TUI cancels Christmas: Tour operator suspends all trips to Lapland

TUI cancels Christmas: Tour operator suspends all trips to see Santa in Lapland this winter because of coronavirus pandemic

  • Tui made the decision because it could not guarantee to ‘keep the magic alive’
  • The tour operator added that they will resume trips to the Finnish region in 2021
  • Customers with cancelled holidays are being offered the opportunity to rebook

Tui has cancelled all Lapland holidays for customers from the UK and Ireland this winter.

The tour operator made the decision as it could not guarantee it would ‘keep the magic alive’ for families visiting the Finnish region due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It said in a statement: ‘Tui UK and Ireland today regrets to confirm it has made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend holidays to Lapland this winter, due to the continued uncertainty surrounding travel and the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.

The tour operator made the decision as it could not guarantee it would ‘keep the magic alive’ for families visiting the Finnish region due to the coronavirus pandemic (file photo)

Tui said in a statement: ‘Tui UK and Ireland today regrets to confirm it has made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend holidays to Lapland this winter, due to the continued uncertainty surrounding travel and the unprecedented impact of Covid-19’ (file photo)

‘Visiting Santa is a truly magical, once-in-a-lifetime family experience, and Tui has worked extremely hard in recent months to try to ensure it can keep the magic alive and guarantee children and their parents a safe and enjoyable holiday.

‘However, with the rapidly evolving travel environment and a Covid test soon to be mandatory for Finland, Tui UK and Ireland has decided that, on this occasion, it would not be able to deliver on this promise and wanted to remove uncertainty for families.’

Tui added that it will resume Lapland trips in winter 2021.

Customers with cancelled holidays are being offered the opportunity to rebook for next year, a refund credit note with a ‘generous incentive’, or a cash refund (file photo)

Customers with cancelled holidays are being offered the opportunity to rebook for next year, a refund credit note with a ‘generous incentive’, or a cash refund.

Lapland introduced safety measures in response to the pandemic, including plastic screens to separate Santa from children and elves wearing face coverings.

The Finnish government has announced leisure travel from the UK will be allowed from November 23 by visitors who have proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

No quarantine period will be required for trips of up to 72 hours.

For longer stays, visitors will need to self-isolate for 72 hours before taking a second test.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (file photo) told an aviation industry conference that work on a ‘test and release’ system for the border was making ‘very good progress’

They will be released from quarantine if they receive another negative result.

Meanwhile UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday quarantine for arrivals is set to be slashed from 14 days after the lockdown ends.

The Transport Secretary said work on a ‘test and release’ system for the border was making ‘very good progress’.

He also claimed the mass testing programme launched in Liverpool last week gives ‘hope for optimism’ that quarantine-free travel could be possible.

People arriving in the UK from countries without a travel corridor are required to self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The aviation industry has repeatedly called for these restrictions to be eased for people who test negative for Covid-19.

There have been strong rumours that the quarantine could be reduced to as little as seven days, in what would be a desperately needed boost to airlines and business. 

Mr Shapps is co-chairman of the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which was set up last month to consider measures to support the sector.

In a speech to the annual conference of trade body the Airport Operators Association, he said: ‘I want you to know that we’ve been making very good progress on a test to release programme, to launch once we’re out of this lockdown.

Heathrow and other UK airports have been hammered by the coronavirus restrictions on travel

‘This will consist of a single test for arrivals into the UK provided by the private sector at a cost to the passenger, allowing us a much-reduced period of self-isolation.

‘Beyond the lockdown, this should encourage more people to be able to book flights with confidence, knowing there is an option which allows them to shorten self-isolation if they’re going somewhere which isn’t in – or does become outside – a travel corridor.’

Mr Shapps said the taskforce – which is due to make its initial recommendations by the end of this month – has been ‘working extensively’ with health experts and the private testing sector on the new regime.

He added: ‘We will report to the Prime Minister, as promised, with recommendations on how we can support the recovery of international tourism and travel, and of course increase consumer confidence.’

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