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The best places to find wildflowers in Colorado this summer

If you want to see some of the most beautiful alpine plants along our stretch of the Rockies, you’ll have to do some work.

Many of the best places to see wildflowers, especially the striking alpine wildflowers, require you to hike. Hey, the mountains ain’t no backyard garden where you can tiptoe through the tulips!

Having said that, the Denver Botanic Gardens does offer a chance to see wildflowers at its urban York Street site, the offspring of the garden at Mount Goliath on the shoulders of Mount Evans. And that’s a good option for people who can’t get the high country.

“But it’s just not the same,” said Amy Schneider, who should know, since she has served as Goliath’s gardener since 2009. “It’s so much better to see them where they naturally grow.”

Goliath started as a satellite location to the Denver Botanic Gardens back in the 1950s, Schneider said, so people could see wildflowers where they grow. Now she collects seeds from the plants, takes them down to the York Street gardens and plants them. She takes some of the seedlings back to Goliath.

Schneider encourages people to get out to see the plants in their natural environment as much as they can.

“We recommend everywhere,” she said, when asked for wildflower hot spots.

OK. But she does have some favorite places, and so do we. Here are some areas where you should be able to see wildflowers, especially in mid- to late July, when blooms tend to peak.

Note: These places feature a lot of alpine hikes, and as such, you’ll experience a lot of extreme Colorado summer weather, including strong sun, wind and storms that can gather suddenly and hammer you. So keep an eye on the clouds. And as you’re running back to the forest as the thunder rumbles, you may be tempted to pity those poor flowers. But they’ve adapted to that environment for thousands of years. As long as you watch your step, so you don’t trample the poor things, they will live on.

“Don’t feel sorry for them,” Schneider said. “They’re tough.”

Mount Goliath on Mount Evans

But again, that takes some effort. If you’re unsure about traversing peaks, Goliath is a good place to start. The peak is just outside Idaho Springs off the Mount Evans Road (Colorado 5), making it the highest cultivated garden in the U.S.

It’s a relatively safe hike, with restrooms at the Dos Chappell Nature Center (but no other locations), and you can hike the M. Water Pesman Trail, which makes it hard to get lost. But it’s not an easy hike, it is steep and rocky and the elevation ranges from 11,500 to 12,100 feet as it winds through wildflowers for a 3-mile round-trip adventure.

“There are tons of wildflowers along that trail,” Schneider said. “We just try to show the public plants they may not see otherwise.”

South Arapaho Peak via the Fourth of July trailhead near Nederland

This is my personal favorite, and you don’t have to climb the 13,397-foot peak to enjoy the bunches of wildflowers growing along the trail. The road leading to the trailhead is rough, so a 4WD vehicle is best, although you can probably make it with a hardy passenger car. You should expect to hike at least a mile on the trail, but you won’t have to hike too far above treeline before you’re rewarded with colorful blooms.

Crested Butte has an annual Wildflower Festival in mid-July

The city calls itself the “wildflower capital of Colorado,” which is a pretty darn bold boast, but perhaps you can make them prove it. The festival has decided to cancel in-person events this year. Learn more at crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com. But don’t worry, the area trails will lead hikers and bikers through fields of wildflowers.

Shrine Pass in Vail

The pass, one of Schneider’s favorite places, is along the border of Eagle and Summit counties west of Frisco and 2 miles northwest of Vail Pass. The ridge trail through colorful blooms is a 4-mile out-and-back. Vail is also home to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, always worth a visit.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Many hikes in this area offer great views of wildflowers, but my favorite is the hike to Blue Lake, a 6-mile gorgeous adventure. The hike to Lake Isabelle is also fun and about half as long as the hike to Blue Lake.

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Yankee Boy Basin

This place is just outside Ouray and famous for the 14er it leads to, Mount Sneffels, a challenging peak. But, again, you don’t have to climb the peak to enjoy the flowers that grow along the basin. Basins are great spots for wildflowers, Schneider said. And lakes sitting in a cirque of mountains should offer wild displays. “If anything has ‘basin’ in its name,” she said, “you should just go.”

The Lady Moon Trail near Red Feather Lakes up Poudre Canyon

This is a good spot to visit in May or June, depending on snow conditions.

Leavenworth Creek

This Jeep road off Colorado 381 (Guanella Pass Road) takes you southwest of Georgetown. It features multiple dispersed campsites and lots of nice flowers.

Ice Lakes Basin

This area, near Silverton, is far from Denver, but it’s also one of the best places to see wildlflowers. The San Juan Mountains are a magical place for just about anything.

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Holidays 2020: Government issues major update for Portugal & Cyprus as travel rules change

Holidays to a whole host of countries are now back on cards for Britons. Unfortunately, travel to Portugal and Cyprus still comes with many complications. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated their travel advice to the two holiday destinations.

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Portugal

Britons are able to now visit Portugal but they will have to quarantine for two weeks on their return to the UK.

Different rules apply to mainland Portugal and its autonomous regions.

“Travel to Portugal is subject to entry restrictions,” explained the FCO.

“On arrival in mainland Portugal you will be subject to health screening.

“Your temperature will be checked and if it is high or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities.”

As for travellers heading to Madeira or Porto Santo: “You need to complete and submit a traveller questionnaire 24-48 hours before you arrive.

“On arrival, you will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, carried out 72 hours before you arrive, or take a test on arrival and await the results within 12 hours at your accommodation.”

On entry to the Azores, the FCO detailed: “You need to complete and submit a health form on arrival.

“You will also need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out 72 hours before you arrive, or take a test on arrival and await the results at your accommodation.

“If you are staying for more than seven days, you will have to repeat the test locally six days after the first test.

“If you cannot fulfil the entry requirements, you will be required to return to your country of origin.

“You will have to self-isolate at your accommodation until the time of your return flight.”

Portugal, Madeira and the Azores were not included in the list of 74 countries Britons can travel to quarantine-free.

“If you’re returning to the UK, you will need to: provide your journey and contact details and self-isolate for 14 days,” explained the FCO.

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Cyprus

Cyprus is now exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.

However, the country is not currently accepting Britons.

The FCO explained: “You cannot enter Cyprus if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days.”

You will also not be allowed to enter via a third country such as Greece until further notice.

This rule could change from August 1.

The FCO continued: “The exception to this is legal residents of Cyprus and Cypriot ID holders who will be permitted to enter Cyprus on presentation of proof of residence or Cypriot nationality and a negative PCR (antibody) test result (taken in the 72 hours before departure).

Cyprus has divided countries into two categories, A and B, based on the internationally available epidemiological data.

“If you’re a British national travelling from a category A country you will be allowed to enter Cyprus,” detailed the FCO.

“If you’re a British national travelling from a Category B country, and have not been in the UK (or any other Category C country) in the last 14 days, you will also be allowed to enter Cyprus with a negative PCR test result (taken in the previous 72 hours).”

The Foreign Office continued: “Further details are available from the Republic of Cyprus Information Office.

“If eligible to travel, you should make sure that you complete your Cyprus Flight Pass before travelling, available on the Cyprus Flight Pass website.

“The authorities in the north of Cyprus are allowing entry to ‘citizens’ and foreign nationals who hold residency, work or student permits.

“Any UK national will be permitted entry from July 1 but will still be required to present a negative PCR test result (taken in the previous 72 hours) and go into quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.”

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World War 3: Holidays in jeopardy amid rising China tensions – where’s safe to travel?

World War 3 is a phenomenon that everyone fears at some point in their lives. From US-Iran to China-India tensions, it seems that the world is constantly on the brink of war. And for travel, this means that future holidays to certain destinations could be at risk.

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For those wishing to take a safe holiday abroad, these are the safest countries in the world which are home to a number of underground bunkers.

UK

Surprisingly, the UK is home to numerous underground bunkers that were built during the peak of the Cold War.

The bunkers are located in people’s back gardens, major cities and under people’s houses.

Drakelow Tunnels in Worcestershire is home to a series of tunnels, and Kingsway Telephone Exchange in London underneath High Holborn street was built as an air-raid shelter in the 1940s.

York is also home to a Cold War bunker that was built in 1961 to monitor nuclear attacks.

Albania

Albania is home to 170,000 bunkers which were built in the 1960s and 1970s.

There are rumours that there were in fact 750,000 built but this has not been disclosed.

Many of the bunkers are not habitable.

However, it is rumoured that there’s enough for one bunker per four people, making it a perfect holiday destination for those wishing to remain safe.

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USA

The US is probably the most provocative country when it comes to World War 3 tensions.

But surprisingly, the country is home to various bunkers.

The US government built secret doomsday bunkers for federal employees in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

They also constructed nuclear-hardened communication towers throughout Washington so the White House could reach other top-level survivors.

Sweden

There are reportedly around 65,000 bunkers in Sweden.

The country has a population of 10.2 million, meaning the around 70 percent would be protected from a possible attack.

Sweden’s government has offered an online map to locate the bunkers if there is a national emergency.

Switzerland

Switzerland has multiple underground bunkers for its population, making it not only safe but potentially bomb-proof.

Back in 1963, every household was required to build an underground bunker.

The country hasn’t fought a war in over two centuries and has remained famously “neutral” throughout some of the world’s greatest conflicts.

It is estimated that the country is home to around 300,000 shelters, making it a top contender for avoiding a potential war.

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Saudi Arabia's Red Sea climate will appeal to summer tourists, says CEO

John Pagano, the CEO of the Red Sea Development Company, said that he expects 50% of the project’s visitors to come from abroad


2. Saudi Arabia’s ‘Maldives’

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development expects approximately half of its visitors to come from abroad and does not foresee significant competition from nearby tourist destinations such as Egypt’s Sinai or Dubai, according to John Pagano, the CEO of the Red Sea Development Company.

Upon completion in 2030, the Red Sea project will deliver up to 8,000 hotel keys across 22 islands and six inland sites, covering 28,000 sq km.

The first phase of the development will eventually include 16 hotels, totalling 3,000 hotel keys across five islands and two inland locations.

In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Pagano said that he expects a “50-50 split” between domestic Saudi tourists and international visitors.

“Clearly Western Europe and Asia probably top the list [of source markets],” he said. “Not everyone travels larger distances, but definitely from a European perspective, I think we’re going to resonate extremely well. But we’ve also got our local market and the GCC.”

Summer visitors

Additionally, Pagano said he didn’t foresee a particular challenge from Dubai, with the Red Sea project expecting many regional visitors in the summer months when tourism in Dubai traditionally dips.

“One thing I feel confident about is our climate … I’ve been to Dubai in the summer months. It’s hot, and it’s very humid. The Red Sea is a totally different climate. Our average summertime temperatures are in the low 30s, and we don’t have the excessive heat,” he said.

“I think our source markets will change through the time of year,” Pagano added. “Clearly, winter months are going to be more attractive to Western Europeans and Asians versus the summer months, when I think it’s going to be an attractive place for people who want to escae the heat but don’t want to go too far.”

Pagano said that he believes that the project will attract a significant number of Saudi tourists who – in the absence of domestic options – have traditionally taken holidays in locations such as Dubai or Bahrain.

“Saudis spend something like $16 or $17 million a year in outbound tourism,” he said. “Now, they can have options here in the kingdom, and I think that’s going to resonate well…..There’s lots of other destinations, but when you look at the totality of what we have an offer, I think it’s going to differentiate us from the rest of field.”

A full interview with John Pagano will feature in an upcoming edition of Arabian Business magazine.

                                 

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic

Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic hoping to coax visitors back to its beaches and cavernous shopping malls

  • Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it has reopened to tourists from today 
  • Tourists must have a negative Covid-19 test within 96 hours of flying to Dubai 
  • Otherwise, they will be tested on arrival and isolated while awaiting the results 
  • Travellers to the sheikdom must also have health insurance covering Covid-19 

From French soccer jerseys to slick online campaigns, Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it has reopened for tourism today. But what that means for this sheikhdom that relies on the dollars, pounds, rupees and yuan spent by travellers remains in question.

With travel uncertain and the coronavirus still striking nations Dubai relies on for tourists, this city-state wants to begin coaxing people back to its beaches and its cavernous shopping malls. 

By instilling the idea that Dubai is safe, authorities likely hope to fuel interest in the sheikhdom ahead of its crucial tourist-heavy winter months.

Front desk staff wearing masks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic help customers at the Rove City Centre Hotel in Dubai, which reopened to tourists today

A front desk employee at the Rove City Centre Hotel wears a mask as he works on his computer

A mask-wearing employee with a thermometer waits to check guests’ temperatures at the Rove City Centre Hotel, Dubai 

But all that depends on controlling a virus that the United Arab Emirates as a whole continues to fight. Armed with thermometers, mandatory face masks and hand sanitiser, Dubai is wagering it is ready.

‘I think that will give people confidence – when they´re ready to travel – to come to Dubai,’ said Paul Bridger, the corporate director for operations at Dubai-based Rove Hotels. 

‘It will take time to come back… We are expecting to be one of the first markets to be back because of the confidence that we can give to people that are travelling.’

That Dubai is a tourist destination at all is largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put this one-time pearling post on the map. 

Attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel draw transit passengers out of Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel.

In 2019 alone, Dubai welcomed 16.7million international guests, up from 15.9million the year before, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. 

The top seven tourist-sending nations were India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Oman, China, Russia and the U.S. The city’s 741 hotels saw around 75 per cent occupancy for the year, with visitors staying on average three-and-a-half days.

Dubai authorities hope to fuel interest in the sheikhdom ahead of its crucial winter months for tourism. Pictured is an employee making coffee at the Rove City Centre Hotel 

Tourists to Dubai fuel its vast restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. Pictured is a hotel staff member at the Rove City Centre Hotel serving coffee to guests 

Those travellers also fuel Dubai’s vast restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. Though drinking is illegal in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah and the nations of Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, alcohol sales remain a crucial part of Dubai’s economy.

But even before the pandemic, lower global energy prices, a 30 per cent drop in the city´s real estate market value and trade war fears have led employers to shed staff. The virus outbreak accelerated those losses, especially as Dubai has postponed its Expo 2020, or world’s fair, to next year over the pandemic.

That makes reopening for tourism that much more important, even though Dubai’s top three tourist-feeding countries remain hard-hit by the virus, said Rabia Yasmeen, a consultant at the market-research firm Euromonitor International. 

Even retail sales are affected by tourism, with some 35 per cent of all revenue coming from tourists, she said.

‘It´s good for them to go ahead and announce because there needs to be a call for the confidence to come back,’ Yasmeen said. ‘Someone has to take that step first to show the world.’

An employee wearing a mask fogs disinfectant in a hotel room at the Rove City Centre Hotel

In 2019 alone, Dubai welcomed 16.7million international guests, up from 15.9million the year before 

And Dubai has, in typical headline-baiting fashion, taken those steps. French football club Olympique Lyonnais, under a sponsorship with Emirates, wore ‘Dubai Is Open’ jerseys at a recent match. 

Dubai passport controllers have begun putting stickers on foreigners’ passports reading in English and Arabic: ‘A warm welcome to your second home.’

But there’s a risk, particularly in allowing more travel as the virus stalks other countries. Emirates stopped flying to Pakistan over virus fears. 

Across the seven sheikhdoms that form the United Arab Emirates, there have been over 50,000 confirmed cases of the virus among the nine million people living here, with some 40,000 recoveries and 321 deaths.

A man stands in an elevator decorated with a graphic showing the video game character Pac-Man eating the coronavirus at the Rove City Centre Hotel

An Emirati wearing a face mask walks past a camel statue decorated with a face mask at the Rove City Centre Hotel

Traffic speeds down the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Dubai is a tourist destination largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put this one-time pearling post on the map

At Rove Hotels, a new budget chain run by state-linked firms Emaar and Meraas, thermometer-carrying staffers check the temperature of everyone coming inside. Cleaners fog disinfectants over rooms and wipe down tables and chairs. Even a camel statue and an oversized stuffed animal wore a mask. 

The chain, like others in Dubai, also has sought outside certification over its cleaning routines on top of fulfilling government regulations.

‘It’s kind of the icing on the cake to give people comfort that we´re following those standards,’ Bridger said.

There are still risks. In order to travel, tourists must take a Covid-19 test within 96 hours of their flight and show the airline a negative result. Otherwise, they will be tested on arrival and required to isolate while awaiting the results, which travellers say typically takes a few hours.

Travellers must also have health insurance covering Covid-19 or sign a declaration agreeing to cover the costs of treatment and isolation.

‘A key question comes in: Is the traveller ready to come to Dubai?’ Yasmeen asked. ‘That’s a big question mark.’

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UK holidays: Ferry holidays boom as Britons head for staycation spots in the UK

This year has been whirlwind for the travel and tourism sector which has seen an unprecedented drop in revenue. The coronavirus pandemic, which sent the UK into lockdown in March, shocked the world and saw most countries impose stringent travel restrictions. But as the coronavirus cases fall, travel appears to be back on the cards both domestically and internationally.

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Ferry holidays appear to be on the up as one of the best-equipped sectors of the travel industry.

One ferry company, Stena Line, has just recorded its best booking week for passenger travel in July and August.

Like camping and caravan holidays, ferries offer travellers the chance to travel safely and apply social distancing rules.

Ferries also offer fresh air which is continually circulated around shops and a range of new hygiene protocols to give passengers peace of mind.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director predicted that 2020 would be the “year of the staycation.”

He said: “With growing optimism that the current restriction on non-essential travel will be reviewed in the weeks ahead, more and more of our customers are making preparations to take a well-earned break to visit family, friends…or just travel to the places they love to be.”

He continued: “2020 looks like it will be the year of the staycation or as we say the year of the car-cation, and we are fully prepared to help our guests max out safely on their enjoyment and relaxation, as soon as they board our ships.”

Mr Grant also said that Stena Line has worked hard to try and make ferry holidays affordable.

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He added: “In these challenging economic times, we have also worked hard to provide great value, with fares from only £109 single car and driver, on our ex Belfast, Cairnryan, Holyhead and Fishguard sailings.

“It has been an extremely difficult time for everyone over the last few months so the opportunity to get away from it all, literally, may well be embraced as never before.”

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator in the Irish Sea with services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard.

There are 238 weekly routes between Britain and Ireland.

Industry body, Discover Ferries researched holiday trends and found that 73 percent of consumers want to travel in the UK and Europe this summer.

The company also said that ferries allow people to travel with their own cars, motorhomes, campervans or caravans.

With camping, caravans and motorhomes all seeing a huge spike in interest, ferries could become an even more popular choice.

Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries, says: “From day trips and staycations to European breaks, not only does ferry travel give passengers that feeling of escape but it offers a broad range of destinations where social distancing comes naturally.

“With an abundance of wildlife and beautiful sites in and around our coastlines and waterways, there has never been a better time to head off the beaten track and explore the flourishing nature on our doorstep.

“With wide public areas, open deck space and, on some routes, private cabins, ferry travel naturally lends itself well to social distancing.

“Additional Covid-compliant measures have been put in place to help keep passengers and crew safe and we hope this guide for socially-distant breaks will inspire the holidaymakers keen to travel this summer.”

Discover Ferries’ members operate over 80 ferry routes across the UK, Ireland and British Isles.

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Travel Writing Needs More Journalists of Color



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Black Couple Offers Safety Tips For Traveling To Jamaica (And Beyond) After International Borders Open



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Camping & caravan holidays: Worrying warning Britons should avoid travel to some UK spots

Staycations are anticipated to experience a boom in the late summer months following Boris Johnson’s announcement that domestic travel restrictions would be lifted across England. However, with booking numbers surging in some of the country’s most popular domestic destinations, travel expert Simon Calder provided a worrying warning.

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Appearing on ITV’S Lorraine this morning, the expert suggested Britons should reconsider holiday plans to certain destinations.

“You have to be aware all of the time of local sensitivities,” he warned.

“Sometimes those are depicted very strikingly in some of the messages which have been displayed to drivers heading north across the Scottish border from England.

“Tourism does not open there until July 15 at the earliest but you’ve got to be respectful, particularly of those islanders in the western and northern isles, who are simply not ready to receive people.”

Calder pointed out that concerns aren’t just happening in the regions where lockdown has not yet been lifted, but also in many of England’s most-loved holiday hotspots.

“Same story in Cornwall, with the County Council there who are responsible for tourism saying: ‘We really don’t like this quarantine idea because it’s going to mean more people are going to be trying to come to Cornwall.

“’It could mean more harm to our people. We are very very limited in our medical facilities.’

“So even though, yes, it could be a great rescue for the very hard-pressed hospitality industry right across the UK, there are problems.”

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It isn’t just British travellers that these areas are concerned about, following the decision to green-light quarantine-free travel between England and 59 countries worldwide, international holidaymakers also pose a threat.

In the early days of the pandemic, many locals living in beauty spots urged their fellow Britons not to visit for their allowed exercise time over fears of coronavirus spreading.

Though lockdown is now being relaxed further, the virus is far from being eradicated completely.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the UK has recorded 286,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

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Around 44,200 lives have been lost at a result.

However, travel insiders say that life must begin to resume for the UK’s industry to revive from the near-fatal blow COVID-19 served.

In April, Patricia Yates, chief executive of VisitBritain, said the domestic tourism industry would follow government guidelines but urged Britons to pay their part in helping to save the sector.

“First and foremost, the tourism industry stands united in supporting all measures taken to curb the outbreak and to address this immense global health emergency,” she said.

“If you have a favourite hotel or restaurant or attraction you could buy a voucher for a future visit to help with cash flow,” she added.

“Our tourist sector is one of the most vibrant and successful in the world – it needs you to make sure it bounces back once more.”

UK airlines are also eager to get international tourism thriving again now that the air corridors have been confirmed.

easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Jet2 have all announced plans to further bolster their flight offering in the coming months of summer.

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