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Travel

Quarantine with quokkas: Australian cruise passengers moved to Rottnest

With nowhere to go, hundreds of Australian cruise passengers are planning to go into coronavirus lock-down on the island famous for cute marsupials.

WA has made the decision to put 800 passengers into quarantine with Rottnest’s quokkas. However, this leaves hundreds of passengers including 109 Kiwis at sea on the stricken cruise ship.

Cruise ship Vasco da Gama was refused berth in Perth on Friday, due to a ban on cruise ships by officials in Western Australia. Australian sates have cracked down on arrivals from cruise ships following the Ruby Princess’ disembarkation Sydney, after which 130 passengers were found to have coronavirus.

Unable to dock on the mainland the Vasco da Gama has sailed to the holiday island of Rottnest, which is famous for blue seas, sandy beaches and perhaps Australia’s cutest marsupial.

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The Palace of Versailles is open for virtual reality visits


Globetrotters quarantined at home can teleport themselves to France and back to the 17th century with a virtual reality-powered visit to the Palace of Versailles.

a statue of a person: The Palace of Versailles, France

Your trip to France canceled because of Covid-19? Or need to keep a child in your home occupied for an hour? There’s a virtual reality experience for that.

“Experience Versailles” isn’t new. But it’s enjoying renewed interest among Francophiles and households on lockdown for offering an alternative way to experience Versailles from thousands of miles away.

For kids, the experience is an educational one, teaching players about Louis XIV and French sovereignty. Players also infiltrate a sumptuous masked ball held by Louis XV and can explore the palace grounds, moving through the Royal Courtyard, to the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Apartments.

For parents, it’s an hour or two of distraction.

The “Experience Versailles” is free, powered by Steam and works with VR headsets like HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

Related video: Time for a ‘staycation!’ Museums around the world offer virtual tours (Provided by Buzz60)


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Tourists flock to Dutch tulip fields to take Instagram-worthy travel snaps

Considering jetting off on holiday?

You might want to take a leaf out of travel bloggers’ books and head to the tulip fields of Holland.

The country is famous for his pretty petal fields – and Instagrammers make the most of the picturesque scenery by taking photos.

Scores of tourists enjoy walking through the fields and posing against the flowery backdrop.

Alternatively, holidaymakers can soak up the setting on bike tours or boat trips.

If a Netherlands getaway has piqued your interest, here are the best places to see blooming bulbs.

There are several bulb field regions in Holland.

One of the most famous is nestled between Leiden and Den Helder, just behind the North Sea dunes.

The Keukenhof Flower Fields boasts rows of tulips, as well as daffodils and hyacinths.

On April 25, 2020, the location will also host a flower parade.

The Bloemencorso Bollenstreek sees a line of petal-covered floats wind through a 40km route.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators watch the festivity, which takes place in the municipality of Noordwijk.

Musical acts and luxury car displays also draw tourists to the festivity.

And for those who don’t make it to the big day, there are other events held from April 22 to 26.

It’s not tricky for tourists to visit Keukenhof – as it’s around 20-30 miles from Amsterdam.

To get to the gardens you can book a coach, tour group or hire a car.

Entrance tickets can be picked up from £15.

Note that Keukenhof opens on March 21 – you can expect to see tulips there until May 19.

For those who want to head further than the Netherlands’ capital, Flevoland could be a shout.

Noordoostpolder and Oostelijk Flevoland are tulip fields hotspots.

Alternatively, you can head to North Holland where you’ll find Enkhuizen and Breezand.

All offer fabulous flower experiences – as well as the opportunity to take the perfect selfie.

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If we’ve convinced you to book a trip to Holland, you may want to look at some flights on Skyscanner.

Currently, you can jet off from London to Amsterdam from just £26.

So for around £50 per person, your travel should all be sorted.

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Six good things travel companies are doing during the coronavirus crisis

The travel industry may have been brought to its knees by the travel restrictions and social distancing measures implemented across the globe in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t dampened its spirit.

Companies around the UK are doing what they can to help during the crisis, which has now seen more than 280 lives claimed by Covid-19.

Here are six ways travel companies are doing their bit and spreading a little compassion and kindness, from offering hotels to key workers to repatriating Brits stranded abroad.

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Setting up floating hospitals

Saga has offered two of its cruise ships as floating hospitals to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The 37,000-tonne Saga Sapphire and 58,000-tonne Spirit of Discovery, docked at Tilbury in Essex, could provide space for more than 2,600 patients in separate cabins.

Saga’s owners have reportedly spoken to government officials about making use of the liners, which have been withdrawn from sailing during the Covid-19 pandemic, as temporary hospitals.

A source told Sky News: “The ships are laying idle, the government expects its hospitals to be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, so it makes sense to look at this option.”

Opening hotels to NHS staff

Former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville is to open his hotels free of charge to health workers.

His two Manchester hotels, Hotel Football at Old Trafford and the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester city centre, will provide 176 beds for NHS and medical staff.

Hotel staff have also been promised they won’t be made redundant or made to take unpaid leave.

“It is something we are delighted to have been able to come to an agreement with,” Neville said.

“It is at this moment in time that the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times, but for the people who need the accommodation most in the coming months.”

He added: “Our staff will operate the hotel as normal when health workers are allowed to stay there without any cost whatsoever when they need isolation away from family members who might be affected.”

The Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell has also closed its doors to all customers, but will stay open for NHS workers in need of free overnight accommodation.

Hotels open for stranded travellers

Three hotels near Kings Cross Station are offering free stays for people stranded on the way to or from Paris via the Eurostar: The Megaro, The Gyle and The California. All are offering accommodation and hospitality without charge where required.

The Clarendon Hotel in Blackheath is still open for anyone in need of somewhere to stay on a longer-term basis, “whether that’s to be close to local family who might not have space in their own house, or for vulnerable people currently on their own who would prefer to have other people close by while they self-isolate”. The hotel is offering a 25 per cent discount across accommodation and food and drink.

General Manager Ken Milton said: “We know that there are many people in the local area who are now facing weeks of isolation which they may struggle with both practically and emotionally. 

“We would welcome them to join us at The Clarendon so that they can at least be closer to other people, and where we can cook, clean and care for them – with minimal, if any, physical contact – to help them through this incredibly difficult time.”

Turning vehicles into ambulances

Indie Campers, a company that hires out campervans, is offering its vehicles up as “makeshift ambulances” and food delivery trucks. It has 850 vans, many of which will be offered free of charge to aid front-line services across Europe.

“They can be turned into food distribution vehicles, patient transportation, places for medical staff to sleep and clean themselves, or even makeshift ambulances,” head of inbound marketing Miguel Fraga told The Telegraph.

“In Italy, local NGOs are using them to allow health personnel to carry out home health checks in a protected way.”

Food delivery 

Ian Crighton, general manager of the Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, near Yeovil, said the hotel is offering a discounted take away menu for the over 70s and NHS workers. The local Sherborne Chamber Of Trade and Commerce is also offering free distribution of products and food to the elderly.

The Merry Harriers in Godalming, Surrey, is offering a take away menu, with free delivery offered by villagers. There’s also free hot drinks and a 50 per cent discount on food being offered for NHS workers.

On the island of Guernsey, the Duke of Richmond has launched a complimentary no-contact dinner delivery service for elderly neighbours. The hotel is delivering meals to elderly individuals who are within walking distance and is looking to extend the service to dozens of immediate neighbours who require assistance – they just need to call the hotel before 1pm and a meal will be delivered to their doorstep that evening. 

Offering hand sanitiser to the vulnerable

The Cary Arms & Spa in Devon has contacted all of its regular locals and close neighbours who are in the higher risk age group to tell them they can give the hotel a call for support if they need it. It has also been in touch with Rowcroft, a local cancer hospice, offering an “endless supply of sanitiser” as the hotel has an aqueous ozone converter.

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British Airways makes big inflight changes amid coronavirus – continues reduced flights

British Airways has notified passengers expecting to travel in the coming weeks of changes to its onboard services, including the usual food service. The measures come in a bid to up the protection for both staff and passengers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Many airlines are grounding flights, with BA’s owner IAG saying the airline would slash operations by 75 percent amid the crisis, although some routes will continue to run.

The Heathrow-based airline announced it would be seriously reducing its onboard food offering, encouraging travellers to bring their own food as supplies on board would be limited.

The usual hot meal service will be removed from all cabins, and passengers will be served “pre-packaged snack bags or boxes” which include sandwiches, crisps, and a snack.

Water will also be served in a plastic bottle, though “hydration rounds” will continue mid-flight as standard. The exact type of food on offer will depend on the route the passenger is travelling on.

A spokesperson for British Airways told Express.co.uk: “We have made temporary changes to our onboard catering, customers will be offered pre-prepared refreshments and drinks.”

Alcoholic beverages will no longer be available, the distribution of menus will be stopped and glassware and crockery will be replaced with disposable crockery.

The airline will also be halting its in-flight duty-free service, removing magazines and newspapers, and is unable to cater to special meals at this time.

Other drinks, such as juice and hot beverages will continue to be served.

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On short-haul flights, British Airways has decided to stop its buy onboard service and will instead offer hot beverages and a pre-packaged snack to all passengers.

This will no longer include its mid-flight ice cream service.

The news came following the announcement by the British government that a stringent lockdown would be in place across the country, severely limiting the movement of British residents.

Speaking in Downing Street, the PM said the only valid reasons for venturing outside were to buy food, carry out essential work or for medical reasons.

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One outdoor trip for exercise each day is also allowed but there should be no more than two people together in public, except for members of the same household.

In a statement to the public Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained why these draconian measures are so vital.

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”

Elsewhere in the world, other international air carriers have taken measures to increase passenger safety.

Air Canada has announced it will no longer provide any meal service for Economy Class passengers and bottled water will be the only drink option available.

Meanwhile, Business Class passengers and all passengers on long-haul flights will receive pre-packaged foods.

Water, again, will be the only beverage option.

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Coronavirus: All cruise ships to Guernsey cancelled – but are they on lockdown?

All cruise ships to Guernsey have been cancelled until the end of April at the earliest due to the latest coronavirus travel measures. The first cruise ship of the season was the Fridtjof Nansen which was meant to have arrived on March 20. However, it was cancelled earlier in the month following the advice from Guernsey’s Public Health.

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Now, nine other cruise liners that would have docked in Guernsey in April have been cancelled.

Three others have also cancelled their visits in May, with many more expected to follow suit.

The largest marina facility in the British Isles, Guernsey Harbours said in a statement: “Due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, travel restrictions imposed by the States of Guernsey require all persons arriving in the Bailiwick from anywhere else in the world to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

“These restrictions mean that all cruise ship calls are currently cancelled until 30 April at the earliest.

“Some cruise operators have suspended operations past 30 April.”

P&O Britannia, which was the largest of all the cruises set to visit on April 18 with 4,000 people, has temporarily suspended all new cruise operations.

They said in a statement: “We shall be bringing our ships and all guests who are currently sailing back to Southampton and will constantly monitor the situation over the coming weeks.

“As ever, our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.

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“We wholeheartedly wish you well in the coming months and hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you on board with us again as soon as the situation has improved.”

The Channel Islands include Jersey and Guernsey and are in the English Channel of the French coast of Normandy.

Although not a part of the UK, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.

Jersey’s Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham said that the small island nation could follow the UK and go into lockdown but hasn’t as of yet.

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In a tweet he said: “It is time for Jersey to follow UK.”

The most recent government advice in Jersey is to keep a distance of at last two metres between people.

People arriving from the UK have also been told they must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they are ill or not.

The borders on the Isle of Man closed to non-residents yesterday at 9am.

The Manx government confirmed on Twitter that all schools on the island would be closed by the end of March 23.

The small island between The United Kingdom and Ireland has had 13 confirmed cases so far.

However, the Isle of Man has not confirmed a full lockdown like that of the United Kingdom.

Guernsey has seen a rapid increase in coronavirus cases after 20 positive tests were recorded.

Guernsey’s most senior politician Gavin St Pier, president of the Policy and Resources Committee said yesterday that an island-wide lockdown is not the answer to covid-19.

According to Guernsey Press he said: “We have already understandably seen an increase in mental health issues in the last few weeks.

“Perversely, social distancing risks substantial social isolation and all that follows in terms of increased alcohol and drug dependency, depression and anxiety resulting in more suicide, self-harming, domestic violence and divorce.

“Social isolation will damage us all and potentially create a longer term social problem to add to our more immediate public health and economic problems.”

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Travel inspiration: Asia holidays – Taiwan’s wild side

Taiwan is famous for dumplings, tea and quirky themed restaurants, but along Taiwan’s east coast you’ll find a wild side to the country well worth exploring.

The Taiwanese (pop) culture and history we know and love can be experienced in any of the country’s major cities, which are all on the west coast. Head east and, where the mountains meet the sea, you’ll find a dramatic landscape, offering a wide range of outdoors adventures.

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Taiwan’s capital Taipei sits on the northern tip of Taiwan, with Yilan County, the gateway to the wild east coast reached by road in an hour. The drive south from here along the east coast is one of the world’s most scenic routes. The highway hugs the coastline, at times through tunnels and across a series of tall bridges that cross wide gorges and wild-looking rivers. Tall mountains line the coast as far as you can see, interrupted here and there by waterfalls and, to your left, the glistening South China Sea.

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How British travellers stranded abroad can get back to the UK

Many British travellers are stranded abroad and struggling to get home as air routes continue to be axed and borders close. Here are some escape routes to try if you’re heading back to the UK.

Getting home from Europe and the Mediterranean

Repatriation flights are continuing from Spain, where the highest number of British tourists are concentrated, and the Foreign Office is working with the Spanish authorities to get people home as soon as possible.

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Elsewhere, there are more flights than you might think, as British Airways and other carriers do what they can to get people where they need to be before global aviation grinds almost to a halt.

BA has arrivals at Heathrow and Gatwick from Germany, Spain, France and many other countries, and the airline is a good place to start looking for flights home.

Rail is an option from France and Belgium on Eurostar, though there is no certainty about how long trains will continue to operate – and how feasible it is for British travellers to gain access to the stations.

What about the British people stuck in Asia?

The main problem is flight bans being imposed by individual countries. British Airways still has flights from Japan, Thailand and other nations coming in. Many travellers were relying on the Gulf-based airlines, especially Emirates, to get them home, but the UAE has now imposed a flight ban from Wednesday 25 March.

Understandably the few remaining departures before then are very heavily subscribed and no seats are available at reasonable prices.

One feasible option may be Aeroflot. The leading Russian airline has reasonable availability at decent prices from Bangkok and Tokyo on 25 March and Kuala Lumpur on 27 March. Visa-free airside transit is currently allowed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, but that will only apply if you book a through flight.

Can I get home from Australia and New Zealand?

Travellers in Australia and New Zealand are seeing options closing down almost by the hour. While Qantas has been operating its nonstop between Perth and Heathrow – which has the huge advantage of no en-route stops – bookings are very heavy.

Singapore has banned transit passengers, which means that route is now closed – and both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also to close.

Air New Zealand has ended its Auckland-Heathrow link.

Travelling back from Latin America

There are troubling stories from those attempting to return to the UK. More than 600 travellers are stranded in Peru.The country is under lockdown, with official permission required for any non-local journey.

On Sunday British travellers were emailed to say that “several repatriation flights” should operate this week – with passengers asked to pay only £250, after they have returned home safely. But there is still no clarity about when or where the flights will depart (except that they may take off from military airports instead of civilian facilities).

The Independent has also heard from travellers in neighbouring Bolivia about the sheer impossibility of leaving due to the multiple travel bans in force.

Further north, a group of 20 young British travellers on a volunteering mission in Honduras are still unable to get home.

Travellers in Mexico can access daily flights to the UK – but to reach Mexico from Honduras requires transiting Guatemala.

Is there a travel ban from North America?

No. Flights are continuing from both the US and Canada, with United Airlines and others planning transatlantic links to and from Heathrow until further notice – or until further flight bans or a complete collapse in demand renders them unviable.

What about Africa? 

Kenya Airways is shutting down, and many African countries are imposing no-fly bans. But British Airways is continuing to fly from South Africa, and Ethiopian Airlines is offering connecting flights from a wide range of destinations through its Addis Ababa hub.

Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

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Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

Is the Foreign Office doing enough?

Diplomatic and consular resources are impossibly stretched. Staff who normally have a workload of a few lost passports and medical emergencies each week are having to deal with thousands of distressed travellers. Anyone who can look after their own situation should do so, to allow consular staff to work with cases of urgent need.

After the coronavirus crisis passes, travellers will need to contemplate how we can sustain ourselves in far flung corners of the world, and consider the medical, psychological and financial stresses that travel can involve.

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Coronavirus will affect the airline industry for years to come but not all of it will be bad

The airline industry will wear the scars of the coronavirus pandemic for a very long time.

On 19 March, Qantas announced it was grounding its entire international fleet. American Airlines suspended three quarters of its long haul international flights on 16 March.

Significant demand shocks aren’t new to the airline industry. In this century alone, it has weathered the storms caused by the 2001 September 11 attacks and the 2002-04 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic.

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But we have never before seen a shock of this magnitude affecting the entire world for what looks as if it will be a very long time.

So, will the airline industry be able to handle this predicament? What role will and should the governments play? And, when all this is over, what will have changed for good?

Many airlines can’t survive as they are

Right now, the name of the game, not only for the airlines but for most businesses, is liquidity – having money regularly coming in through the door.

An otherwise-solvent enterprise incapable of securing sufficient liquidity to cover its current costs can be forced into bankruptcy, and extreme uncertainty doesn’t help.

Although the airline industry had a good decade overall, finishing each of the last ten years in the black, its profit margins remain low, and profitability differences between regions and carriers are rather high.

Most airlines only have enough cash reserves to cover a few months of their fixed costs (costs that have to be paid regardless of whether their planes are flying).

Three options

The dynamics of the disease’s spread suggest that the extreme disruption we are seeing will stay with us for many months.

Governments will have to make hard decisions.

Broadly, they’ve three options:

  • let the struggling private airlines fall
  • offer them liquidity to help weather the storm
  • nationalise them, as the Italian government already has with Alitalia

I expect governments to use (and misuse) all three, with a significant number of small airlines (and potentially several mid-sized airlines) going out of business in the process.

The main argument that will be used for not allowing airlines to fail will be that connectivity will be an important driver of the post-crisis recovery.

This wider economic benefit will be emphasised by the governments that choose to bail out or nationalise their carriers.

Big airlines might get help, even if they’re weak

I expect larger carriers to receive priority treatment by governments based on the fact that they provide more connectivity, sometimes without regard to their long term viability.

This means that once the pandemic is over, travellers will likely find a more concentrated airline market, with fewer carriers in operation. A greater proportion of them will be government owned.

To start with, flight frequency will be lower and planes might be emptier, depending on the fleet mix the surviving airlines will use.

Whether prices will be higher or lower will depend on the interplay of demand and supply.

Fewer airlines and fewer flights would tend to drive airfares up, while lower demand and lower fuel prices after what is shaping up to be a global recession would drive airfares down. The net outcome is anyone’s guess.

I also expect an acceleration of product unbundling (food, drinks, baggage allowances and so on being sold separately), especially if recovery is slow and surviving airlines are under pressure to cut costs.

Last but not least, I should mention that it’s not only the airlines. Airports, aircraft manufacturers, and air navigation service providers will also find themselves under financial stress as demand evaporates.

The COVID-19 pandemic will stress-test the entire civil aviation industry, and when it is over – at least in the first months and maybe for years – the travelling public will return to an industry that has changed.

Volodymyr Bilotkach ​is an Associate Professor at Singapore Institute of Technolog​. This article first appeared on The Conversation.

 

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Discover the British Isles' dozen most delightfully remote hotels

From the Channel Islands to Scotland’s Rannoch Moor: Discover the British Isles’ dozen most delightfully remote hotels

  • Little Sark, on the Channel Islands, has a Toytown feel with bicycles and horses and carts standing in for cars
  • Hell Bay is England’s most westerly hotel and is made up of 25 chalets on Bryher on the Isles of Scilly 
  • Arkell House is on Rathlin Island, off the coast of County Antrim. It has three-brightly coloured rooms 

From hotels on tiny, car-free islands to forts in the middle of the sea, there are some fantastic places to really feel cut off from the rest of the world. 

And best of all, they don’t need to cost the earth. 

La Sablonnerie, Little Sark, Channel Islands

On the tiny island of Sark, pictured, in the Channel Islands, bicycles and horses and carts stand in for cars

Remote rating: Arrive on the tiny island of Sark and it already feels as if you’ve time-travelled back a century – bicycles and horses and carts stand in for cars, and there’s a Toytown feel to the place, with its dinky stone prison and red fire cart. Little Sark, across a narrow isthmus known as La Coupée, is one step on in the seclusion stakes.

The hotel: La Sablonnerie Hotel, run by the charismatic Elizabeth Perrée, is unashamedly old-fashioned – you won’t find televisions or wi-fi in the 22 rooms but you will be able to explore a quintessential English country garden. 

The food is unforgettable, particularly the local lobster and scallops.

Cost: B&B stays cost from £97.50pp a night (sablonneriesark.com).

The White House Hotel, Herm, Channel Islands

The gloriously sandy Shell Beach on Herm, which is 20 minutes from Guernsey on the ferry. Herm is a car-free island 

Remote rating: It may be only 20 minutes by ferry from Guernsey, but Herm, which is just one-and-a-half miles by half a mile, could be in another world. Distances are measured in minutes rather than miles – one sign by the gloriously sandy Shell Beach reads: ‘Toilets six minutes.’ Wild and charming, the car-free island is home to tiny coves, craggy cliffs and 60 residents, although summer day-trippers boost that number considerably.

The hotel: They’ve finally allowed clocks in the 40 traditional bedrooms at The White House (a ten-minute walk from the harbour), but there are still no phones or televisions. The hotel has a slightly lived-in look, but there is a pool and great sea views.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £145 a night (herm.com/hotel).

Hell Bay, Bryher, Isles of Scilly

Hell Bay, pictured, is England’s most westerly point. It is located on the island of Bryher on the Isles of Scilly 

Remote rating: America is the next stop after Hell Bay on the wild Atlantic coast. Traffic on the charmingly quirky pint-sized island comes in the form of hikers and dog-walkers, and there are plenty of reminders of yesteryear in the countryside, including stalls with goods for sale and honesty boxes.

The hotel: England’s most westerly hotel, Hell Bay has 25 cottages and clapboard chalets with a Caribbean feel, done out in sea blues and greens, interspersed with cream. As well as fine dining, there’s an excellent Crab Shack in the grounds, and a heated pool.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £190 a night (hellbay.co.uk).

Spitbank Fort, The Solent, Hampshire

The only way to reach Spitbank Fort, which dates back to the 1860s, is to take a private boat – and there is only one transfer a day 

Remote rating: The only way to reach this 1860s fort in the Solent is by private boat – and there is only one transfer a day. One of four circular forts built to protect Portsmouth’s naval dockyard from a threatened French attack, Spitbank has sublime sea views.

The hotel: The rooftop hot tub is the perfect spot for viewing passing yachts, preferably with a glass of champagne in hand. Among the eight classically decorated rooms in this adults-only hotel is the Crows Nest, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows for more of those sea views.

Cost: Full-board doubles cost from £425 a night including transfer from Portsmouth (solentforts.com).

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa, Llanwddyn, Powys

Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales, which was created in 1880 as a reservoir to supply Liverpool. The surrounding woodland is protected by the RSPB 

Remote rating: Created in 1880 as a reservoir to supply Liverpool, Lake Vyrnwy now looks more like a natural lake, and is surrounded by woodland protected by the RSPB. There are plenty of great hiking routes nearby. This is also mountain-bike country, while all the usual watersports are available on the lake.

The hotel: Standing in splendid isolation on a forested hillside, the Victorian building boasts incredible views of the mountain-ringed lake from some of its 52 slightly chintzy rooms.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £120 a night (lakevyrnwy.com). 

The Gathering, Knoydart, Inverness-shire

The sunrise overlooking Lada Bheinn in Knoydart, in the Scottish Highlands 

The only way to reach Knoydart, on Scotland’s west coast, is to take a 25-minute ferry from Mallaig 

Remote rating: Knoydart, on Scotland’s west coast, may be on the mainland but the only way to reach it is a 25-minute ferry journey from Mallaig, or an 18-mile walk over the hills from Kinloch Hourn.

The hotel: A five-minute walk from the pier in the village of Inverie, The Gathering has six contemporary bedrooms, with wooden floors and tartan throws, plus a slick self-catering cottage. There are views over Loch Nevis, a new all-day restaurant, plus a hot tub for soothing those sore muscles after long hikes. The Knoydart Brewery next door delivers its beer in a wheelbarrow.

Cost: B&B stays cost from £59 per person a night (thegatheringknoydart.co.uk).

Moor of Rannoch, Rannoch Station, Perth and Kinross

Rannoch Moor is 50 square miles of boggy moorland with small lochs, rivers and rocky outcrops 

Remote rating: Yes, it’s right next to a railway station and you can get there on the Caledonian Sleeper from London, but Rannoch Moor is one of Europe’s last great wildernesses – 50 square miles of boggy moorland with small lochs, rivers and rocky outcrops. Unsurprisingly, it’s home to a variety of birdlife as well as grouse and deer.

The hotel: Don’t expect TVs, wi-fi or mobile coverage in this restaurant with five rooms. Instead, you’ll find a communal jigsaw in the lounge, more than 100 malt whiskies in the bar that’s always open, and binoculars in the bedrooms, decorated in purple and grey, with tartan touches. The food is pretty good too – and you can get a picnic to take exploring.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £195 a night (moorofrannoch.co.uk).

Baltasound Hotel, Unst, Shetland Islands

Unst, pictured, is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles. The island has a population of just 500 people 

Remote rating: Once you’ve flown to Shetland, it still takes two car ferries to reach Unst, the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles. The island (population 500) has a Scandi-Scottish vibe, with Viking history and Shetland ponies to be found along the walking trails that encompass cliffs, beaches, peat bogs and freshwater lochs. There are rare flowers, too, at the Keen of Hamar nature reserve.

The hotel: The Baltasound has the accolade of being Britain’s most northerly hotel. The 24 rooms – split between wooden cabins in the grounds and traditional rooms in the main house – are simply kitted out but the real luxury is outside.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £130 a night (baltasoundhotel.co.uk). 

Delphi Lodge, Leenane, County Galway

Remote rating: In a wild, unspoilt valley with rivers famous for salmon fishing, the 1,000-acre Delphi estate is surrounded by the tallest mountains in Connemara. Prince Charles came here to sketch the scenery, which says it all.

The hotel: Once the Marquess of Sligo’s sporting lodge, this hideaway now has 13 rooms, done out in fresh chintz. There are no TVs, phone coverage is patchy, and guests dine together at one long oak table. There is, though, a snooker room and lovely log fires.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £192 a night (delphilodge.ie).

Inis MeÁin, Aran Islands, County Galway

The windswept Inis Meáin, which is the least visited of the Aran Islands, located off Ireland’s west coast 

Remote rating: Set right on the edge of Europe, windswept Inis Meáin is the least visited of the trio of Aran Islands off Ireland’s west coast. Those who do venture here will discover a landscape of limestone contours and dry-stone walls, cliffs and beaches.

The hotel: It may take inspiration from the landscape but Inis Meáin is proof that isolated doesn’t necessarily mean rough and ready.

The five sleek suites – all wood, limestone and granite – have an air of Japanese simplicity. Forget the lack of phone signal and TVs, the entertainment here is fishing, cycling and walking. Breakfast is delivered in the morning, a picnic lunch is provided, and dinner is a tasty affair of Atlantic fish or home-reared meat.

Cost: Four nights’ full board for two costs from £2,130 (inismeain.com).

Arkell House, Rathlin Island, County Antrim

A warm welcome: One of the three cosy bedrooms at Arkell House on Rathlin off the coast of Northern Ireland 

Remote rating: The 140-strong population of this rugged island off the coast of Northern Island is far outnumbered by seals and seabirds from April to July. Rathlin is also where Robert the Bruce reputedly watched a spider trying to spin a web in a cave. The spider eventually succeeded, prompting Robert to vow to fight the English one more time, defeating them at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The hotel: On the water’s edge, Arkell House has three brightly decorated rooms. The B&B, which provides picnic lunches and dinner, also has its own boat for transfers and island tours.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £70 a night (rathlincottages.co.uk). 

Scarista House, Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides

Remote rating: With a three-mile sandy beach and Atlantic views on one side and heather-clad mountains on the other, Scarista House makes for a great Hebridean hideaway. Although Lewis and Harris is Scotland’s largest isle, it is still exceedingly tranquil and home to plentiful wildlife, from deer to dolphins. You will also find some of the oldest rocks in the world here.

The hotel: Apart from the setting, the main draw of Scarista House is its delicious food – local shellfish and meat, as well as home-made bread, cakes and ice cream. The six rooms are comfy, if a tad dated.

Cost: B&B doubles cost from £197 a night with afternoon tea (scaristahouse.com). 

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