Hopes of a European holiday soar as leaders across the EU soften their stance towards travel this summer

A SUMMER holiday may not be off the cards after all as EU leaders soften their warnings on travelling.

Leaders from Italy, Greece and Cyprus are just some of those who have announced their plans for resuming tourism this year.

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However, while the softening of restrictions is a positive start for the tourism industry, British travellers are unlikely to be the priority after coronavirus deaths become the highest in Europe – exceeding even Italy.

Cases in the UK have hit 195,000, while deaths approach 30,000.

The softer approach in the EU is primarily for domestic tourism at first, with restricted openings for land borders.

As flights remain grounded and with no land borders to any countries, the UK isn't expected to travel abroad any time soon.

Italy's prime minister told local newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano he hoped Italians would be able to enjoy a summer holiday this year if the country's coronavirus epidemic stays under control.

Similar measures have been announced by Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas, as a number of regions allow domestic tourists to travel to second homes after the lockdown lifting.

However, he warned holidays still won't be the same: "People won't be able to spend a holiday as they usually know it, on full beaches or in full mountain huts."

The country has appeared to avoid a second spike of coronavirus cases since the restrictions were eased, despite fears.

Some countries are adding "free travel zones" or bubbles to allow tourists from certain countries to enter without needing to quarantine.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are to open their borders to one another from May 15.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernlis wrote on Facebook: "We have agreed that all three Baltic states have properly contained the spread of the coronavirus, and we trust each others’ health systems.

“So, starting from May 15, we are removing all restrictions for citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia traveling between the Baltic states.”

Australia and New Zealand are considering similar measures as both countries face dwindling numbers of coronavirus cases.

Some countries are more positive for British tourists though – while Greece is opening resorts and hotels to domestic travellers from June, they hope that Brits could return by July.

Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theoharis previously said they were in talks with big UK tour operators, explaining: "Our goal is for the season to begin in July and perhaps extend through October or November."

Cyprus issued similar sentiments for a June opening for Brits despite initial fears that other countries would take precedence – Cypriot deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios told Sun Online Travel: "We love taking care of the British people.

"There are a lot of British people living here. Whenever others are ready to visit our island we will welcome them with open arms."

Spain is lowering their lockdown restrictions, with locals now allowed outside again, but Brits could find themselves the last to arrive for a holiday.

The Canary Islands has said it wants to welcome back British tourists from October after hotels are opened to Spanish holidaymakers in July or August.

While Regional president Angel Victor Torres told Spanish daily El Mundo that Brits could return by October, Balearic Islands tourism minister Iago Negueruela has warned that Brits will not be among those returning to the area this summer.

He told local media earlier last month: "There are countries like the United Kingdom that took too long to adopt confinement measures."

French President Emmanuel Macron also warned against being too swift to allow tourists to return, saying it was "too soon" to know.

Until then, Brits may have to stick to domestic travel and opt for staycations this summer.

Even this is at risk however – Cornwall tourism boss Malcom Bell has warned restrictions including pre-booked swimming pool sessions, beach visitor caps and short hotel stays could all be in place by the time the rest of the country heads to the region.

He told Sun Online Travel: "There is a lot of creative thinking going on and how to cope with high capacity."

"The British public will have to learn to accept different approaches to things and see the positive."

Holidays for 2021 are now on sale instead as Brits look at booking a trip abroad netx year instead.

Both Airbus and Airbnb have reported a rise in bookings – here are some of the best deals to Europe and Florida already on sale for Easter 2021.

For example, easyJet has launched 2021 flights from £19, while you can head to Thailand for just £367pp during the February half-term.


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