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Dubai has been revealed as the best-rated destination in the world in Tripadvisor’s 2022 Travellers’ Choice Awards for destinations.

The winners were determined based on the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings specific to each award subcategory from travellers on Tripadvisor for accommodations, restaurants, and things to do in destinations worldwide over the 12 months between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021.

London is crowned the number one destination in Europe and second overall, while the rest of the top five comprises Cancun, Mexico (third); Bali, Indonesia (fourth), and the Greek island of Crete (fifth). The highest-ranking American destination is Las Vegas, which comes 25th overall.

Dubai, pictured, has been revealed as the best-rated destination in the world in Tripadvisor's 2022 Travellers' Choice Awards for destinations

Dubai, pictured, has been revealed as the best-rated destination in the world in Tripadvisor’s 2022 Travellers’ Choice Awards for destinations 

London is crowned the number one destination in Europe and second overall. Pictured is the city's iconic Tower Bridge

London is crowned the number one destination in Europe and second overall. Pictured is the city’s iconic Tower Bridge

According to Tripadvisor, the highest-ranking American destination is Las Vegas (pictured), which comes 25th overall

According to Tripadvisor, the highest-ranking American destination is Las Vegas (pictured), which comes 25th overall 

Other popular destinations to make it into the top 10 are Rome (sixth), Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas (seventh), the Turkish capital of Istanbul (eighth), Paris (ninth), and Hurghada in Egypt (10th).

Following Las Vegas in the US ranking is Oahu (second), Maui (third), Key West (fourth), New York (fifth), New Orleans (sixth), Savannah (seventh), Miami Beach (eighth), Nashville (ninth) and Sedona (10th).

The rest of the Europe top 10 is made up of Barcelona (sixth), Tenerife (seventh), Corsica (eighth), Edinburgh (ninth) and Florence (10th).

TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 – DESTINATIONS: THE MOST POPULAR OVERALL

IN THE WORLD

1. Dubai

2. London

3. Cancun

4. Bali

5. Crete

6. Rome

7. Cabo San Lucas

8. Istanbul

9. Paris

10. Hurghada

11. Barcelona

12. Marrakech

13. Tenerife

14. Corsica

15. New Delhi

16. Singapore

17. Edinburgh

18. Florence

19. Jaipur

20. Cusco

21. Bangkok

22. Doha

23. Phuket

24. Rio de Janeiro

25. Las Vegas

 Source: Tripadvisor

IN THE US 

1. Las Vegas

2. Oahu

3. Maui

4. Key West

5. New York City

6. New Orleans

7. Savannah

8. Miami Beach

9. Nashville

10. Sedona

11. Kauai

12. St. Augustine

13. Gatlinburg

14. Chicago

15. Pigeon Forge

16. San Francisco

17. San Diego

18. Washington DC

19. Seattle

20. Boston

21. Hilton Head

22. Scottsdale

23. Austin

24. Portland

25. Los Angeles

 

 IN EUROPE  

1. London

2. Crete

3. Rome

4. Istanbul

5. Paris

6. Barcelona

7. Tenerife

8. Corsica

9. Edinburgh

10. Florence

11. Madrid

12. Lisbon

13. Amsterdam

14. Athens

15. Porto

16. Corfu

17. Madeira

18. Venice

19. Prague

20. Liverpool

21. Island of Malta

22. Belek

23. Budapest

24. Krakow

25. Dublin

 

 

A temple in Bali. The Indonesian province lands fourth overall in Tripadvisor's 2022 Travellers' Choice Awards

A temple in Bali. The Indonesian province lands fourth overall in Tripadvisor’s 2022 Travellers’ Choice Awards

The island of Crete is fifth overall and finishes third in the 'Sun Seekers' category. Pictured is the Cretan city of Chania

The island of Crete is fifth overall and finishes third in the ‘Sun Seekers’ category. Pictured is the Cretan city of Chania 

Topping the list of ‘Trending Destinations’ – locations around the world seeing the greatest year-over-year growth in reviews and ratings on Tripadvisor – is Majorca, Spain.

Tripadvisor says: ‘This gorgeous island with picturesque seaside coves, children friendly beaches and grandiose Moorish architecture is set to get busier as travellers from across the globe set their sights on a Majorcan getaway, so Brits planning a 2022 trip there should book up soon to make sure they don’t miss out.’

The rest of the top ten includes Cairo (second); Rhodes in Greece (third); Tulum, Mexico (fourth); Croatia’s Dubrovnik (fifth); Ibiza (sixth); Natal in Brazil (seventh); Arusha in Tanzania (eighth); Turkey’s Goreme (ninth), and the Greek island of Santorini (10th).

Tripadvisor describes Majorca (pictured), which tops the trending destinations list, as a 'gorgeous island with picturesque seaside coves, children friendly beaches and grandiose Moorish architecture'

Tripadvisor describes Majorca (pictured), which tops the trending destinations list, as a ‘gorgeous island with picturesque seaside coves, children friendly beaches and grandiose Moorish architecture’

Next up? It’s the ‘Outdoor Enthusiasts’ category, which ranks the world’s National Parks. Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica takes the top spot on the podium.

Describing it as ‘one of Costa Rica’s top hiking destinations’, Tripadvisor says: ‘Arenal Volcano National Park offers a range of trails that wind through wildlife-rich rainforest and old lava flows, all anchored by one of the world’s most active volcanoes.’

India’s Jim Corbett National Park comes second overall, followed by the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania (third), the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya (fourth), and South Africa’s Kruger National Park (fifth).

Arenal Volcano National Park (pictured) in Costa Rica is the top-ranking national park for 2022 and 'offers a range of trails that wind through wildlife-rich rainforest and old lava flows, all anchored by one of the world's most active volcanoes'

Arenal Volcano National Park (pictured) in Costa Rica is the top-ranking national park for 2022 and ‘offers a range of trails that wind through wildlife-rich rainforest and old lava flows, all anchored by one of the world’s most active volcanoes’ 

Hampshire's New Forest National Park (pictured) ranks 10th in the world and first in Europe

Hampshire’s New Forest National Park (pictured) ranks 10th in the world and first in Europe

Snowdonia National Park in Wales, pictured above, places 11th overall in the 'Outdoor Enthusiasts' category (which ranks national parks), ranking above the likes of global big-hitters such as Banff National Park in Canada (12th globally), Grand Canyon National Park in the United States (15th globally) and Iceland's Vatnajokull National Park (19th globally)

Snowdonia National Park in Wales, pictured above, places 11th overall in the ‘Outdoor Enthusiasts’ category (which ranks national parks), ranking above the likes of global big-hitters such as Banff National Park in Canada (12th globally), Grand Canyon National Park in the United States (15th globally) and Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park (19th globally)

The UK’s national parks perform well – Hampshire’s New Forest National Park ranks 10th in the world and first in Europe, while Snowdonia National Park in Wales places 11th overall and is number two in Europe.

They both rank above the likes of global big-hitters such as Banff National Park in Canada (12th globally), Grand Canyon National Park in the United States (15th globally) and Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park (19th globally).

Other UK parks recognised by the awards include Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and Dartmoor National Park in Devon, placing sixth and seventh in Europe respectively.

Other highly-ranked parks included Fiordland National Park in New Zealand (sixth); the Denali National Park and Preserve in the US (seventh); Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park (eighth), and New Zealand’s Westland Tai Poutini National Park (ninth).

TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 – DESTINATIONS: TRENDING DESTINATIONS, OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS, AND FOOD LOVERS

 TRENDING DESTINATIONS

1. Majorca

2. Cairo

3. Rhodes

4. Tulum

5. Dubrovnik

6. Ibiza

7. Natal

8. Arusha

9. Goreme

10. Santorini

11. Paraty

12. Aruba

13. Split

14. Playa del Carmen

15. Island of Hawaii

16. Luxor

17. Dominican Republic

18. Charleston

19. St Martin / St Maarten

20. North Male Atoll

21. Zanzibar Island

22. La Fortuna de San Carlos

OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS

1. Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica 

2. Jim Corbett National Park, India 

Source: Tripadvisor

 

3. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

4. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

5. Kruger National Park, South Africa

6. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

7. Denali National Park and Preserve, US

8. Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania

9. Westland Tai Poutini National Park, New Zealand

10. New Forest National Park Hampshire, UK

11. Snowdonia National Park, UK

12. Banff National Park, Canada

13. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, Italy 

14. Jasper National Park, Canada

15. Grand Canyon National Park, US

16. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

17. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

18. Freycinet, Australia

19. Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

20. Grand Teton National Park, US

21. Bryce Canyon National Park, US

22. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

23. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Brazil

24. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia 

 25. Zion National Park, US

FOOD LOVERS

1. Rome

2. London

3. Paris

4. Dubai

5. Barcelona

6. Madrid

7. Sao Paulo

8. New York City

9. Bangkok

10. Singapore

11. Florence

12. Istanbul

13. Lisbon

14. Valencia

15. Naples

16. Cairo

17. Bordeaux

18. Cartagena

19. Lyon

20. New Orleans

21. Mexico City

22. Hanoi

23. Charleston

24. Marrakech

25. Hong Kong

 

In the 'Food Lovers' category, the gold medal goes to Rome - a city 'whetting the appetites of travellers from around the globe with its authentic pasta dishes and can't-miss gelato', according to Tripadvisor. Pictured is the city's Trevi Fountain

In the ‘Food Lovers’ category, the gold medal goes to Rome – a city ‘whetting the appetites of travellers from around the globe with its authentic pasta dishes and can’t-miss gelato’, according to Tripadvisor. Pictured is the city’s Trevi Fountain

Moving on to the ‘Food Lovers’ category, the gold medal goes to Rome – a city ‘whetting the appetites of travellers from around the globe with its authentic pasta dishes and can’t-miss gelato’, according to Tripadvisor.

The UK also triumphs in this category – London follows behind the Italian capital to take second place in the world and Europe. Also proving popular is Paris (third), Dubai (fourth), Barcelona (fifth), Madrid (sixth), Sao Paulo in Brazil (seventh), New York (eighth), Bangkok (ninth), and Singapore (10th).

Meanwhile, Dubai reigns supreme in the ‘City Lovers’ category, with Tripadvisor saying: ‘If you’re looking for a “Bright Lights, Big City” vibe, you can’t miss Dubai. Known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and lively nightlife, Dubai is the ultimate destination for city lovers.’

Paris, pictured, comes fifth in the 'City Lovers' category and third in the 'Food Lovers' ranking

Paris, pictured, comes fifth in the ‘City Lovers’ category and third in the ‘Food Lovers’ ranking

Tripadvisor says: 'For the many of us in need of a truly relaxing holiday, the white sand and sparkling azure waters of Cancun (pictured) are travellers' favourite place to enjoy fun in the sun.' The city is third overall and ranks number one in the 'Sun Seekers' category

Tripadvisor says: ‘For the many of us in need of a truly relaxing holiday, the white sand and sparkling azure waters of Cancun (pictured) are travellers’ favourite place to enjoy fun in the sun.’ The city is third overall and ranks number one in the ‘Sun Seekers’ category

Again, London does well here – it comes second in the world and ranks number one in Europe. Other cities that charmed TripAdvisor reviewers are Rome (third), Istanbul (fourth), Paris (fifth), Barcelona (sixth), Marrakech (seventh), Madrid (eighth), Cairo (ninth), and New Delhi, India (10th).

‘There’s sun, sea and sand aplenty to be enjoyed at these destinations,’ Tripadvisor says of the next category – ‘Sun Seekers’.

Cancun ranks number one, with the travel site noting: ‘For the many of us in need of a truly relaxing holiday, the white sand and sparkling azure waters of Cancun are travellers’ favourite places to enjoy fun in the sun.’

The rest of the sun-kissed top 10 is made up of Bali (second), Crete (third), Cabo San Lucas (fourth), Playa Del Carmen in Mexico (fifth), the Dominican Republic (sixth), Majorca (seventh), Hurghada (eighth), Tenerife (ninth) and Corsica (10th).

TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 – DESTINATIONS: SKIING, SUN SEEKERS, CITY LOVERS

CITY LOVERS

1. Dubai

2. London

3. Rome

4. Istanbul

5. Paris

6. Barcelona

7. Marrakech

8. Madrid

9. Cairo

10. New Delhi

11. Singapore

12. Edinburgh

13. Florence

14. Jaipur

15. Abu Dhabi

16. Cusco

17. Bangkok

18. Doha

19. Lisbon

20. Amsterdam

21. Las Vegas

22. Naples

23. Udaipur  

Source: Tripadvisor  

24. Athens 

25. Mumbai

SUN SEEKERS

1. Cancun

2. Bali

3. Crete

4. Cabo San Lucas

5. Playa del Carmen

6. Dominican Republic

7. Majorca

8. Hurghada

9. Tenerife

10. Corsica

11. Rhodes

12. Aruba

13. Phuket

14. Santorini

15. Rio de Janeiro

16. Sharm El Sheikh

17. Oahu

18. Goa

19. Jamaica

20. La Fortuna de San Carlos

21. Sedona

22. Praia Grande

23. Orlando

24. Campos Do Jordao

25. Banos

SKIERS

1. Zermatt, Switzerland

2. Jackson, US

3. Banff, Canada

4, Whistler, Canada

5. Queenstown, New Zealand

6. Ortisei, Italy 

7. Jasper, Canada

8. Park City, US

9. Chamonix, France

10. Breckenridge, US

11. Aspen, US

12. St. Moritz, Switzerland

13. L’Alpe d’Huez, France

14. Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

15. Livigno, Italy

16. Vail, US

17. Pinzolo, Italy 

18. Morzine, France

19. St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

20. San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

 

 

Zermatt (pictured) is ranked as the No.1 ski resort in the world. Tripadvisor says that it's an 'Alpine paradise'

Zermatt (pictured) is ranked as the No.1 ski resort in the world. Tripadvisor says that it’s an ‘Alpine paradise’

Where’s best for skiers? According to Tripadvisor, Zermatt in Switzerland is the number one ski resort in the world. It says: ‘Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is travellers’ favourite ski area in the town, described as an “Alpine paradise”.’

North America dominates the top 10 – in the USA, Jackson ranks in second place, followed by Park City (eighth) and Breckenridge (10th). Canada’s Banff (third), Whistler (fourth), and Jasper (seventh) also impressed Tripadvisor reviewers.

Other resorts that place highly include Queenstown in New Zealand (fifth), Ortisei in Italy (sixth), and Chamonix in France (ninth).

North America dominates the top 10 destinations for skiers - in the USA, Jackson (pictured) ranks in second place

North America dominates the top 10 destinations for skiers – in the USA, Jackson (pictured) ranks in second place

Canada's Whistler, pictured above, impressed Tripadvisor reviewers in the 'Skiers' category, ranking fourth

Canada’s Whistler, pictured above, impressed Tripadvisor reviewers in the ‘Skiers’ category, ranking fourth

Tripadvisor says: ‘If 2021 was the year travellers dipped their toes in the water with smaller getaways and outdoors trips, 2022 is shaping up to be the year we return to travel in a big way. Despite new variant surges, data shows that the desire to travel remains stronger than ever.’

According to a survey carried out by the travel site, 78 per cent of Britons say that they are ‘likely to travel for leisure in 2022, compared to 72 per cent of those who said that they travelled for leisure in 2019’.

Steven Paganelli – Director, Destinations, Hotels and OTAs, Americas at Tripadvisor – says: ‘As the world returns to travel, priorities are changing, and people want more memorable experiences on their trips. Almost three-quarters (70 per cent) of Brits say that it’s important they “see new places” when thinking about their future travel plans.

‘There is a whole world out there to choose from, and we want to help guide travellers looking to take the best trips for them – whatever that perfect holiday destination may look like. From adventure to R&R, the 2022 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Destinations includes several subcategories created to reflect the best places to go no matter what type of trip you’re after.’

To see all the 2022 Travellers’ Choice Destinations winners, across all subcategories, visit tripadvisor.co.uk/TravellersChoice-Destinations.

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Tests for travellers before they arrive in England are to be scrapped, Boris Johnson has announced, with travel industry bosses already reporting a ‘massive surge’ in bookings. 

In what marks a huge boost for holidaymakers, the Prime Minister said in a Commons statement the Omicron variant is now so prevalent in the country that the measure is having limited impact on the spread of the disease.

He told MPs the requirement for travellers to self-isolate on arrival until they receive a negative PCR test is also being dropped. 

Instead, the rules will revert to the system in place in October, with travellers required to take a lateral flow test no later than the end of day two after their arrival.

The measures were originally introduced following the identification of the fast-spreading Omicron variant in South Africa last November.

Families are already booking half-term breaks since the end of PCRs means around a £300 saving for a family of four, 

Travel firms welcomed the news, with the boss of airline Jet2, Steve Heapy, revealing there had already been a ‘massive surge’ in web traffic and bookings following Mr Johnson’s announcement.

Overseas tests and day 2 PCR tests added hundreds of pounds to the cost of foreign breaks for families, discouraging many from embarking on trips abroad. 

Covid tests for travellers arriving in England are to be scrapped, Boris Johnson has announced, in a major boost for the beleaguered travel industry

Covid tests for travellers arriving in England are to be scrapped, Boris Johnson has announced, in a major boost for the beleaguered travel industry

In what marks a huge boost for holidaymakers, the Prime Minister said in a Commons statement the Omicron variant is now so prevalent in the country that the measure is having limited impact on the spread of the disease

In what marks a huge boost for holidaymakers, the Prime Minister said in a Commons statement the Omicron variant is now so prevalent in the country that the measure is having limited impact on the spread of the disease

Mr Johnson told the House: ‘When the Omicron variant was first identified, we rightly introduced travel restrictions to slow its arrival in our country.

Testing regime that has been scrapped as the Omicron threat dwindles:

Travelling home from another country has been a nightmare for may due to new restrictions amid Omicron.

The rules for the fully vaccinated, which will change from 4am on Friday, are…

Before travel: 

  • Take a test in the 2 days before travel to England
  • Book a PCR test to be taken after you arrive in England
  • Complete a passenger locator form

On arrival:

  • Take a PCR test
  • Take the test any time after arrival and before the end of day 2
  • Quarantine in your home or the place you are staying

‘But now Omicron is so prevalent, these measures are having limited impact on the growth in cases, while continuing to pose significant costs on our travel industry.

‘So I can announce that in England from 4am on Friday, we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense.’

The announcement – which covers those passengers who are fully vaccinated or are under the age of 18 – was broadly welcomed by the travel industry, which has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the industry body Airlines UK, said it would be a ‘massive boost’ for the sector at a ‘critical’ time of the year.

‘People will now be able to book knowing that – for the fully vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been removed,’ he said.

‘Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season.’

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren also welcomed the move but said the Government needed to go further.

‘This will make travel much simpler and easier and means our customers can book and travel with confidence,’ he said.

‘However, the Government must now urgently take the final step towards restriction-free travel and remove the last remaining unnecessary test for vaccinated travellers so flying does not become the preserve of the rich.’

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘It is abundantly clear to everyone that travel testing requirements have had no impact on the spread of the Omicron variant, so this should represent the end of a set of measures that are not only disproportionate but futile too. 

‘That said, the removal of these travel restrictions is the news that our customers have been desperate to hear, and the massive surge in traffic and bookings tells us that holidays are very much back on for UK holidaymakers. 

‘Customers are jumping at the chance to book the holidays they have been looking forward to and we want to give them even more to smile about, which is why we are launching this sale.’

He added: ‘Whether it is a family holiday, a break with the other half or a group get together, we know how much everyone needs that well-deserved holiday. 

‘Holidays just got a lot easier and whether it is sun, ski or a leisure city holiday, we can see just what a shot in the arm today is for customer confidence.’ 

Travel firms welcomed the news of reduced testing, with the boss of airline Jet2, Steve Heapy (pictured), revealing there had already been a 'massive surge' in web traffic and bookings following Mr Johnson's announcement

Travel firms welcomed the news of reduced testing, with the boss of airline Jet2, Steve Heapy (pictured), revealing there had already been a ‘massive surge’ in web traffic and bookings following Mr Johnson’s announcement

Epidemiologist John Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the move to scrap overseas tests before arriving in England and day 2 PCR tests in favour of a single day 2 LFT test made sense.

‘When the prevalence is high, and it is incredibly high at the moment, almost everyone who tests positive with a lateral flow test will be a true positive,’ Edmunds said. 

‘There is really no need to confirm this with a PCR, a step that not only wastes time but costs a lot of money and uses up laboratory resources that could be better used elsewhere.’

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: ‘Although this is welcome news, there is still a long way back for aviation which remains the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, supporting millions of jobs in all four nations.’

The UK was the only country in Europe demanding that even fully-vaccinated holidaymakers take two tests when returning home.

Under the current rules, one rapid swab must be taken pre-return within 72 hours of travel to the UK and a post-arrival PCR test by day two.

Travellers must self-isolate until the results of this latter test are received, and can be stuck in quarantine for days if results are delayed.  

Under the current rules, one rapid swab must be taken pre-return within 72 hours of travel to the UK and a post-arrival PCR test by day two. Travellers must self-isolate until the results of this latter test are received, and can be stuck in quarantine for days if results are delayed.

Under the current rules, one rapid swab must be taken pre-return within 72 hours of travel to the UK and a post-arrival PCR test by day two. Travellers must self-isolate until the results of this latter test are received, and can be stuck in quarantine for days if results are delayed.

The quarantine rules were beefed-up at the end of November in a bid to stem the importation of Omicron.

They added hundreds of pounds in testing bills to the cost of foreign breaks for families.

They also increased fears about being stranded abroad if pre-return test results are positive.  As a result travel firms reported mass cancellations.

Prior to the November changes, travellers were required to take just one rapid test post-arrival by day two. 

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents major carriers such as British Airways, Jet2 and easyJet, said yesterday it would also boost domestic tourism businesses because laxer rules will attract more foreign visitors.

He said: ‘This isn’t just about outbound holidays.

‘We’re losing billions in revenue from people who ordinarily would want to travel to the UK to spend money, including in our shops and restaurants.

‘This is a competition at the end of the day – we need to attract people to the UK, not put up a big ‘closed for business’ sign.

‘We can’t have international travel – and the hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods that depend on it – being treated differently to hospitality and other domestic sectors.

The scrapping of overseas tests and day 2 PCR tests has already proved to be a boost for the travel industry with many families making bookings to go abroad (pictured: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, on May 1, 2021)

The scrapping of overseas tests and day 2 PCR tests has already proved to be a boost for the travel industry with many families making bookings to go abroad (pictured: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, on May 1, 2021)

‘If Omicron doesn’t warrant further restrictions at home, then the case for continuing with the emergency testing requirements for aviation is undermined, especially now it is the dominant variant in the UK.’

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), told BBC Breakfast that lateral flows were very accurate when it came to recording a positive result. 

‘Of course, with a PCR test what happens is a number of those can get sent away for sequencing and then you get more information regarding the virus itself. 

‘So, that sort of information may potentially be lost, but only a subset of those PCR tests are sent away for sequencing anyway, so, hopefully, we won’t be losing the levels of information that we already have in this country that enables us to identify variants and so forth.’ 

He said it was ‘very, very important’ that if any changes were brought in regarding dropping some PCRs that people still recorded their results from lateral flows. 

Regarding the change to travel testing requirements, he said when there were very high numbers of cases in the UK, testing upon entry to the UK ‘becomes less important’ as cases are already circulating. ‘

So, again, that’s probably why the change is coming in to support the travel industry and reduce a lot of the testing requirements.’ 

Mr Hawkins added that the restrictions had a significant effect on the number of travellers using its services.

‘We have seen passenger numbers fall back by about a third between October and November,’ he said. 

‘Passengers responded to the lifting of travel restrictions very positively and we saw a good level of recovery coming through but the new measures at the end of November and December knocked that back by about a third. 

‘We were at about 60 per cent of travel levels compared to 2019 and we fell back to just above 40 per cent. 

‘We are seeing higher absences along with most other businesses and transport providers and it’s putting them under a certain amount of pressure. 

‘But January is generally a quieter month for us anyway, and the testing requirements have knocked back by our recovery by a third.

‘So we do have some headroom to absorb those kinds of pressures at the moment, but we’re keeping a very close eye on absence levels and trends over the coming weeks.’

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