Brits given hope for UK staycations from July as Culture Sec says 'ambitious' plans underway

BRITS could enjoy a staycation in the UK from July, the Culture Secretary suggested tonight.

Oliver Dowden said officials were working on "ambitious" plans to try and get the UK's tourism sector up and running again within weeks.

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He was asked this evening if it would be possible for Brits to take a break in the UK this summer, after coronavirus forces hotels and hostels to shut.

Foreign Office advice still says nothing but essential travel overseas is allowed.

And within the UK Brits can go on a day trip but aren't allowed to stay overnight.

Hotels form part of the phase three of the lockdown being lifted – along with pubs and restaurants – Mr Dowden confirmed tonight.

It means they likely won't open again until July at the earliest.

Mr Dowden said this evening: "I would love to get the tourism sector back as quickly as we possible can.
"We have set this very ambitious plan to try and get it up and running by beginning of July.

"We can only do it if its safe to do so.
"It would be the worst thing to start and seethe R rate get out of control and have to slam on the brakes."

But Mr Dowden said "you won't find a bigger champion of the great British break than me" this evening.

It comes after DWP boss Therese Coffey said yesterday that there may be hope for Brits to go on camping holidays in the summer.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told Sky:  "Having come from Suffolk down to London, I know there are a lot of campsites that are very keen for people to come.

"Some of this is being carefully considered, recognising that we have a reduced outdoor transmission risk, that things like camping may well become suitable."

She added that it as a decision for "later this year, potentially in July" as infection rates need to stay down first.

English caravan sites are hoping to reopen this summer, with preliminary dates in July – but they are lobbying to open as early as June, in line with plans put forward for sites in neighbouring Wales.

Visit Britain boss Patricia Yates says the crisis could actually boost British tourism and urged the nation to take a holiday later in the year.

She said: “To get British tourism up and running this summer, and this summer is hugely important is we need that domestic audience."

Haven has slashed prices for their caravan hols as they invite guests back on limited package deals, as pools and restaurants will remain closed.

Officials at the Department for Transport are looking at the possibility of "air bridges" so that if the number of infections stays low – Brits could be allowed to go to other countries where the rate of infection is low too.

But No10 has said this "isn't Government policy" yet and might not happen.

Within weeks the UK will force anyone coming into the country to isolate for 14 days – with only some exceptions.

It means Brits jetting off abroad would have to take an extra two weeks off on either side of their break.

Matt Hancock has said it's "unlikely" that trips abroad will take place this summer.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said it's too early yet to make a call.

Other European nations are also in the early stages of planning a return for the holiday sector in time for the remainder of the summer.



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