Holiday chaos as hotel cancellations hit top destinations in Spain and Portugal

Simon Calder says he’s ‘holding off’ booking a holiday

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New Year’s Eve was particularly impacted by holiday cancellations with top tourist destinations losing bookings. The period is normally a busy time for travel.

Hotels in the popular Algarve resort region of Portugal reported losing lots of bookings as holidaymakers chose to cancel.

Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve hotelier’s association (AHETA) said ahead of the New Year: “Hotels started receiving cancellations after the latest restrictions were announced.

“Although we were feeling optimistic about end-of-year bookings, this is certainly no longer the case.”

The industry expert said the region was just hoping to receive some last minute bookings to cover the loss.

Portugal tightened its Covid restrictions due to the Omicron variant. British tourists must have a negative test result to enter Portugal and it cannot be self-administered.

Britons will need to have a test carried out by a trained healthcare professional to enter the country.

If British tourists do not have a negative result that meets the requirements, they will be denied entry.

Spain has also experienced a wave of cancellations as tourists chose not to go on holiday.

David Morales, president of the Skal Tourism organisation in Gran Canaria, said: “Sales have stalled, and there is no activity either via tour operators or travel agencies.”

The Balearic islands said it had seen a slowdown in sales for summer holidays on the islands.

It is thought that many British tourists are put off by the heavy price of tests and the fear of restrictions.

Toni Mayor, the president of Spanish hotel association Hosbec, said that he expected January to be an uphill struggle.

He said: “When the holidays are over, which will coincide with the peak of infections, we will have a very complicated six weeks until the end of February.”

France has banned British tourists from entering the country which led to many ski holiday cancellations.

Germany lifted a ban on Britons this week, although the measures have done little to increase consumer confidence.

British tourists who are worried about having to cancel a holiday are advised to book with a package company.

Package holiday customers should be either refunded or offered another date if they are unable to travel to their destination due to a ban.

However, customers should always check the terms and conditions before booking a trip away.

British tourists should check the FCO travel advice for the latest restrictions as well as the regulations in their holiday destination.

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