Britain’s biggest holiday firm is selling Spanish beach packages to the Costa Dorada for departure on 15 May – despite the severe lockdown measures in force in both the UK and Spain.
Tui is charging £323 for a week’s self-catering in the resort of Salou, including flights from Manchester to Reus and coach transfers.
Travel to a UK airport is in breach of current lockdown rules for the purposes of a holiday flight, and the Foreign Office warns against all-but-essential travel abroad until further notice.
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Tui appears confident, however, that the regulations will be eased sufficiently for a journey to Manchester airport.
The airport, normally Britain’s third-busiest, has closed Terminal 2, from which the Tui Airways flight is due to depart.
Currently Spain has a strict ban on foreign tourists. “Only Spanish citizens, those who are legally resident in Spain, frontier workers or those who can prove they need to enter Spain for essential reasons will be allowed to enter the country,” says the Foreign Office.
Almost all hotels and holiday apartments are closed, with only a very limited range of accommodation open. The nearest to Salou that is currently open is the Hotel Tortosa Parc in Tarragona, 10 miles away.
A Tui spokesperson said: “We are continuing to follow the advice from the FCO and are constantly reviewing our holiday programme.
“Spain is, of course, a destination which we are currently reviewing and we will be in touch with customers as soon as possible should their holiday be affected.”
Tui has cancelled all holidays since the FCO issued its first warning against overseas travel on 17 March, for departures up to and including 14 May.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, every holidaymaker whose trip is cancelled is supposed to receive a full cash refund within two weeks.
The Tui spokesperson said: “We have now contacted all 170,000 customer bookings impacted by cancellations until 15 May, and we are currently processing tens of thousands of refunds for customers who have requested them.
“On average they are taking four weeks to process. We’d like to apologise for the delay to our refund process and we would like to assure customers that our teams are working behind the scenes as quickly as possible.”
The company is now issuing “Refund Credit Notes” rather than cash refunds. Customers who want their money back must wait for the voucher to arrive and then ask for a cash refund.
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