Travellers are trying to return from France today to avoid quarantine restrictions. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast that an estimated 160,000 holidaymakers are expected to look to return to the UK from France. Potentially thousands could end up having to quarantine on their return if they cannot find transport to get back to the UK today.
British holidaymaker Daniel Aboudy, who was at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, told Sky News about his experience.
He said: “Basically, I was going on a holiday to France.
“I booked it after July 10 when we were told we could travel again.
“It was just for the week, everything was going smoothly, I was having a really good time.
“And then I was getting texts and messages from friends and family saying you should probably consider coming back home because they’re going to announce that France will be on the quarantine list.
“I was thinking ‘maybe it will be okay’ – not entirely sure.
“But we got the news late last night and that’s it, we’ve had to book it [a flight], we had to rush through it, but here we are.”
Mr Aboudy said that he was aware of the risks before travelling to France.
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He said: “It was something that I had probably assumed might happen. I didn’t want it to happen obviously but it was something that was inevitable really with how late our government is reporting on all of this stuff, and dealing with it essentially.
“I just thought in my mind, ‘okay, I’ve got to be prepared for something like this’.”
Like a lot of Britons returning to the UK, Mr Aboudy said that he has lost money after having to book a last minute flight.
He said: “I’m a little bit out of pocket now. It’s very unfortunate.
“I’m hoping I can refund my flight for the Sunday that I was meant to come back and then hopefully I can get some money back on my hotel as well, but we’ll see.”
Another British holidaymaker, Rhys Barton, who is on holiday in France told BBC Breakfast that he was disappointed by how little time tourists have had to return home.
He said: “I don’t think any of us are necessarily in shock that the quarantine has come in but we are really disappointed and really in shock about how little time we were given to make alternative arrangements.
“Being given a day to make alternative arrangements, find flights – many of them £300, £400 – I think was really disappointing and frustrating.”
Disgruntled holidaymakers have also taken to Twitter to express their frustration in having to cancel their future holidays.
One user said: “What a joke, we can’t travel to countries which are doing better with COVID than our own.
“My holiday to France is officially cancelled.” [sic]
Another said: “I was meant to be going to Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands in two weeks driving through France so had to cancel all that.”
Another said: “I might have to cancel my trip to France, watch me having the biggest breakdown ever.”
Another Tweeted: “We had to cancel a month long trip to Paris and around France!”
Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said she was disappointed for British holidaymakers.
She said: “WTTC is deeply disappointed that thousands of British holidaymakers have had their holidays ruined, now the UK Government has added more countries to its quarantine list, including popular summer holidays destinations France and Malta.
“While we agree public health should remain the top priority, this move will crush what little confidence there is left in the fragile travel and tourism sector.
“The UK clearly lags behind other countries, which have shunned quarantines in favour of comprehensive programmes of testing for everyone departing and arriving back into their respective countries.
“International coordination and programme of testing for anyone who wants to go on holiday to help stop Covid-19 in its tracks are crucial in order to rescue three million jobs in the UK alone.”
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