Is it safe to travel to Paxos Greece? Or more to the point, can you travel to Paxos at the moment?
After 15th 2020 June things look like they might ease, but right now it is not looking great. If you can get to Corfu, and then on to Paxos, you will have to self-isolate on arrival for 14 days, and also self-isolate for 14 days on your return to the UK. Now I know that self-isolation on this wonderful Greek Island has a certain appeal to it, but we need to think about the realities and practicalities of the situation.
And do you really want to get on a plane right now? I do not for sure.
I think that the answer at the time of writing this is that now is not a good time to travel to Paxos.
I will provide updates as and when things develop.
That’s all for now from me – I will add three key sources of information to this post
- The UK Government
- Olympic Holidays
- James Villas
Source of the information – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece
Still current at: 10 June 2020
Updated: 8 June 2020
“New information on rules for entering the UK from 8 June. (‘Return to the UK’ page)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay up to date
- Find out how to return to the UK from Greece
- See information on how to stay safely as a visitor if you cannot return
- See coronavirus travel advice for guidance on international travel
- Sign up for email alerts for Greece travel advice
There are limited travel options available between the UK and Greece and no direct flights. See Return to the UK
The Greek authorities have implemented a number of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you cannot return to the UK, see information on how to stay safely as a visitor if you cannot return.
Until 15 June, everyone arriving in Greece from abroad will be tested for coronavirus, and will be required to go into self-isolation. From 15 June, these requirements will change, but you may still be required to participate in testing and self-isolation/quarantine. See Entry requirements for more information.
British nationals usually make over 3 million visits to Greece annually. Most visits are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. See Crime
In early March large numbers of migrants and refugees gathered at multiple locations along the Greek-Turkish border. Protests, including some violent clashes, broke out, primarily on the Turkish side of the border. There is potential for further unrest on both sides of the border. Avoid crowds and demonstrations and follow instructions from the local authorities. If you are in affected areas, monitor the local media for information.
There have been incidents of unrest and violence on the Eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos in response to a recent increase in arrivals of migrants from Turkey. If you’re on the island, you should remain vigilant, avoid any demonstrations or related large gatherings, keep up to date with developments and follow the advice of the local authorities.
The UK has left the European Union. The rules on travel to EU countries will stay the same until 31 December 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. This page will be updated with country-specific information for travellers to Greece as things change. Sign up for email alerts and view the latest updates for UK nationals travelling to and living in Europe.
If you’re living in or moving to Greece, visit our Living in Greece guide in addition to this travel advice.
There are regular strikes, sometimes called at short notice that can cause disruption to public transport (including air travel and ports), as well as road networks and borders. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities. See Strikes and demonstrations
Localised or severe weather extremes, including wildfires, can affect areas of Greece over the extended summer period. See Natural disasters
Terrorist attacks in Greece can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
The Greek police won’t accept rowdy or indecent behaviour, especially where excessive drinking is involved. Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently. Your travel insurance may not cover you after drinking. See Local laws and customs
The emergency services number in Greece is 112. Calling 999 from a UK mobile in Greece will automatically transfer you to the Greek emergency services.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.”
Source of the info – https://www.olympicholidays.com/help/travel-updates/
“Coronavirus (COVID 19) update – 03 June 2020
As the news around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, we can reassure you that we are working closely with our travel partners to fully understand any potential impact on future travel arrangements.
The UK Foreign Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel. We will therefore no longer be offering any holidays up to and including the 30 June 2020.
If you are travelling after 30 June 2020, we kindly ask you to refrain from contacting the team at this time as we are dealing with the most urgent departures.
We continue to update this page on a regular basis and understand the frustration and concern caused by this unprecedented situation. However, we ask for your patience and understanding at this challenging time.
At Olympic Holidays, we are putting our customers first, they are central to our business. To alleviate the uncertainty of travelling restrictions due to COVID-19, we have made some changes as below:
1. If you are travelling up to and including 30 June 2020 your holiday is cancelled:
We will contact you if you are due to travel up to and including 30 June 2020 advising you of your options. We’re proactively contacting all affected customers in departure date order – please be patient with us as we do this.
- Olympic Holidays will send you a Refund Credit Note which is fully protected under ATOL and ABTA bonding, guaranteeing that your money is 100% safe. The Refund Credit Note can be used against any holiday, travelling before the 31 October 2022* and booked by 31 March 2021. If the holiday you want is not immediately available, please note that more flights, hotel and destinations are being added on a regular basis. If you haven’t chosen your next Olympic Holiday by the 31 March 2021, your money remains safe, you still have the option to receive a cash refund.
- If you’re unable to accept a Refund Credit Note you can apply for a refund; Please wait for your Refund Credit Note and follow instructions how to apply. Due to the volume of holidays impacted, we’re asking you to bear with us as this can take up to 16 weeks from your departure date. Please do not contact us for a refund until you have received your refund credit note with details on how to claim your refund.
*2022 departures will be on sale by January 2021.
2. If you are travelling after 30 June 2020:
- Olympic Holidays is in constant communication with all the airlines. We are following their guidelines, and many are being flexible if customers want to change date, provided they are on sale for the new required date. If you wish to amend your holiday, there will be no Olympic Holidays administration charge. However, we will need to pass any cost incurred and you will be asked to pay any differences in price over the original price paid.
- If you wish to cancel your holiday, our standard T&C’s apply.
- If the advice around travel has subsequently changed then option 1 will apply.
3. Should I pay my balance
If you are worried about paying your remaining balance, Olympic Holidays will give you the option to pay £299pp as part of your balance due now, and the remaining balance 4 weeks before departure. If you subsequently cancel up to and including 4 weeks before departure your cancellation will be the amount you have already paid. Cancellation within 4 weeks of departure will be the full holiday amount (100%).
** To pay the £299pp, please go to manage my booking payment section, select ‘Other Amount’ and enter the value you wish to pay. If you are a travel agent, and collected this amount, please email email@example.com to advise you have opted for this option.
Brexit advice for travellers -Updated 04th Feb 2020
Travel after 31 January 2020
Following ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK departed the EU on 31 January 2020. We are now in a transition period (also known as the ‘implementation period’) lasting until at least 31 December 2020. During this time, everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel without any changes.
Common questions about travel after 31 January 2020
Will flights still operate?
Yes. Everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal.
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
No. UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit.
Should I take out travel insurance to cover Brexit?
The best way to protect your holiday is to book a package – it is then the travel provider’s responsibility to make sure your holiday is provided and to offer an alternative or refund if it cannot be delivered.
It is important that whenever and wherever you travel that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do.
Valid passports can still be used. You do not need to have six months left on your passport to travel to the EU. Your passport does however need to be valid for the whole of your trip.
European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. UK registered EHICs will still be valid throughout 2020.
Olympic Holidays and ABTA have always advised holidaymakers and business travellers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.
When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.
As long as you have a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This will not change following 31 January 2020. An International Driving Permit will not be required, and you do not need a GB sticker or a Green Card for car insurance.
Taking pets abroad
There will be no change in relation to taking pets abroad after 31 January 2020.
Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK and this will continue after 31 January 2020.
Greece Overnight Tax
From the 1st January 2018 an Overnight Stay Tax was introduced by the Government of Greece. This is payable locally by the individual tourist on checking in to accommodation in Greece and varies according to the official rating of the accommodation as follows:
1-2 star: €0.50 per room per night
3 star: €1.50 per room per night
4 star: €3.00 per room per night
5 star €4.00 per room per night
Payment can be made by cash or card.
All of our accommodation descriptions contain both our ‘flame’ rating and the official rating of hotels and apartments. The amount you’ll pay is based on the official rating of the accommodation you have booked. The Olympic ‘flame’ ratings given to our accommodation may differ from the official star rating of the accommodation, please refer to our brochure or website descriptions if you are unsure.
Balearics sustainable Tourism Tax
A Sustainable Tourism Tax was introduced by the Balearic Islands Government aimed at all overnight stays in Tourist Accommodation on Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza from the 1st July 2016. This will be collected on check-in at the accommodation.
The official website of the Government of the Balearic Islands setting out the tax rates can be found here. The rates quoted are for 2018, but we understand that the rates for 2019 are the same.
Please note that the rates quoted are per person per day and that 10% VAT will be added to the stated rates. Children under the age of 16 are exempt from the tax and from the 9th day of your stay the tax reduces by 50%.
All of our accommodation descriptions contain both our ‘flame’ rating and the official rating of hotels and apartments. The amount you’ll pay is based on the official rating of the accommodation you have booked. The Olympic ‘flame’ ratings given to our accommodation may differ from the official star rating of the accommodation, please refer to our website descriptions if you are unsure.”
Issued: 27 May 2020 – 10:00hrs – https://www.jamesvillas.co.uk/help-and-advice/coronavirus-advice
“Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advise against all but essential travel. Please see below on how we will be managing this:
CUSTOMERS DUE TO TRAVEL UP TO 30 JUNE 2020
We are making contact with customers who are due to depart within the NEXT 7 DAYS where we will advise their options, including moving holidays to a later date. We will be doing this on a rolling basis, prioritising those due to travel first.
If your holiday arrangements cannot go ahead due to the FCO advice regarding COVID-19, you will be able to amend without any amendment fees. Customers can rebook to travel any time up to the end of 2021.
If you are unsure about when you would like to travel, we will provide you with a refund credit note to the full value of your original booking, plus a gift voucher as a gesture of goodwill, which you will also be able to use on a future booking. For customers who have booked a package holiday, the refund credit note is fully protected by ABTA and ATOL meaning there is no risk that you will lose the money you have paid towards your cancelled holiday and indeed any new holiday booked using it will continue to be financially protected. If neither of these options work for you, then we can discuss your options when we get in touch.
CUSTOMERS DUE TO TRAVEL FROM 01 JULY 2020
We understand you will be concerned about your future arrangements. As we are sure you will appreciate, we are experiencing an extremely high volume of enquiries and our priority must be to manage bookings that are due to depart within the next 7 days. We are working closely with the guidelines offered by the FCO and our industry regulatory body, ABTA, to ensure we follow the latest advice. For clarity, we can direct you to https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
We are therefore asking you to please be patient at this incredibly challenging time and hold off from contacting us for now. We can assure you that we are doing all we can, with limited staff, all of whom are now working from home. It will take time for us to manage this.
You can be assured that if your holiday is impacted, we will contact you in turn to discuss your options.
As mentioned, we are experiencing an extremely high volume of enquiries. We are taking measures to support our staff as they work tirelessly to make contact with our customers during this extraordinary time, including safe-guarding their heath by following our Government’s advice on social interaction and containment. This means we will be reducing our opening hours to 10:00am to 1:00pm for the foreseeable future. This will allow our teams time to pro-actively contact those customers who are due to travel within the next 7 days. We appreciate this may not be convenient but we are sure you will understand why. Rest assured, we will be making contact with all customers impacted by the FCO travel restrictions.
If you would like further information, you can refer to https:// www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for information on your destination or by visit the consumer advice issued by ABTA – https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
We thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.
Q: What happens if my travel plans are affected?
A: If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a destination and your holiday arrangements have been affected, we will get in touch and advise you of the options open to you. Travellers are advised to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries.
Q: What are the options if we’re advised we can’t travel
A: If you’ve booked a package holiday with us, then you are protected under the Package Travel Regulations. If you have made your own arrangements, such as flights, car hire or airport parking, with a company other than James Villas, then you will need to speak to the service provider / airline you made the booking with. They will have their own policy in regard to how they manage these claims.
Q: I’ve booked Villa Only with James Villa Holidays. Am I protected?
A: Customers who have booked accommodation only with us are not protected by the Package Travel Regulations. If the travel advice changes for the destination you are travelling to and your planned arrangements can no longer go ahead, we will look at the options available to you. Where the FCO have not imposed restrictions on travel but local authorities have advised of local screening measures, you should contact your Travel Insurance provider to discuss your options.
Q: My balance is due for my summer holiday. Do I have to pay this?
A: Here at James Villa Holidays we understand this is a worrying time for everyone, with the uncertainty around what may happen with your travel plans. The FCO advice currently in place is for imminent travel and can change at any time. Whilst there is no legal definition of “imminent travel” it is generally considered to be within the next few days. If you have received your balance due request, this is because your holiday is expected to go ahead as scheduled, so you will still need to pay your balance. We appreciate that you may still be worried about paying this now, so we are currently offering customers extensions on their balance due date to nearer the day of departure.
You should be reassured that if the FCO advice means you are no longer able to travel, then you have the protections in place as detailed above, including the options to move your holiday to a later date.
Q: What if I decide I don’t want to travel?
A: Our advice to customers with future bookings is to be patient. Whilst you can of course cancel your holiday, please be aware that if you are due to travel from 01 JULY 2020, you will need to wait as we have to prioritise those customers who are due to travel within the next 7 days. There may be a considerable delay in us getting back to you. You should also be aware that if some of your booked elements are still ‘live’, such as flights, then normal cancellation charges may apply.
Q: If I am unable to travel, am I entitled to compensation?
A: You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of James Villa Holidays.
Q: I want to rebook my holiday. Will I be financially protected for the new booking?
A: When you book with James Villa Holidays, rest assured that your holiday will be fully protected through our ATOL and ABTA bonding. Our ATOL protects all customers booking a holiday with flights (package), whilst our ABTA bonding protects customers booking a holiday without flights. You can find out more here: https://www.jamesvillas.co.uk/about-james-villas/atol-abta-protection”
Paxos Greece Coronavirus Update – June 2020