Pearce, director
anthony@waterfront-publishing.com

info@abtamag.com
020 3865 9360

Design
DJMWeb, The Studio

Sub-editors
Nathaniel Cramp, Emily Eastman, Alice Snape

Sales and partnerships

Sam Ballard, director
sam@waterfront-publishing.com

Bryan Johnson, senior sales manager
bryan@waterfront-publishing.com
0203 865 9338
075 3270 9734


About ABTA

Waterfront Publishing is an independent publisher based in central London. It has an in-house magazine, Cruise Adviser, which is aimed at the travel trade. It has also produced magazines on behalf of ABTATravelzoo; and Emerald Waterways. Its design agency The Studio by Waterfront offers copywriting, proofreading and design for print, digital, advertising and branding.

Get in touch

Waterfront Publishing
Hop Exchange,
Southwark Street,
London, SE1 1TY
info@waterfront-publishing.com
020 3865 9360

Does green mean go?

Entry requirements for the destinations added to the green list on June 30

Anguilla

The dreamy Caribbean island of Anguilla was added to the UK’s green watchlist on June 30. Anyone wishing to travel to the British Overseas Territory, including children, will need to apply for approval from the government’s health team by completing an online form on its Covid-19 website.

From July 1, travellers who have been fully vaccinated at least three weeks before arrival will not need to quarantine and will not need to be tested on arrival, but they will need to show evidence of a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test taken three to five days before arrival. Accepted proof of vaccination status includes an NHS Covid Pass or an NHS letter. An NHS appointment card will not be accepted.

Non-vaccinated travellers will need to self-isolate for 10 days in approved accommodation. They must also take a Covid-19 test on arrival and show a negative RT-PCR test taken three to five days before arrival.

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Grenada

Traveller Health Declaration form must be completed 24 hours before arriving in the sunny Spice Isle of Grenada, now on the UK’s green watchlist.

All arrivals into Grenada over the age of five need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival into the country.

Vaccinated travellers need to show proof of vaccination status, with the second vaccine being administered more than 14 days before their arrival date. They will then need to take a PCR test on arrival (paid for in advance on pay.gov.gd) and quarantine in their hotel for 48 hours while waiting for a negative result. Then they will be able to move freely around the island.

Non-vaccinated travellers will need to quarantine for seven days in their hotel. On day five, they will need to take a second PCR test and if the result is negative, they can travel freely around Grenada.

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Malta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British holiday favourite Malta is one of the most recent additions to the government’s green list and was the only one not to be placed on the green watchlist, a list of countries at risk of moving from green to amber.

Only fully vaccinated travellers can travel to Malta from the UK and they must have been jabbed more than 14 days before travel.

Acceptable proof of vaccination status includes the NHS Covid Pass letter and digital Covid passes, including the NHS app and the vaccination certificate in digital or downloaded PDF form.

Children aged from five to 11 can travel to Malta if they are accompanied by vaccinated adults with proof of a negative PCR test carried out up to 72 hours before arrival in Malta. Children under five are not required to get tested. Anyone aged 12 and over will need proof of vaccination.

Everyone must complete a Public Health Travel Declaration Form before departure.

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Antigua and Barbuda

Open to tourists, paradise island Antigua and its little sister island Barbuda are currently on the UK’s green watchlist.

All arriving passengers must have a negative RT-PCR test taken up to seven days before their flight. Children under the age of 12 do not need to take a test. All arriving passengers must complete a Health Declaration Form upon arrival in Antigua and Barbuda.

Visitors will receive medical screenings and have their temperature taken at the airport, and may be asked to take a test on arrival, or at their hotel, as determined by the health authorities. This test costs $100 (£72). The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office warns of “long waiting times on arrival” at the airport.

Regardless of vaccination status, tourists can normally travel straight to certified tourism accommodation after screening and be allowed to move around the country freely.

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British Virgin Islands

Now on the UK’s green watchlist, the British Virgin Islands is giving a warm welcome to the fully vaccinated who received their second jab at least 14 days before arrival.

The double-jabbed will not need to take a test on arrival or quarantine, but they will need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken up to five days before arrival, as well as proof of vaccination status in the form of an NHS Covid Pass or NHS letter.

They will also need to buy a BVI Gateway Travel Authorisation Certificate for $35 (£25).

Unvaccinated children aged five to 17 travelling with fully vaccinated parents will be tested on arrival, and will need to return to a testing centre for a further test on day four.

The rules are tougher for unvaccinated travellers who will need to buy a Secure BVI Gateway Travel Authorisation Certificate for $175 (£126); show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken three to five days before arrival; take a test upon arrival; quarantine for seven days; and take another test on day seven.

Partially vaccinated (received one dose or received both doses less than 14 days before arrival) will need to do the same as unvaccinated travellers, but will quarantine for just four days and must take a test on day four.

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Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands (which include Majorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca) were recently added to the UK’s green watchlist.

Spain has recently tightened its entry requirements for Brits visiting Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics, due to fears over the Delta variant of Covid-19.

British travellers entering the Balearics will now need to present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 48 hours of travel or show proof of vaccination (an NHS Covid Pass or NHS letter). Anyone using vaccination status needs to have received their second jab at least 14 days before travel. These rules apply to all Brits aged 12 and over.

A pre-travel declaration form also needs to be completed before travel.

The rest of Spain is still on the UK’s amber list.

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Barbados

Tourist hotspot Barbados was recently added to the UK’s green watchlist, meaning that it’s at risk of suddenly being moved back to amber.

Upon arrival, all travellers must present a valid negative PCR test taken up to three days (72 hours) before travel. Children under the age of five are exempt from taking a test.

Vaccinated travellers must show a vaccination certificate (an NHS Covid Pass or NHS letter) showing they were vaccinated more than 14 days before their arrival date; take a PCR test on arrival at the airport or at an approved hotel and then stay at the approved hotel for 24 to 48 hours until receiving the test result. Once a negative result is received, visitors are free to explore the island.

Unvaccinated visitors must stay at an approved hotel for five days and will be unable to leave their room to use the hotel’s facilities, such as swimming pools and restaurants, during that time. They may also be required to wear an electronic tracking bracelet. On day five, another PCR test must be taken and the result will take around 24 to 48 hours to come back. Once a negative result is received, travellers can use the hotel facilities and travel around the island.

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Bermuda

Another newbie to the government’s green watchlist, Bermuda has different entry requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers.

All visitors must apply for Travel Authorisation by completing this form one to three days before departure. This costs $75 (£54) and includes the cost of all Covid-19 testing in Bermuda.

Anyone aged two and above is required to take a PCR test up to four days before arrival, and a negative result must be presented upon arrival in Bermuda. All visitors aged two and above will also be required to take a PCR test at the airport.

Vaccinated travellers can enjoy their hotel facilities while waiting up to 24 hours for their PCR test results. Once a negative result is received, travellers can move freely around the island. However, visitors must take their own temperature twice a day and report the results via the online travel authorisation portal for the first 14 days. They must also take Covid-19 tests on day four, day eight and day 14.

Non-immunised travellers need to quarantine for 14 days at a designated quarantine hotel at their own expense. They also need to take their temperature twice a day and report in the same way, along with taking tests on day four, day eight and day 13. After receiving negative results on day 14, guests can leave quarantine to explore the island and begin their holiday.

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Turks and Caicos

Recently added to the UK’s green watchlist, Turks and Caicos doesn’t have such tough restrictions in place as many of its Caribbean counterparts.

A free TCI Assured Travel Authorisation form needs to be completed by all travellers before visiting this idyllic beach destination.

Travellers also need to complete a PCR test no more than five days before their arrival date on the islands, and results should be uploaded to the TCI Assured portal. Visitors also need to take out travel insurance with Covid-19 cover.

Unlike several other Caribbean countries, no further Covid-19 tests are required once granted entry and there are no daily health checks.

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Madeira

Non-vaccinated travellers no longer need to quarantine when visiting Madeira, which was recently added to the UK’s green watchlist.

The rules contrast with mainland Portugal which announced that Brits will need to quarantine if they have not been double vaccinated.

All travellers aged 12 and over need to complete a traveller questionnaire before visiting the Portuguese archipelago. A RT-PCR test needs to be taken 72 hours before travel and the result uploaded to the questionnaire.

Testing on arrival will not be required for double-jabbed tourists visiting Madeira, but they will need to show proof of their vaccination status.

Non-vaccinated tourists will need to present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, or they can take a free PCR test at the airport on arrival with results in six to 12 hours. They will need to quarantine until a negative result comes through.

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Editor’s letter

More frustrations for the industry

Hello and welcome to the June edition of ABTA Magazine. It continues to be a troubling time for the travel industry. Compared to the seemingly endless winter months, much has changed for the better: international holidays have restarted thanks to the traffic lights system; the staycation market is booming now the sun is finally shining; cruise ships have set sail again for the first time in 15 months; and the UK’s vaccination rollout continues at pace – all while the overwhelming majority of countries are now far from their Covid-19 peaks.

But challenges and frustrations remain for the industry – exacerbated by the removal of Portugal from the green list. Even before that, there were disagreements over holidays to amber destinations and concerns over lack of countries on the green list – as our world map demonstrates, confusion reigns when green doesn’t necessarily mean ‘go’.

As ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer has said: “The government now needs to come forward with tailored financial support for the sector, which recognises that the travel industry’s recovery will be slower than that in other sectors of the economy, and takes account of the unique challenges businesses in the sector are facing.”

In this issue, we have detailed guides to Iceland and Portugal, taking you off the tourist trail, plus a look at Gibraltar – the first nation in the world to be fully vaccinated. We also have interviews with Contiki, which is rolling out its sustainability plan, plus the Coach Tourism Association, who talk us through the return of an often-overlooked holiday type.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Read our guide to the Maldives

Also out now is the ABTA Magazine Guide to the Maldives. White sands, clear skies and turquoise waters –  it has long been held up as the very definition of paradise. But, sparsely populated and reliably warm, it is also the perfect destination for a post-Covid break. As we explore in this guide, there are luxury resorts in abundance, but there is much more to the Maldives than high-end hotels: from colourful corals and a wealth of marine wildlife to fascinating culture and traditions.

Contact

Get in touch with the team

ABTA Magazine is produced by Waterfront Publishing on behalf of ABTA, The Travel Association.


Contacts

Editorial
Anthony Pearce, director
anthony@waterfront-publishing.com

info@abtamag.com
020 3865 9360

Design
DJMWeb, The Studio

Sub-editors
Nathaniel Cramp, Emily Eastman, Alice Snape

Sales and partnerships

Sam Ballard, director
sam@waterfront-publishing.com

Bryan Johnson, senior sales manager
bryan@waterfront-publishing.com
0203 865 9338
075 3270 9734


About ABTA

Waterfront Publishing is an independent publisher based in central London. It has an in-house magazine, Cruise Adviser, which is aimed at the travel trade. It has also produced magazines on behalf of ABTATravelzoo; and Emerald Waterways. Its design agency The Studio by Waterfront offers copywriting, proofreading and design for print, digital, advertising and branding.

Get in touch

Waterfront Publishing
Hop Exchange,
Southwark Street,
London, SE1 1TY
info@waterfront-publishing.com
020 3865 9360

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All of the lights

The story of the traffic lights system – told in 10 countries across the world, green to amber to red.

Gibraltar

Now the only quarantine-free sunny destination available for Britons (on their return to the UK), Gibraltar’s will see a huge tourism boost this June, thanks to its place on the green list.

People arriving in the UK from green list countries, such as Australia, will need to take a pre-departure test in that country. On or before the second day after arriving in the UK, they will need to take a PCR test, but will not need to quarantine – unless they receive a positive test.

Gibraltar is the only country in the world whose adult population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Travellers who have only been in countries or territories on the green list in the preceding 14 days must book a free  lateral flow test before arriving in Gibraltar. The test must take place within 24 hours of arrival. Those remaining in Gibraltar for more than seven days must also take a second test on day five. They do not need to provide evidence of vaccination, or self-isolate.

See our feature here, plus there’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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Grenada

Like the rest of the Caribbean, Grenada has failed to make the UK’s green list, instead being placed on the amber list. This is despite the fact that the country has had just 161 cases of Covid since the onset of the pandemic and has reported no new cases since February.

Dr Clarice Modeste Curwen, minister for tourism, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Grenada was not added to the UK’s green list. It’s a huge blow for both holidaymakers and the travel and tourism sector.

“We’re proud to have successfully started rebuilding our tourism sector and welcoming back travellers from overseas while continuing to sustain no new cases of the virus, with 65% of visitors already vaccinated prior to arrival.

“We have spared no resources and implemented a stringent, rigorous and successful programme to control any spread of the virus, including the implementation and enforcement of non-pharmacological protocols and vaccinating 90 per cent of hotel workers in the tourism sector. In line with the UK government requirement, we also carry out regular genomic sequencing to check for variants.”

People arriving from amber list countries will have to quarantine for 10 days at home. They will have to take a pre-departure test, then a PCR test on days two and eight, but there will be an option for “test to release” in which they can end self-isolation early if they test negative on day five by purchasing an extra PCR test.

Since May 1, travellers providing proof of full vaccination will only be required to quarantine for up to 48 hours, pending a negative result from a PCR test, administered on entry, and paid in advance. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.

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Malta

There was a great deal of speculation that Malta would make the initial green list and then the early June update. As it stands, Malta remains on the UK’s amber list, despite low Covid cases in the country. In the seven days prior to June 3, there were only seven infections per 100,000 people reported in Malta.

People arriving from amber list countries will have to quarantine for 10 days at home. They will have to take a pre-departure test, then a PCR test on days two and eight, but there will be an option for “test to release” in which they can end self-isolation early if they test negative on day five by purchasing an extra PCR test.

Malta has its own traffic lights system, with the UK will rated amber. This means all passengers travelling to Malta from the UK are required to have evidence of a negative PCR test, dated within 72 hours prior to arrival, before boarding flights to Malta. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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New Zealand

Like Australia, New Zealand may be on the UK’s green list, but its borders are currently closed to most arrivals.

People arriving in the UK from green list countries, such as Australia, will need to take a pre-departure test in that country. On or before the second day after arriving in the UK, they will need to take a PCR test, but will not need to quarantine – unless they receive a positive test. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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Australia

Australia may be on the UK’s green list, but its borders are currently closed to most arrivals.

Travellers who have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more can travel by air to Australia and will not require an exemption. There is information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website. However, the borders of New Zealand are closed to nearly all travellers.

People arriving in the UK from green list countries, such as Australia, will need to take a pre-departure test in that country. On or before the second day after arriving in the UK, they will need to take a PCR test, but will not need to quarantine – unless they receive a positive test. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

 

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Iceland

Iceland – widely considered to have handled the coronavirus pandemic very well – made it on to the UK’s green initial list of countries. It reported just eight infections per 100,000 people in the seven days prior to June 3 and has vaccinated an estimated 35 per cent of the population.

People arriving in the UK from green list countries will need to take a pre-departure test in that country. On or before the second day after arriving in the UK, they will need to take a PCR test, but will not need to quarantine on their return – unless they receive a positive test.

Tourists entering Iceland from the UK must demonstrate they have either been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or previously recovered from Covid-19 infection. All travellers must pre-register before arrival.

When flying into Iceland without a certificate of vaccination, visitors must present a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of departure to Iceland, then take two Covid-19 tests, one on arrival and another five to six days later. Travellers must quarantine between tests, until you have the results (full guidance can be found on the Iceland website).

Read our guide to what’s new and alternative in Iceland here, plus there’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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Portugal

Portugal including the Azores and Madeira made it on to the UK’s green initial list of countries – providing a much-needed boost for the travel industry. Sadly, from June 8, the country will be placed on the amber list.

People arriving from amber list countries will have to quarantine for 10 days at home. They will have to take a pre-departure test, then a PCR test on days two and eight, but there will be an option for “test to release” in which they can end self-isolation early if they test negative on day five by purchasing an extra PCR test.

Tourists from the UK are able to travel to the country but must have had a negative PCR result within the previous 72 hours.

According to Cirium, more than 1,800 flights are scheduled to depart from the UK to Portugal in June – which accounts for almost 345,000 seats available. Seven airlines are scheduled to operate flights from the UK to Portugal in June, including Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, TAP Portugal, Tui Airways, Wizz Air UK and Jet2.

Read our guide to what’s new and alternative in Portugal here, plus there’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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Turkey

Turkey is currently on the UK’s list of red list countries. Those who been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days will only be allowed to enter the UK if they are a British or Irish national, or have residence rights in the UK. Before travel to England, travellers must take a Covid-19 test, book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 Covid tests, and complete a passenger locator form.

Turkey was one of eight countries to which Tui recently cancelled trips citing ‘ongoing uncertainty’. The other countries affected are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Egypt, Cape Verde, Morocco, Tunisia and Bulgaria.

Although the Turkish government has said it will allow Britons to travel for summer holidays without a vaccination certificate or negative Covid test, the Foreign Office advices against all but essential travel to the country – so that does not include holidays. Travelling against Foreign Office advice will nullify most travel insurance.

Despite its troubles in containing the virus, numbers are falling in the country – with cases at 13 per cent of their peak, according to Reuters. It reported 66 infections per 100,000 people in the seven days prior to June 1. It has vaccinated about 18 per cent of the population, according to some reports. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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USA

The USA didn’t make it on the initial green list, despite speculation about air corridors to encourage business travel, instead being marked amber.

People arriving from amber list countries will have to quarantine for 10 days at home. They will have to take a pre-departure test, then a PCR test on days two and eight, but there will be an option for “test to release” in which they can end self-isolation early if they test negative on day five by purchasing an extra PCR test.

Since March 2020, it has not been possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, or, since January 2021, South Africa, within the previous 14 days. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

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Spain

Spain, the most popular holiday destination for Britons, failed to make it on to the UK’s green initial list of countries – instead making it on to the amber list.

The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands. Therefore, holidaymakers who are booked on a package holiday to travel imminently should be given the option of an alternative holiday or a full refund, unless  travelling to the Canary Islands.

People arriving from amber list countries will have to quarantine for 10 days at home. They will have to take a pre-departure test, then a PCR test on days two and eight, but there will be an option for “test to release” in which they can end self-isolation early if they test negative on day five by purchasing an extra PCR test.

Entry restrictions and testing requirements for arrivals from the UK to Spain no longer apply. However, travellers from the UK should be prepared to present evidence of a negative test if they have travelled to a country on Spain’s list of ‘risk countries’ in the 14 days prior to travel. There’s more on ABTA’s travel hub.

Cases are falling, with 63 infections per 100,000 people reported last seven days prior to June 3. According to reports, about 19.6 per cent of the country has been vaccinated.

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News

ABTA pens open letter urging for government support

The letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Transport asks for tailored support for the outbound travel sector


ABTA has written an open letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, urging them to support the outbound travel sector by providing tailored financial support to businesses and opening up travel by adding more countries onto the green list and removing quarantine for those travelling to amber list countries who have been vaccinated.

The letter comes as businesses face increased furlough costs and business rates payments this week (from July 1) and as the government reviews the requirements for international travel. A full copy of the letter is below.

Dear Chancellor, Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing during what would normally be the busiest trading period for most businesses in UK outbound travel. Instead the industry is struggling with a deepening crisis.

It is this time of year when most travel businesses make their money. The critical summer weeks account for around two thirds of annual income for many travel agencies and tour operators – vital revenue that carries those businesses through the rest of the year. But not this year. We’ve already lost a sizeable part of the season and ongoing restrictions on travel, combined with the pending rise in furlough and business rates payments, mean that many travel businesses, particularly small to medium-sized companies, are teetering on the edge of a financial cliff.

This devastation can still be avoided, if the government takes urgent action to support businesses through the crisis, and there are two things we are asking your respective departments to address immediately:

Firstly, more than anything, travel companies want to be able to trade their way out of this crisis. It is the government’s own restrictions and measures that are preventing businesses sending customers overseas. While we accept that that public health is the government’s overriding priority, we believe the traffic light system and the UK’s high level of vaccination set the right framework to allow for increased foreign travel now, in a safe and risk-managed way.

The additions of some popular holiday destinations to the green or green watch lists this week, while welcome, does not come anywhere near the restart of travel needed to save jobs and businesses and kickstart our recovery. More countries need to be added to the green list, and the government also needs to look urgently at relaxing the rules around quarantine for amber list countries for fully vaccinated travellers.

Ministers have been rightly proud of the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout. Yet, as other countries, many with still lower rates of vaccination than us, begin to reopen their borders and enable their citizens to travel again, it is time to capitalise fully on the success of our own vaccination programme.

We are encouraged that the government has confirmed an intention to relax rules for fully vaccinated people visiting amber destinations, and to remove advice against travelling to these places. However, these changes must be implemented quickly – before the end of July – if they are to make a meaningful difference. A vague promise to do so “later in the summer” will not be enough to save jobs and businesses in the travel industry.

Secondly, we urge the Chancellor to commit to providing a tailored package of financial support for travel companies, including extension of furlough support and business rates relief at current levels, which are currently due to rise this week (July 1), along with a dedicated grant scheme to help them get through the very difficult weeks and months ahead.

While paying 10 per cent of furlough contributions and a third of business rates may well be affordable for those businesses who have been able to trade during the pandemic and re-open since lockdown lifted, it is a terrifying prospect for many of our members. Without the opportunity to earn income since the beginning of the crisis, and with travel still severely restricted, these costs will be crippling for businesses in the outbound travel industry.

The gradual removal of support across the wider economy is based on parallel giving back of freedoms, and lifting of restrictions, which will enable businesses to trade again successfully. The Prime Minister, and many other cabinet ministers, have publicly acknowledged that this process will not be followed for international travel for many months to come. Yet we hear nothing from the government in terms of a plan for ongoing support, only the repeated message that the aviation industry has received £7billion in support. This support, as you say yourselves, was given to the aviation industry, not to travel agents or tour operators.

We are regularly hearing from travel agents and tour operators who have spent decades building up a profitable and viable business, only to see their life’s work wiped out, leaving them with heartbreaking, but unavoidable, decisions to cut staff. Our latest analysis shows that the industry has seen 195,000 jobs already lost or put at risk. This figure will increase notably in the coming weeks in the absence of government action.

This summer season is the most important ever for the outbound travel industry. We are asking you to act now to save jobs and businesses and to set the industry on the road to recovery.

News

Members make media appearances to discuss the need for assistance

ABTA Press Office helps out as members appear on prime time news shows to talk about the current state of the industry


ABTA Members have been very active in the media over the last few weeks, conducting TV and radio interviews around the current state of the industry and the ever more pressing need for targeted assistance. The media were delighted with their contributions, many of which were facilitated by the ABTA Press Office, and their passionate and eloquent testimonies made for powerful and compelling viewing and listening.

Members appeared on BBC prime time news, Sky News, Channel 4 and ITV Anglia, as well as the extremely prestigious Radio 4 Today programme and Radio 5 Live. In addition, many local radio stations sought their views and Council of Region Chairs have been especially prominent in fighting the corner of local ABTA members, work which can sometimes go unregarded and is carried out without any financial reward,

A special mention must go to Jackie Steadman of Travel Time World, Richard Slater of Henbury Travel, Marc Vincent of Newmarket holidays, Nick Lee of Broadlands Travel and those members who made themselves available in advance for interview on the Travel Day of Action. ABTA appreciates their efforts, particularly when the media can often ask for interviews at inconvenient times of the day.

ABTA

Ask the experts

Have a burning question you can’t find the answer to? Be it travel trends, a regulatory riddle or destination dilemmas, send us your query for an expert response


When I take on new staff, one of the first things I impress on them is the importance of telling customers about Foreign Office advice. It would make my life easier if you could set out for me just why it is so important.

Advice from the Foreign Office – now called the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – is one of the most important sources of information and guidance in the travel industry. FCDO travel advice is put together with input from numerous different agencies and is the best source for information such as entry requirements, which countries can and often do change, sometimes at fairly short notice. If a customer is not aware of visa requirements, or in the current environment, testing or vaccination requirements, they would almost certainly be prevented from boarding their flight and be hit with the subsequent cancellation charges. If you had not informed them of these requirements, or more pertinently where to find them, they could look to you for a reimbursement.

Rather than you having to be an expert on every country’s regulations, it is much more sensible to simply direct customers to the relevant FCDO travel advice pages. It is also a Code of Conduct requirement that you do so. The FCDO advice will also always direct customers to the official source for obtaining visas. This is important, as if you simply do an online search, a range of companies with very official looking websites will pop up offering visas for a fee, when they are in fact generally available for a much lower charge or even for free.

Other important issues such as local laws and customs will be covered in the advice, these can vary significantly from the UK and, although local police may give extra leeway to foreign visitors, ignorance is not a very convincing defence for breaking laws or upsetting local sensibilities and could result in very serious consequences. The FCDO advice will also give information on health requirements and refer to the best sources for more detailed health advice.

The FCDO can, on occasion, advise against travel to a country or in some instances parts of a country. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this is currently true for the majority of countries worldwide. In a more normal year this decision would be driven by concern for the safety of British nationals due to factors such as war, terrorist threats and political unrest and, of course, these concerns are also still ongoing even during a pandemic. It is extremely important that customers follow this advice, it is given for very good reasons and, if ignored, customers will be travelling uninsured as insurers will take the view that they invalidated their cover. ABTA and our members also take the view that we will not send customers to a country contrary to FCDO advice and will offer customers three options: to defer their date of travel, change their destination or get a full refund.

So, in short, FCDO advice is an essential and useful tool to enable your customers to make a properly informed choice when travelling and takes an awful lot of pressure off you knowing that your customers have all the right information they need as they head off overseas.

Daryl Nurthen, member support manager

ABTA

Meet the team

Each issue we speak to a different ABTA employee about their work. This time: Rob Haworth, customer information manager


I first realised that my future belonged in the travel industry during my gap year between school and university, when I went off on a working holiday to Australia and then on to New Zealand and South East Asia. My career in travel started after completing my Tourism Management degree at Sheffield Hallam University, when I joined Cosmos and Monarch Holidays as a holiday rep.

I was posted to the beautiful islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, home to the unique and stylish architecture of César Manrique, where I was responsible for the resorts of Corralejo and Playa Blanca. After 10 months of Canarian hospitality, my next adventure took me to Sharm el-Sheik, where I worked with our local handling agents’ team, Flash Tours. They were such an amazingly hospitable bunch, I was very sad to leave them behind after a year as I returned to the UK, determined to embark on a more settled life and career.

April 2010 had a seismic impact on the travel industry. Just after I started work as a travel consultant with Flight Centre, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, bringing a halt to air travel to and from the UK for over a week. At the time it seemed like a significant crisis, little did we know what was to come a decade later! I spent the best part of eight years with Flight Centre, working across its direct customer brands of FCBT, Retail and eventually First & Business. The role of a Flight Centre agent was to ensure that your customers would be so ‘wowed’ by your service that they would come back and book future holidays through you, but also to trust you enough to book their business travel through you as well. So, a very high standard of customer service and travel knowledge was essential.

I eventually decided to move on from the life of an agent and sales and make use of my now 10 years of frontline customer service skills elsewhere, which is when I joined ABTA as a customer support manager. Recently we changed our name to the Customer Information Team, to more accurately reflect the role we play in supporting the ABTA brand.

We are a small team of eight and our main role is to help and give advice to our members’ customers on any travel related questions they may have, or with disputes that may have arisen between the two parties. We do this in a couple of different ways, online and also on the phone, as many customers prefer the ‘face to face’ approach. If they have a dispute already registered with us via the ABTA complaints portal, we will then be able to guide them through our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

No day is ever the same in the Customer Information Team, which is what makes it so exciting and enjoyable to work in. As many of the general public view ABTA with a great deal of trust and as the prominent advisory body for the travel industry, we also receive calls from customers with non-ABTA related problems. Although we can’t offer them the use of our ADR scheme, we will still offer the best advice we can for them – which includes the recommendation to book with an ABTA member and many tell us that, in future, they will always do so.

ABTA’s virtual conferences, training and webinars

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ABTA has postponed its normal events schedule and is running a series of free webinars, new practical training events and one-day conferences virtually. These virtual events are designed to help travel businesses navigate the challenges of the coronavirus crisis and be prepared for the restart of travel.

Visit abta.com/abtaevents to find out more and register.


 

New training days

ABTA has launched a series of new virtual training days offering practical guidance in key areas for travel businesses of all sizes. ABTA members and partners benefit from discounted rates.

Complaints Handling Training for Travel

July 8
10:00-15:15
ABTA’s popular complaints handling training will give you the crucial skills to help you deal with complaints effectively across a variety of channels including email, phone and social media. As travel starts to unlock, attend to refresh your skills and ensure you are prepared for the restart. Find out more

An Essential Guide to Restarting Travel

September 8
10:00-15:30
This virtual training day offers practical guidance for tour operators and travel agents. Understand the impact of Covid-19 on your legal obligations and how to prepare for the restart of travel. This interactive training will equip you with the tools you need to understand the key legal issues and protect your business and customers as travel unlocks. Find out more


 

Free webinars

ABTA’s webinars are delivered in collaboration with trusted ABTA Partners and offer business support, advice and guidance to help travel businesses through the coronavirus crisis. They are free for ABTA members and partners.

Financial Resilience and Funding Solutions for Travel Businesses

July 21
14:30-16:30

Join this webinar to get the latest practical advice on the funding solutions available to travel businesses. Understand the options available to you and what’s best for your business including Government support and strategies for approaching lenders. Get advice and solutions on the practical steps you can take to remain financially resilient as travel restarts, including preparing your business for M&A activity, restructuring options and working capital optimisation. Find out more


Webinars on demand: You can access recordings of our previous webinars here.