NEWS & OFFERS: Seychelles will reopen to all UK visitors, Cyprus reopening & £200 off British Airways Holidays

BA launch Seychelles flightsAnse Source d'Argent - Beach on island La Digue in Seychelles

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Seychelles reopens from 25 March

The Indian Ocean island destination has announced that it will be welcoming visitors, irrespective of their vaccination status, as from March 25, 2021. Visitors from South Africa will still not be permitted to enter Seychelles for the time being until further review.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde in a press briefing yesterday. 

  • Visitors will now only be required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.
  • There will be no quarantine requirement nor restriction on movement upon entry into Seychelles.
  • Additionally, the minimum stay in establishments upon arrival will no longer be applicable.

However, visitors will still be required to adhere to other public health measures including wearing face masks, social distancing, regular sanitisation or washing of hands.

The new measures also give visitors access to all communal area within the hotel premises inclusive of bars, swimming pools, spas and Kid’s club. 

Minister Radegonde stated that the decision to review and relax the entry procedures in the country has been made possible in view of the success of the aggressive vaccination campaign in the country.

 “The vaccination campaign has been quite successful. The government has done everything in its power to make sure that the population is protected. We have now arrived at the point where opening our borders further is the next step to allow for our economic recovery. The measures being announced reflect broadly the recommendation of our tourism partners and have been done in full consultation with and the endorsement of our health authorities.”

At the moment sadly the Seychelles is on the red list so there are no direct flights and you must hotel quarantine on return to the UK. However, given the vaccination campaign, I would expect this to be removed over the next couple of months once they have few cases and most of the population of the Seychelles are vaccinated. The fact that they are also banning visitors from South Africa should also help.  But obviously, if you are planning a trip it would be prudent to make sure it is changeable or refundable. 

More details will be available shortly through the updated travel advisory on www.tourism.gov.sc.

 

£200 off British Airways Holidays

BA Holidays has launched another money off promotion. Currently, I am buying my flights as holidays with BA (or on Avios) for several reasons:

  • You only have to pay a deposit which starts from £75pp
  • You only have to pay the balance 3 weeks before
  • If it’s illegal to travel in the UK on holiday, BA at the moment will cancel your holiday so you can get a cash refund. This doesn’t apply with flight only. If you still can legally travel, they will reinstate it. 
  • You get extra Avios 
  • You only need to add a hotel for one night or a car for one day to qualify as a holiday
  • It can be cheaper than buying the flight on its own

But there are two drawbacks

  • It is often harder to get hold of BA Holidays as there is no gold or GGL line.
  • BA Holidays have been incredibly stingy on allowing you to move your holiday if it’s cancelled – you can only move it by 14 days which is useless. But of course, you could just keep moving it until we are allowed to travel again!

The savings apply to new holiday package bookings only where a minimum spend been met.

The savings are £25, £50, £100 or £200 and apply to new Holiday Package bookings only where a minimum spend is met:

  • Flight + hotel Holiday Package bookings with a total cost of £5,000 per booking can save £200 per booking.
  • Holiday Package bookings with a total cost of £2,500 per booking can save £100 per booking.
  • Holiday Package bookings with a total cost of £1,250 per booking can save £50 per booking.
  • Flight + car Holiday Package bookings with a total cost of £650 per booking can save £25 per booking.

You can travel between 17 May and 21 October 2021. A Holiday Package booking means any booking including return flights and either a hotel or car for the duration of the travel period. Hotels/cars added to flights only after a flight has been selected or booked will not be eligible. Holiday package bookings including multiple destinations are not eligible. Flight + car Holiday Package savings are applied before any Extras (insurance waiver, car seats etc.) are added to the booking.

Savings will automatically be added to bookings.

To take advantage of the offer, holiday packages must be booked by 23:59 09 March 2021.

You can find the best value holidays on the BA Holiday finder page here. 

 

Cyprus confirms reopening for UK vaccinated tourists

Cyprus was one of the first countries to state that they planned to allow concessions for vaccinated travellers. Originally they were proposing that this would start in March. The date has been put back, but since we are not allowed to travel anyway until at least 17 May, it doesn’t really matter!

Cyprus has now said it will open its borders to vaccinated travellers from the UK from  1 May 2021. This will apply to those who have had both vaccinations at least 7 days before travelling. The vaccines need to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and then you will be able enter without the need for a negative test or to quarantine. (Both UK vaccines are approved). 

 
 

This is obviously going to be an issue given that not everybody in a group travelling may have received the vaccine. Given that no countries are yet vaccinating children, you would assume that it does not include them.

I would expect Cyprus to clarify arrangements for entry for those that have not been vaccinated nearer the time as it will depend on the situation in the UK with cases and variants nearer the time. Providing we have low case numbers, I would expect them to allow entry with a test, but of course, nothing is guaranteed.