Government pumps £283m into public transport and provides £50 bike repair vouchers for cyclists

Roads, railways, buses and trams are to receive a £283 million funding boost and half a million bike repair vouchers will be made available as part of plans to get Britain moving again during the coronavirus crisis.

The Transport Secretary said today the cash injection, divided into £254m for buses and £29m for trams and light rail, would increase both frequency and capacity of services while ensuring there is enough space on vehicles to allow for social distancing. 

Grant Shapps also announced that up to 500,000 vouchers, worth £50 each, would be provided to help cyclists ‘drag bikes out of retirement’ and get more people travelling on two wheels.

Buses will receive a £254m boost to increase frequency and capacity of services. Pictured: A bus driver wearing a face mask drives over Waterloo Bridge

Grant Shapps, pictured today, said he wants to ensure there is enough space on public transport vehicles to allow for social distancing

Grant Shapps, pictured today, said he wants to ensure there is enough space on public transport vehicles to allow for social distancing

The Transport Secretary said a cycle voucher scheme would help half a million people 'drag bikes out of retirement'. Pictured: A cyclist wearing a mask on Waterloo Bridge this week

The Transport Secretary said a cycle voucher scheme would help half a million people ‘drag bikes out of retirement’. Pictured: A cyclist wearing a mask on Waterloo Bridge this week

The money for public transport will be spent on making adjustments to vehicles, signage, deep cleaning and the provision of hand sanitiser.

In addition, 3,400 people, including British Transport Police officers and Network Rail staff, have been deployed at stations to make sure passengers follow the social distancing guidance put in place.

Light rail funding will also support services in Sheffield, Nottingham, Tyne and Wear, Manchester and the West Midlands.

A personalised information service has also been introduced to inform people about disruption and crowding on services.

It comes after the Department for Transport announced earlier this month that £225m will go towards creating pop-up and permanent cycle lanes across England to encourage people to use bikes instead of public transport when necessary.

Mr Shapps, who will lead the daily Downing Street press conference this afternoon, said: ‘To make sure people can travel safely when they need to, we are increasing capacity on buses and light rail, as well as helping local authorities fast-track plans to support cyclists and pedestrians, further reducing pressure on our transport network.

‘These measures will help keep passengers safe now, but we must also prepare for what comes next.

‘Strengthening vital road and railway connections, as well as encouraging cycling and walking, will be essential to our ambition to level up the country, secure a green legacy, and kickstart regional economies, as we build out of Covid-19 and look to the future.’

On the coupons, he added: ‘Previously, we announced the introduction of a scheme to bring bicycles back into a roadworthy condition, relieving the pressure on public transport and improving the nation’s health.

A cyclist rides along a newly created bicycle lane by Transport for London on Park Lane in London

A cyclist rides along a newly created bicycle lane by Transport for London on Park Lane in London

‘Today, I can provide the detail of the new £50 bicycle maintenance voucher. Available from next month, the scheme will help up to half a million people drag bikes out of retirement, speed up the cycling revolution and help individuals become fitter and healthier and reducing air pollution, which remains a hidden killer.’

The voucher scheme first came to light earlier this month, but the number being made available, and their value, was only revealed at today’s briefing. 

The announcement comes amid a surge in sales for bikes during lockdown, with one business owner telling the Guardian: ‘It’s been the busiest period of trading I’ve had in 27 years’. 

Andy Rackstraw, owner of Saddle Safari in south Buckinghamshire, said his team have been working through the night to meet demand for its products and services, while following social distancing guidelines to keep staff safe.

Some 300 people are on a waiting list for repairs to their bikes, while sales of new builds in April were three times as high as 12 months earlier.  



Cyprus will ban British tourists from entering the country when it reopens to holidaymakers in June

Cyprus will ban British tourists from entering the country when it reopens to holidaymakers on June 9 amid fears over UK’s coronavirus death toll

  • Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said airports would reopen on June 9
  • Phased reopening will initially allow passengers to fly from about 20 countries
  • British tourists account for a third of arrivals but are not included on initial lists
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Cyprus will reopen its airports to commercial flights but British tourists will be banned from entering the country.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that airports would reopen to commercial flights from June 9 after nearly three months of lockdown. 

The phased reopening will initially allow passengers to fly to the small EU state from about 20 countries. 

Britain and Russia are the island’s two largest tourist markets but both are not on the initial lists amid concerns coronavirus has not been sufficiently contained in those countries.  

The phased reopening will initially allow passengers to fly to the small EU state from about 20 countries

British tourists account for a third of all arrivals in Cyprus.  

A second phase of easing restrictions will begin on June 20, the minister said after a cabinet meeting that agreed the measures.

During the first phase, visitors will need to have tested negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of arriving in Cyprus with a certificate to prove it. 

Cypriot residents can take the test upon arrival in Cyprus and will have to self-isolate until the result is known. 

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that airports would reopen to commercial flights from June 9 after nearly three months of lockdown

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that airports would reopen to commercial flights from June 9 after nearly three months of lockdown

From June 20 people arriving from ‘Category A’ countries – a list of 13 nations including Greece, Germany and Malta – will not need to present a health certificate proving that they are not infected.

A certificate proving a negative coronavirus test will still be necessary for tourists arriving from Category B countries. 

Category B is a list of six nations including Switzerland and Poland. 

Karousos said commercial flights from countries not on the lists will not be allowed unless they are repatriation flights for Cypriot residents returning home during this initial period.

Cyprus issued a commercial flight ban on March 21 as part of its lockdown measures, which – alongside a rigorous testing period – have seen new cases fall into the low single digits daily recently. 

Cyprus issued a commercial flight ban on March 21 as part of its lockdown measures

Cyprus issued a commercial flight ban on March 21 as part of its lockdown measures

Other countries in the first phase include Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Slovakia and Lithuania.  

The other countries in Category B are Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.  

Tourism contributes about 15 per cent of Cyprus’ GDP and a record 3.97 million tourists visited last year. 

Cypriot residents can take the test upon arrival in Cyprus and will have to self-isolate until the result is known

Cypriot residents can take the test upon arrival in Cyprus and will have to self-isolate until the result is known

Authorities expect arrivals will be down by 70 per cent in 2020.   

On Wednesday Greece announced its tourism industry would reopen from June and international flights will be able to fly to the country’s main tourist spots. 

The list of allowed countries will be announced at the end of May but Greece officials have warned it is unlikely British tourists will be welcomed. 

The UK’s record on coronavirus is currently not good enough for Brits to be allowed to visit, the Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis told ITV News.   



Greece will allow international flights into the country from July 1

Greece will allow international flights to return to its tourist destinations from July 1, the country’s prime minister said today in a boost to British families hoping for a summer holiday despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Mediterranean nation is planning to reboot its tourist industry from June 15 when hotels will start to re-open, before flights start landing again two weeks later.  

Visitors will be subject to sample virus testing and ‘general health protocols’ but PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said these would not ‘overshadow our bright sun or the natural beauties of Greece’. 

Mitsotakis said Greece has ‘managed to restrict the spread of the virus… We made our country an example to follow in the handling of the health crisis.’  

Greece’s early lockdown has limited the outbreak to 2,850 cases and 166 deaths, but dealt a severe blow to an economy which is 18 per cent tourism.  

The Greek PM also announced a series of tax cuts on coffee, soft drinks, movie tickets and transport in order to kick-start the tourist season.   

A drone captures people flooding onto a beach in  Potamos, Epanomi, Greece, this weekend as public spaces begin to open across the country. The scenes comes as Downing Street played down the idea of opening ‘air bridges’ to some foreign resorts

Here are how some of UK tourists' favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

Here are how some of UK tourists’ favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

In Britain, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested two-way ‘air bridges linking Britain with nations who have low or falling rates of coronavirus cases, boosting hopes stressed Britons will be able to get away on holiday this year.

Popular tourist destinations like Spain and Italy have said that they would be willing to allow UK visitors in to help their ravaged tourism industries.

Howver, they are insisting that any deal must be ‘reciprocal’, allowing their own nationals into Britain without spending two weeks in isolation.

But with ministers expected to unveil plans tomorrow for a tough new quarantine regime requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK, holidaymakers were warned not to make holiday plans yet in anticipation of the Med being opened up.

Ministers are also facing an increasing rebellion from the Tory backbenches over the quarantine plan at a time when MPs want the economy to be restarted.

Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Telegraph: ‘The Government needs to rethink this quickly and not go into quarantine.

‘If they got their testing level up, then anyone coming in would be tested and put on the tracking app.’ 

Luigi Di Maio, the Italian foreign minister, said his badly-hit country was ‘ready to receive tourists from Europe with the necessary security’, citing a significant drop in coronavirus cases.     

‘From mid-June to September it will be possible to travel in Italy without any problems,’ he said, adding that ‘clear health protocols are in place in the accommodation facilities’.

Pressure for October Bank Holiday

Tourism bosses are pleading with ministers to announce an October Bank Holiday to help rescue the industry from a £37billion black hole.

The extra national holiday would coincide with the autumn half term and encourage trips to the countryside and coast.

Visit Britain claims total losses from domestic tourism are likely to be around £22billion this year. 

And the lack of foreign visitors will cut income by another £15billion – and even more if the Government imposes a 14-day quarantine on them. 

Acting chief executive Patricia Yates told the Commons culture select committee: ‘Every time we do the [financial] modelling the figures get worse.’ 

She said the normal summer season should be extended through to October ‘because the industry lost the benefit of the two May Bank Holidays’.

It comes as the director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, Bernard Donoghue, told MPs that the proposed 14-day quarantine for arriving foreign holidaymakers would be disastrous for sites such as the Royal Albert Hall and other ‘crown jewels’ of the industry.

But he added: ‘We will (open the borders) and we expect reciprocity,’

Downing Street has poured rather tepid water on the idea, with the Prime Minister’s Official spokesman saying: ‘It’s an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy.’

And a Whitehall source added: ‘The quarantine rules will be reviewed every three weeks but I think people would be unwise to book a foreign holiday in the expectation that an ‘air bridge’ will open up in time for the summer holidays. 

‘It’s the sort of idea you might look at as you exit a quarantine system. But we are just getting started.’

But Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst told MPs today that her department had set up an ‘air bridge task force’ to look at the idea, although talks with foreign nations had not yet taken place.

One maritime organisation suggested a ‘sea bridge’ instead of an air bridge could be used. 

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, told the Sun: ‘We have seen speculation of air bridges.

‘We see no reason why this could not be rolled out to ferries.’

Greek PM Mitsotakis announced his country’s plans to reboot tourism in a televised address today.  

‘The tourism period begins June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen, and direct international flights to our tourist destinations will gradually begin July 1,’ Mitsotakis said.

‘Our general health protocols will be adhered to, without them, however, overshadowing our bright sun or the natural beauties of Greece.’ 

Tourism accounts for around 18 per cent of Greece’s GDP, according to the country’s foreign ministry. 

The lockdown has ravaged an industry which employs around a fifth of the Greek workforce and authorities are keen to encourage visitors again. 

Greece’s economy has only recently emerged from a brutal decade-long financial crisis that saw a quarter of gross domestic product wiped out.  

Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said today she hoped her nation’s two-week quarantine would be relaxed from next month in favour of less restrictive measures in time to welcome tourists. 

Ms Gonzalez said: ‘Quarantine is necessary at the moment to prevent importation of Covid cases but this is a temporary measure.

‘The moment we feel that the virus is under control, we will replace quarantine with other measures at the border.’

But she warned  that while holidaymakers will be welcomed back to Spain ‘as soon as possible’, but only when safe to do so.

Spain, like the UK, was among the European countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and introduced lockdown measures on March 14, more than a week ahead of the UK.

It has now begun lifting those restrictions in various regions, with plans to end lockdown next month.

Ms Gonzalez Laya said cities with high concentrations of Covid-19 infection – such as Madrid and Barcelona – remain under stricter rules than more rural areas, but that the country will reopen to visitors at the earliest possible opportunity.

However, she was unable to say whether Spain could welcome UK tourists by the summer.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We are hoping to get tourists back as soon as possible but we are also conscious that, when we welcome them, we want to provide the safest destination in Europe.

‘We want to make sure when they come they can continue to experience the amazing stay in Spain, whether they love sports or culture or cuisine or simply like our weather.

‘But we want to make sure that at this moment, when every country is suffering from this pandemic, we can provide them with a safe and healthy experience – that’s top of our priorities right now.’ 

Foreign travel has been severely affected by international restrictions, with airline companies grounding planes and making drastic cuts to their routes.

Ryanair, one of the main carriers to Spain from the UK, last week said it planned to restore 40 per cent of its whole flight programme from July, although Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned that foreign holidays for UK residents are unlikely this summer.      

Blanket quarantine measures now appear likely to be introduced towards the end of the month, despite warnings they will wreck the holiday plans of Britons and damage the UK tourism industry.

Visit Britain boss Patricia Yates yesterday predicted the economy would lose £15billion from inbound tourism this year.

Mr Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged on Monday when he told MPs he was investigating the possibility of allowing quarantine-free ‘air bridges’ to countries with low levels of infection.

Ministers are still finalising the details of the quarantine regime, but it is expected to include fines of at least £1,000 for those breaching the 14 days of self-isolation.

A minister involved in the talks said all arrivals would be stopped by Border Force agents and told to download the Government’s new coronavirus tracking app.

They will be asked to provide their address or details of where they are staying, and police or local authority officials will carry out spot checks to ensure the quarantine is not being breached.

Sources said there would be ‘very few’ exemptions. 

Spanish beaches could limit tourists to four hours a day this Summer 

In a bid to prevent overcrowding on Costa Del Sol beaches, regional Spanish governments are being urged to enforce a time limit on how long tourists can stay in one sitting.

The suggestions include four hour time limits for beach-goers, either in the morning or in the afternoon, and to encourage sunbathers to shower before their leave their homes or hotels for the beach, and once again when they arrive.

Parents have also been warned not to let their young children leave buckets, spades and other toys unattended on the beach, and free for anyone else to pick up.

The recommendations were published yesterday by the regional Junta de Andalucia government in a state bulletin. 

 ‘I think we’ll have to get used to going to beaches in a different way to that we’ve been enjoying up to now,’ its vice-president Juan Marin admitted on Spanish TV after the recommendations had been made public. 

It is expected that many of the Costa del Sol’s beaches will be re-opened fully next Monday, although the region was a week late entering phase one of a four-stage coronavirus recovery programme, when compared with other regions.

Individual town halls will be left to the task of ensuring that social distancing rules are observed by beach-goers, with a variety of different methods set to be used.

Fuengirola, a popular holiday resort, has said that it is the first to choose artificial intelligence to keep crowds down by installing sensors on lampposts that will monitor how many people are on the beach and inform tourists using a smartphone app which areas are busiest.

Other beaches have proposed the use of ‘beach squares’, in which beach-goers would each have their own roped off zone to keep people at a safe distance from one-another.

Spain has seen over 232,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with more than 27,000 related deaths.

What is an air bridge? 

An ‘air bridge’ is typically used by the military to reach and supply territory across enemy lines.

One of the largest in history was used for the Berlin airlift after the Second World War.

That kept the Western-held area supplied between June 1948 and May 1949 when it was cut off by Soviet forces. 

Another famous air bridge was ‘The Hump’, which was the route over the Himalayas from India to resupply Chinese forces working with the Allies. 

Critics have questioned why the Government is tightening the rules at a time when some EU countries are easing travel restrictions and when many airlines have resumed UK flights.

Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis had called on the Government to agree a no-quarantine pact with his country.

He told the BBC: ‘We feel that this is a time for us to start lifting restrictions and we urge other countries, the UK included, that as soon as we do that we would welcome reciprocity.’ 

Ministers consider quarantine to be a vital part of efforts to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

But airline bosses fear it will devastate the crippled travel industry. British Airways wanted to restore large-scale operations in July, but this now looks unlikely. 

Virgin Atlantic have also indicated that flights will be pushed back to August ‘at the earliest’.

There are also concerns for the 20,000 British nationals still stranded abroad. 

It is likely many will have to go into quarantine after returning as the rule could come into force as early as May 28. 

Latest coronavirus video news, views and expert advice at mailplus.co.uk/coronavirus

UK tourism firms facing £37billion coronavirus hit

UK tourism businesses could lose up to £15billion this year because of the coronavirus shutdown, an industry boss told MPs today.

Patricia Yates, acting chief executive at Visit Britain, said huge sums were likely to be lost both from international and domestic holidaymakers.

She told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: ‘Every time we do the modelling the figures get worse. So for inbound, I mean we were looking at the beginning of this year at about £26.6 billion coming from inbound tourism, we reckon a £15 billion drop on that.

‘And for domestic, an industry that’s normally worth about £80 billion, a £22 billion drop on that.

‘And that’s actually before we’ve factored in the quarantine because we don’t clearly quite know what the measures are going to look like.’

She said while it would be the hope that domestic tourism this summer could pick up the slack and help alleviate some of the losses from the international sector, a ‘lack of confidence’ among people around travelling is a concern.

She said: ‘You’ve got a collapse of the supply industry as well as collapse of demand and really to get British tourism up and running this summer, and the summer is hugely important, you’re going to need that domestic audience. I think the worrying thing we see is the lack of confidence in the British public about travelling.’

She added: ‘So there’s a real job to be done there, given that it has to be the year of domestic tourism, there’s a real job to be done there in convincing people that it’s socially responsible to travel and enjoy a holiday. And that it’s safe to do so.’



Bad news for summer holidays: UK DROPS ‘air bridges’ plan for Brits to holiday in low-risk countries

Families’ hopes of a summer getaway were dealt a blow last night as Downing Street played down the idea of opening ‘air bridges’ to some foreign resorts.

The prospect of quarantine-free travel between the UK and countries with low coronavirus rates had been raised by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

But with ministers expected to unveil plans tomorrow for a tough new quarantine regime requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK, No 10 said the ‘air bridges’ idea would not form part of the proposals. 

It would have seen the 14-day rule relaxed for certain countries – and France and Greece had both expressed an interest in the idea.

A drone captures people flooding onto a beach in  Potamos, Epanomi, Greece, this weekend as public spaces begin to open across the country. The scenes comes as Downing Street played down the idea of opening ‘air bridges’ to some foreign resorts

In Paris, France, sun-seekers take to the streets and walk across the River Seine as the government begins to ease its lockdown restrictions

In Paris, France, sun-seekers take to the streets and walk across the River Seine as the government begins to ease its lockdown restrictions

Passengers wear personal protective equipment after landing at Terminal Two of London Heathrow Airport in London

Passengers wear personal protective equipment after landing at Terminal Two of London Heathrow Airport in London

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged however the Prime Minister's official spokesman said it was 'an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy'

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged however the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was ‘an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy’

Families take to the water and sunbathe at a Lido in London as the UK begins to edge out of the coronavirus lockdown

Families take to the water and sunbathe at a Lido in London as the UK begins to edge out of the coronavirus lockdown

Blanket quarantine measures now appear likely to be introduced towards the end of the month, despite warnings they will wreck the holiday plans of Britons and damage the UK tourism industry.

Pressure for October Bank Holiday

Tourism bosses are pleading with ministers to announce an October Bank Holiday to help rescue the industry from a £37billion black hole.

The extra national holiday would coincide with the autumn half term and encourage trips to the countryside and coast.

Visit Britain claims total losses from domestic tourism are likely to be around £22billion this year. 

And the lack of foreign visitors will cut income by another £15billion – and even more if the Government imposes a 14-day quarantine on them. 

Acting chief executive Patricia Yates told the Commons culture select committee: ‘Every time we do the [financial] modelling the figures get worse.’ 

She said the normal summer season should be extended through to October ‘because the industry lost the benefit of the two May Bank Holidays’.

It comes as the director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, Bernard Donoghue, told MPs that the proposed 14-day quarantine for arriving foreign holidaymakers would be disastrous for sites such as the Royal Albert Hall and other ‘crown jewels’ of the industry.

Visit Britain boss Patricia Yates yesterday predicted the economy would lose £15billion from inbound tourism this year.

Mr Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged on Monday when he told MPs he was investigating the possibility of allowing quarantine-free ‘air bridges’ to countries with low levels of infection.

But yesterday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy.’

A Whitehall source said: ‘The quarantine rules will be reviewed every three weeks but I think people would be unwise to book a foreign holiday in the expectation that an ‘air bridge’ will open up in time for the summer holidays. 

‘It’s the sort of idea you might look at as you exit a quarantine system. But we are just getting started.’

Ministers are still finalising the details of the quarantine regime, but it is expected to include fines of at least £1,000 for those breaching the 14 days of self-isolation.

A minister involved in the talks said all arrivals would be stopped by Border Force agents and told to download the Government’s new coronavirus tracking app.

They will be asked to provide their address or details of where they are staying, and police or local authority officials will carry out spot checks to ensure the quarantine is not being breached.

Sources said there would be ‘very few’ exemptions.

Critics have questioned why the Government is tightening the rules at a time when some EU countries are easing travel restrictions and when many airlines have resumed UK flights.

Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis had called on the Government to agree a no-quarantine pact with his country.

He told the BBC: ‘We feel that this is a time for us to start lifting restrictions and we urge other countries, the UK included, that as soon as we do that we would welcome reciprocity.’ 

Clarice Hui rests on the grass in London Fields Park in eat London with her Corgi Padfoot

Summer Wallace  walks along the seafront in Brighton as temperatures begin to rise in the UK

As temperatures began to rise across the UK, Clarice Hui  (left) took to London Fields Park in east London with her Corgi while Summer Wallace (right) walked along the seafront in Brighton with her mask

A group of revellers play with a football on Donnant beach in France as the country's beaches gradually begin to reopen

A group of revellers play with a football on Donnant beach in France as the country’s beaches gradually begin to reopen

Greece's beaches, including this one at Epanomi , near Thessaloniki, on Saturday, are thriving thanks to a low number of coronavirus cases

Greece’s beaches, including this one at Epanomi , near Thessaloniki, on Saturday, are thriving thanks to a low number of coronavirus cases

Spanish beaches could limit tourists to four hours a day this Summer 

In a bid to prevent overcrowding on Costa Del Sol beaches, regional Spanish governments are being urged to enforce a time limit on how long tourists can stay in one sitting.

The suggestions include four hour time limits for beach-goers, either in the morning or in the afternoon, and to encourage sunbathers to shower before their leave their homes or hotels for the beach, and once again when they arrive.

Parents have also been warned not to let their young children leave buckets, spades and other toys unattended on the beach, and free for anyone else to pick up.

The recommendations were published yesterday by the regional Junta de Andalucia government in a state bulletin. 

 ‘I think we’ll have to get used to going to beaches in a different way to that we’ve been enjoying up to now,’ its vice-president Juan Marin admitted on Spanish TV after the recommendations had been made public. 

It is expected that many of the Costa del Sol’s beaches will be re-opened fully next Monday, although the region was a week late entering phase one of a four-stage coronavirus recovery programme, when compared with other regions.

Individual town halls will be left to the task of ensuring that social distancing rules are observed by beach-goers, with a variety of different methods set to be used.

Fuengirola, a popular holiday resort, has said that it is the first to choose artificial intelligence to keep crowds down by installing sensors on lampposts that will monitor how many people are on the beach and inform tourists using a smartphone app which areas are busiest.

Other beaches have proposed the use of ‘beach squares’, in which beach-goers would each have their own roped off zone to keep people at a safe distance from one-another.

Spain has seen over 232,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with more than 27,000 related deaths.

Beachgoers enjoy the sun at a  public beach in Piraeus near Athens, Greece, on May 18, after weeks of lockdown in the country

Beachgoers enjoy the sun at a  public beach in Piraeus near Athens, Greece, on May 18, after weeks of lockdown in the country

Aerial view from a drone of people at the overcrowded beach of Potamos in Epanomi, Greece, during a heatwave, a beach near Thessaloniki and Halkidiki

Aerial view from a drone of people at the overcrowded beach of Potamos in Epanomi, Greece, during a heatwave, a beach near Thessaloniki and Halkidiki

With the Mediterranean nation's under-pressure economy heavily dependent on holidaymakers it has been making plans to refill deserted beaches and hotels in popular tourist areas like Corfu (pictured)

With the Mediterranean nation’s under-pressure economy heavily dependent on holidaymakers it has been making plans to refill deserted beaches and hotels in popular tourist areas like Corfu (pictured)

What is an air bridge? 

An ‘air bridge’ is typically used by the military to reach and supply territory across enemy lines.

One of the largest in history was used for the Berlin airlift after the Second World War.

That kept the Western-held area supplied between June 1948 and May 1949 when it was cut off by Soviet forces. 

Another famous air bridge was ‘The Hump’, which was the route over the Himalayas from India to resupply Chinese forces working with the Allies. 

The Greek islands, visited by three million Britons a year, have been in lockdown since March but hotels are due to open there on July 1. 

The country has escaped the worst of the pandemic, with just 165 deaths, and is desperate to welcome tourists back.

Ministers consider quarantine to be a vital part of efforts to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

But airline bosses fear it will devastate the crippled travel industry. British Airways wanted to restore large-scale operations in July, but this now looks unlikely. 

Virgin Atlantic have also indicated that flights will be pushed back to August ‘at the earliest’.

There are also concerns for the 20,000 British nationals still stranded abroad. 

It is likely many will have to go into quarantine after returning as the rule could come into force as early as May 28. 

Latest coronavirus video news, views and expert advice at mailplus.co.uk/coronavirus 

Here are how some of UK tourists' favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

Here are how some of UK tourists’ favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

UK tourism firms facing £37billion coronavirus hit

UK tourism businesses could lose up to £15billion this year because of the coronavirus shutdown, an industry boss told MPs today.

Patricia Yates, acting chief executive at Visit Britain, said huge sums were likely to be lost both from international and domestic holidaymakers.

She told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: ‘Every time we do the modelling the figures get worse. So for inbound, I mean we were looking at the beginning of this year at about £26.6 billion coming from inbound tourism, we reckon a £15 billion drop on that.

‘And for domestic, an industry that’s normally worth about £80 billion, a £22 billion drop on that.

‘And that’s actually before we’ve factored in the quarantine because we don’t clearly quite know what the measures are going to look like.’

She said while it would be the hope that domestic tourism this summer could pick up the slack and help alleviate some of the losses from the international sector, a ‘lack of confidence’ among people around travelling is a concern.

She said: ‘You’ve got a collapse of the supply industry as well as collapse of demand and really to get British tourism up and running this summer, and the summer is hugely important, you’re going to need that domestic audience. I think the worrying thing we see is the lack of confidence in the British public about travelling.’

She added: ‘So there’s a real job to be done there, given that it has to be the year of domestic tourism, there’s a real job to be done there in convincing people that it’s socially responsible to travel and enjoy a holiday. And that it’s safe to do so.’



Tough new quarantine regime for travellers arriving in the UK ruins hopes of ‘air bridges’

Families’ hopes of a summer getaway were dealt a blow last night as Downing Street played down the idea of opening ‘air bridges’ to some foreign resorts.

The prospect of quarantine-free travel between the UK and countries with low coronavirus rates had been raised by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

But with ministers expected to unveil plans tomorrow for a tough new quarantine regime requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK, No 10 said the ‘air bridges’ idea would not form part of the proposals. 

It would have seen the 14-day rule relaxed for certain countries – and France and Greece had both expressed an interest in the idea.

A drone captures people flooding onto a beach in  Potamos, Epanomi, Greece, this weekend as public spaces begin to open across the country. The scenes comes as Downing Street played down the idea of opening ‘air bridges’ to some foreign resorts

In Paris, France, sun-seekers take to the streets and walk across the River Seine as the government begins to ease its lockdown restrictions

In Paris, France, sun-seekers take to the streets and walk across the River Seine as the government begins to ease its lockdown restrictions

Passengers wear personal protective equipment after landing at Terminal Two of London Heathrow Airport in London

Passengers wear personal protective equipment after landing at Terminal Two of London Heathrow Airport in London

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged however the Prime Minister's official spokesman said it was 'an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy'

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged however the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was ‘an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy’

Families take to the water and sunbathe at a Lido in London as the UK begins to edge out of the coronavirus lockdown

Families take to the water and sunbathe at a Lido in London as the UK begins to edge out of the coronavirus lockdown

Blanket quarantine measures now appear likely to be introduced towards the end of the month, despite warnings they will wreck the holiday plans of Britons and damage the UK tourism industry.

Pressure for October Bank Holiday

Tourism bosses are pleading with ministers to announce an October Bank Holiday to help rescue the industry from a £37billion black hole.

The extra national holiday would coincide with the autumn half term and encourage trips to the countryside and coast.

Visit Britain claims total losses from domestic tourism are likely to be around £22billion this year. 

And the lack of foreign visitors will cut income by another £15billion – and even more if the Government imposes a 14-day quarantine on them. 

Acting chief executive Patricia Yates told the Commons culture select committee: ‘Every time we do the [financial] modelling the figures get worse.’ 

She said the normal summer season should be extended through to October ‘because the industry lost the benefit of the two May Bank Holidays’.

It comes as the director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, Bernard Donoghue, told MPs that the proposed 14-day quarantine for arriving foreign holidaymakers would be disastrous for sites such as the Royal Albert Hall and other ‘crown jewels’ of the industry.

Visit Britain boss Patricia Yates yesterday predicted the economy would lose £15billion from inbound tourism this year.

Mr Shapps raised hopes that some foreign holidays could be salvaged on Monday when he told MPs he was investigating the possibility of allowing quarantine-free ‘air bridges’ to countries with low levels of infection.

But yesterday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s an option under consideration but not agreed Government policy.’

A Whitehall source said: ‘The quarantine rules will be reviewed every three weeks but I think people would be unwise to book a foreign holiday in the expectation that an ‘air bridge’ will open up in time for the summer holidays. 

‘It’s the sort of idea you might look at as you exit a quarantine system. But we are just getting started.’

Ministers are still finalising the details of the quarantine regime, but it is expected to include fines of at least £1,000 for those breaching the 14 days of self-isolation.

A minister involved in the talks said all arrivals would be stopped by Border Force agents and told to download the Government’s new coronavirus tracking app.

They will be asked to provide their address or details of where they are staying, and police or local authority officials will carry out spot checks to ensure the quarantine is not being breached.

Sources said there would be ‘very few’ exemptions.

Critics have questioned why the Government is tightening the rules at a time when some EU countries are easing travel restrictions and when many airlines have resumed UK flights.

Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis had called on the Government to agree a no-quarantine pact with his country.

He told the BBC: ‘We feel that this is a time for us to start lifting restrictions and we urge other countries, the UK included, that as soon as we do that we would welcome reciprocity.’ 

Clarice Hui rests on the grass in London Fields Park in eat London with her Corgi Padfoot

Summer Wallace  walks along the seafront in Brighton as temperatures begin to rise in the UK

As temperatures began to rise across the UK, Clarice Hui  (left) took to London Fields Park in east London with her Corgi while Summer Wallace (right) walked along the seafront in Brighton with her mask

A group of revellers play with a football on Donnant beach in France as the country's beaches gradually begin to reopen

A group of revellers play with a football on Donnant beach in France as the country’s beaches gradually begin to reopen

Greece's beaches, including this one at Epanomi , near Thessaloniki, on Saturday, are thriving thanks to a low number of coronavirus cases

Greece’s beaches, including this one at Epanomi , near Thessaloniki, on Saturday, are thriving thanks to a low number of coronavirus cases

Beachgoers enjoy the sun at a  public beach in Piraeus near Athens, Greece, on May 18, after weeks of lockdown in the country

Beachgoers enjoy the sun at a  public beach in Piraeus near Athens, Greece, on May 18, after weeks of lockdown in the country

Aerial view from a drone of people at the overcrowded beach of Potamos in Epanomi, Greece, during a heatwave, a beach near Thessaloniki and Halkidiki

Aerial view from a drone of people at the overcrowded beach of Potamos in Epanomi, Greece, during a heatwave, a beach near Thessaloniki and Halkidiki

With the Mediterranean nation's under-pressure economy heavily dependent on holidaymakers it has been making plans to refill deserted beaches and hotels in popular tourist areas like Corfu (pictured)

With the Mediterranean nation’s under-pressure economy heavily dependent on holidaymakers it has been making plans to refill deserted beaches and hotels in popular tourist areas like Corfu (pictured)

What is an air bridge? 

An ‘air bridge’ is typically used by the military to reach and supply territory across enemy lines.

One of the largest in history was used for the Berlin airlift after the Second World War.

That kept the Western-held area supplied between June 1948 and May 1949 when it was cut off by Soviet forces. 

Another famous air bridge was ‘The Hump’, which was the route over the Himalayas from India to resupply Chinese forces working with the Allies. 

The Greek islands, visited by three million Britons a year, have been in lockdown since March but hotels are due to open there on July 1. 

The country has escaped the worst of the pandemic, with just 165 deaths, and is desperate to welcome tourists back.

Ministers consider quarantine to be a vital part of efforts to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

But airline bosses fear it will devastate the crippled travel industry. British Airways wanted to restore large-scale operations in July, but this now looks unlikely. 

Virgin Atlantic have also indicated that flights will be pushed back to August ‘at the earliest’.

There are also concerns for the 20,000 British nationals still stranded abroad. 

It is likely many will have to go into quarantine after returning as the rule could come into force as early as May 28. 

Latest coronavirus video news, views and expert advice at mailplus.co.uk/coronavirus 

Here are how some of UK tourists' favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

Here are how some of UK tourists’ favourite holiday and travel destinations compare in terms of coronavirus cases

UK tourism firms facing £37billion coronavirus hit

UK tourism businesses could lose up to £15billion this year because of the coronavirus shutdown, an industry boss told MPs today.

Patricia Yates, acting chief executive at Visit Britain, said huge sums were likely to be lost both from international and domestic holidaymakers.

She told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: ‘Every time we do the modelling the figures get worse. So for inbound, I mean we were looking at the beginning of this year at about £26.6 billion coming from inbound tourism, we reckon a £15 billion drop on that.

‘And for domestic, an industry that’s normally worth about £80 billion, a £22 billion drop on that.

‘And that’s actually before we’ve factored in the quarantine because we don’t clearly quite know what the measures are going to look like.’

She said while it would be the hope that domestic tourism this summer could pick up the slack and help alleviate some of the losses from the international sector, a ‘lack of confidence’ among people around travelling is a concern.

She said: ‘You’ve got a collapse of the supply industry as well as collapse of demand and really to get British tourism up and running this summer, and the summer is hugely important, you’re going to need that domestic audience. I think the worrying thing we see is the lack of confidence in the British public about travelling.’

She added: ‘So there’s a real job to be done there, given that it has to be the year of domestic tourism, there’s a real job to be done there in convincing people that it’s socially responsible to travel and enjoy a holiday. And that it’s safe to do so.’