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Welcome

 

We warmly welcome you to our website where you will find information on Sredets, Burgas, Bulgaria and Investing in Bulgarian Properties. 

In addition to the above you will also be able to find information on shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and accommodation for rent.

We will endeavour to bring you all the latest news and events as we get them.

There is a property for sale Sredets Bulgaria section, that you can go to if you are thinking of buying either a New Home or an investment. Whether you are searching for a villa by the black sea, a mountain ski lodge, holiday house for sale in Sredets Bulgaria, land or apartment in sunny beach we are here to help you find and purchase yourIdeal Home.

We employ both English and Bulgarian staff creating a balanced interpretation to make buying Property in Bulgaria a pleasant and uncomplicated process, allowing us to find properties for you at the best possible price.

We have professional associates to help you with Mortgages, Legal advice, Currency, and have builders to renovate your older property or build you a new home to your specification.

If you need help or advice please CONTACT US and we will do our best to answer your query.

 

News
Tourism Minister Angelkova: Bulgaria is a Safe Holiday Destination, Tourist Season Starts on July 1
The active summer tourist season will start on July 1, Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova told BNT’s current affairs show “More from the Day” on May 27.

"We have an extremely clear plan and strategy in this difficult situation, which is unpredictable and unexpected both for the tourism sector, which is directly affected, and for...
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Covid-19 in Bulgaria, April 26: Parks partly re-opened,
Mathematical models suggest that Bulgaria experienced a peak of Covid-19 in early April, which was followed by a decline, while the country is approaching a new peak, operational headquarters chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a briefing on April 26. According to figures released in an update at 5pm on April 26, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria has...
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Bulgarias Government Proposes Extension of the Coronavirus State of Emergency.
Bulgarias Council of Ministers on April 1 decided to propose to the Parliament to extend the state of emergency to 13 May 2020. The state of emergency was initially introduced for one month. It was approved by Bulgarias Parliament on March 13 as a measure to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. Bulgaria is putting all possible efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection, and...
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Lifestyle
Turkey Will Resume Flights to Bulgaria as of June 10

Turkey will resume flights to Bulgaria as of June 10, the Turkish Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoglu has announced. According to him, flights to 40 countries will gradually be resumed in June, the correspondent of the Bulgarian National Radio in Turkey, Marian Karagyozov, reports.

On June 10, in addition to Bulgaria, flights to Greece, Bahrain, Qatar and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized by Ankara only, will also be resumed./BNR

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3,500 Tests for COVID-19 to Ensure the Safety on Bulgaria's South Black Sea Coast

3,500 people in the Burgas region will be tested for coronavirus in a large field study and the results will be used as a certificate, with which the Southern Black Sea coast will be advertised as a destination without COVID-19. They hope to attract more tourists this way. The initiative is of the Municipality of Burgas and the Mayor Dimitar Nikolov, together with the Medical Faculty at the University "Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov", RHI-Burgas. Today, representatives of the 13 municipalities met with the district governor and discussed the summer season in a pandemic.

The fact is that in the last 20 days (since May 13) in the Burgas region there is not a single registered case of coronavirus.

He announced that today a decision was made to make the first 2000 tests in the six maritime municipalities in the Burgas region.

"The test results will be used as a certificate for advertising in the region. When there is a real study behind a statement that it is safe here, then the advertisement has a completely different value and has a real coverage ", Dr. Pazderov, director of RHI-Burgas, announced. 

"The purpose of the large-scale study is to find the percentage of people in the population of the Burgas region who have already encountered the virus. How many of them have antibodies. People will be investigated at random, but the target groups include representatives of all age groups. More than half of them will be working - as service staff, hoteliers and restaurateurs, as well as representatives of the administration and doctors - those who will have most contact with incoming tourists, "said the director of RHI-Burgas.  

There are currently only four active patients in Burgas infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They are under home treatment in good condition, but were registered 20 or more days ago, there is no patient in hospital. Of the 53 registered cases in total for the District, 48 were cured, 1 died. 


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Germany, France and Spain to Reopen Borders on June 15

Germany plans to lift a travel ban for European Union member states plus Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 15 June provided coronavirus infection levels in those countries allow it to do so, government sources said.

A further condition is that the countries concerned open their borders to holidaymakers, the sources said.

On lifting the ban, introduced for travel worldwide in mid-March, Germany would instead issue country-specific guidelines on the coronavirus situation in the European countries concerned./Reuters

Italy officially ended its long coronavirus lockdown Wednesday, opening regional and international borders in a bid to boost summer tourism, but found itself alone as European neighbors viewed the move as premature and remained wary of visitors from Italy.

Italy's long-awaited internal and external opening after nearly three months allowed residents to finally reunite with friends and family members, and brought a flood of French shoppers across the border for less expensive groceries and cigarettes. But normalcy was a long way off.

Giuseppina Niglio drove 8 1/2 hours from Salerno, south of Naples, to the border with Switzerland to see her children, Roberta di Giacomo, 24, and Alessandro di Giacomo, 21. The siblings study at the musical conservatory in Lugano, Switzerland. They crossed into Italy on foot with their luggage, her cello and his violin.

’’I can say that the drive we did from 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. just flew by,″ Niglio said. ’’We had a lot of adrenaline. We couldn’t wait to see them and hug them again.″

Italy is the first European country to fully open its international borders, dropping the 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors from most of Europe. Many European nations are waiting until June 15 to open their borders, and some much later than that.

Who gets to go where in Europe this summer is shaping up to be determined by where you live, what passport you carry and even how hard hit your region has been during the pandemic.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte criticized as ’’discriminatory″ moves by Austria and Greece to limit the arrivals of Italians in their countries, due to concerns over the level of contagion in some regions, notably Lombardy.

’’The health emergency is now behind us,″ Conte said during a news conference, adding that he was working to reverse restrictions on Italian travelers.

Indeed, Europe-wide, rules on cross-border travel were a patchwork of regulations.

Even within Italy, regions with fewer residents infected with the virus viewed with some trepidation the arrival of tourists form the country's harder-hit north. A move by Sardinia to require some form of testing for people coming from other parts of Italy was rejected by the Rome government as unconstitutional. A requirement for visitors to register before their arrival took the place of the proposed measure./ABC

European Union Nationals may soon be eligible to enter France, as the country is planning to open its borders on June 15, given that the situation does not worsen in the meantime.

The possibility of opening the borders for non-essential purposes to all EU and Schengen citizens was presented by the French Prime Minister Éduoard Philippe during a press conference on phase 2 of the containment exit plan of the country

Some European countries chose to reopen their borders before others, and I respect that decisionWe take our decisions at our own pace, and we believe that the right time to access our territory is June 15,” Prime Minister Philippe said during the conference, referring to some countries as the Baltic States, which have already opened their borders for a limited number of EU nationals.

According to the French Primer, the quarantine will not be obligatory for travellers from EU; however, such a measure can be imposed in a reciprocity move to the nationals of countries that require French citizens to go through quarantine of present negative COVID-19 test results.

France will be for the reopening of EU inner borders, starting from June 15, if the health situation allows it, of course, without two-week self-isolation for travellers coming from a European country. We will apply reciprocity measures towards EU countries who would decide to close their borders or impose two-week quarantines to French people,” the PM said.

At the beginning of May Christophe Castaner, the French Minister of Interior had also stipulated that France would keep its borders closed until June 15, hinting at a possible opening of these borders after the middle of the month.

We still need this protection. As for entries and exits out of the European space, a gradual and methodical relaxing of the situation will come in due time, and it will be decided with all the States concerned. Borders will remain shut until further notice,” the Minister said at the time.

France closed its inner borders, as well as its share of the external Schengen borders on March 17, upon a recommendation of the European Union Commission on the closure of Schengen and EU borders for non-EEA citizens.  Since then, entry into France has been permitted only for French travellers, cross-border workers and expats, given that they hold a special certificate.

The government has already confirmed that it will be opening its borders will Germany on June 15, while keeping border controls in place, possibly until the end of October.

On the same date, the EU Commission will decide on the reopening of both inner and outer borders, at the European level./Schengenvisainfo


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Wizz Air: 20% Discount for all Flights to and from Bulgaria

Wizz Air announced a special discount of 20% for all its flights to and from Bulgaria.

The promotion is valid only today and is on the occasion of the restart of the airline's flights.

The travel period is unlimited, and all Bulgarian passengers have until midnight to make a reservation on wizzair.com or in the airline's application at top prices.


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Rules for Entering Bulgaria from June 1

Bulgaria’s Minister of Health Kiril Ananiev issued an order regulating the entry into the Republic of Bulgaria as of June 1, the transit through the territory of the country and the rule for the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

As of June 1, 2020, a temporary ban on entry into the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is introduced for all persons, regardless of their citizenship, through all border crossing points, by air, sea, rail and road transport.

The ban does not apply to Bulgarian nationals, nationals of EU member states, the United Kingdom, Schengen visa zone member countries (including the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Vatican City State), the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia, members of the families of Bulgarian citizens, as well as persons who are in actual cohabitation with a Bulgarian citizen, and foreigners with the status of permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria and members of their families.

Also allowed to the territory of Bulgaria are:

  • Medical professionals, medical researchers, social workers, and their supervisors where the purpose of the journey is related to the profession they are pursuing;
  • Workers involved in the supply of medicinal products, medical devices and personal protective equipment, medical equipment, including its installation and maintenance;
  • Transport staff engaged in the international carriage of passengers and cargo, crews of commercial aircraft and other transport staff as required, including vessel crews and persons involved in the maintenance of vessels;
  • Foreign officials (heads of state, members of governments, etc.) and members of their delegations, as well as diplomats, officials of international organisations, military personnel, members of the security and public order services and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties;
  • People travelling for humanitarian reasons;
  • Representatives of trade, economic and investment activities and people directly involved in the construction, maintenance, operation and ensuring the safety of the strategic and critical infrastructure of Bulgaria, implementation of projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, analysis of projects of potential investors and other activities of importance for the economy of the country, certified by a letter from the Minister of Economy or another minister responsible for the respective activity, as well as people engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair;
  • Seasonal agricultural and tourism workers;.
  • Cross-border workers.

The order also sets out who may transit through Bulgaria:

  • Nationals of EU countries, the UK and Schengen member countries (including the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Vatican City State) and their family members in order to return in the country where they reside.
  •  Third-country (meaning, non-EU) nationals who have a long-term residence permit in another EU country, the UK, or in a Schengen country (including the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Vatican City State) and members of their families in order to return to the country of residence.
  •  Citizens of the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey in order to return to the country of which they are nationals.

Transit is allowed only in cases where immediate departure from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria can be guaranteed.

The obligatory 14-day quarantine on entry to Bulgaria applies to everyone coming from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Italy and all non-EU countries except Serbia and North Macedonia. The quarantine should take place in the home or other accommodation specified by the person and an advisory note should be issued by the director of the relevant regional health inspectorate or a person authorized by him/her.

The requirement for the 14-day quarantine rule does not apply if those arriving are Bulgarian citizens and citizens of other EU countries, the UK, Schengen countries, who are travelling for humanitarian reasons, or are trade representatives, or are involved in activities crucial to the strategic and critical infrastructure of Bulgaria, implementation of projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, analysis of projects of potential investors and other activities of importance for the country’s economy, certified by a letter from the Minister of Economy or another minister responsible for the relevant activity, as well as persons engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair.

It also does not apply to:

  • Bus drivers carrying out international carriage of passengers;
  • Lorry drivers involved in international carriage of goods;
  • Members of crews of vessels who are Bulgarian citizens.

The relevant regional health inspectorate provides information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the quarantined foreign nationals (names, date of birth, document number, citizenship).

The persons, who are not placed under quarantine, as well as the persons, who transit through the territory of the country are required to submit to the border health control authorities a declaration, in which they are obliged to observe the anti-epidemic measures introduced by an order of the Minister of Health on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as that they are aware of the risks of the COVID-19 disease.

The Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) specifies the place where the lorry and the driver must stay until the relevant ban is lifted, in cases in which the drivers of lorries transporting goods and goods destined for other countries which are allowed to transit through Bulgaria, cannot leave the country due to a ban by a country bordering the Republic of Bulgaria./BNT


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Here is a List of Beaches in Bulgaria with Free Umbrellas and Sunbeds

There are already 25 beaches on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, which offer the use of free umbrellas and sunbeds for the active summer season of 2020, the Ministry of Tourism announced. 

During the last week of May, the tenants and concessionaires of the sea beaches had to send to the Ministry of Tourism their proposals for reducing the prices of beach accomodations. According to the legal changes, the decrease must be at least 50 percent compared to the prices in 2019.

According to the received proposals, the umbrellas and sunbeds on the following beaches will be free:

Panorama-north,
Riviera (Varna region);
Shkorpilovtsi-south (Varna region);
Byala-south (Varna district);
Obzor Motel;
Obzor-south,
Elenite-2,
Kozluka;
Dolphin (Burgas region);
Aheloy (Burgas region);
Atanasovska kosa - part 1,
Burgas-north,
Burgas-central,
Rosenets-north (Burgas district);
Kavatsi-north;
Kavatsi-south;

Duni-south (Burgas region);
Mladost MMC (free umbrella, deck chair BGN 2.50 each),
Primorsko-Central (Burgas region);
Camping-south,
Mechata dupka 2,
Lozenets,
Popski beach-north 5;
Tsarevo-central,
Camping Nestinarka (Burgas region).

The prices on the majority of the other beaches vary up to BGN 5, ie. the decrease is serious compared to last summer. In Golden Sands, for example, beach accomodations will be BGN 2 each, in Sunny Beach - BGN 4 each, in Albena - BGN 1 each.



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Bulgaria's Resort Sunny Beach is Ready for Tourists

The three beaches in Sunny Beach - north, central and south, are in good condition and ready to welcome the first tourists.

All concessionaires in the resort have met the deadlines and have duly fulfilled their obligations under the contracts. Umbrellas and sunbeds are already placed on the sand and there is a large enough distance between them, which ensures the safety of beachgoers.

All beaches are leveled and cleaned. From June 1, when the season will have officially started, the medical centers with the necessary equipment and resuscitation team will work in Sunny Beach.

From tomorrow the beach becomes guarded. The beach will have lifeguards, the towers are installed. Exactly at 8.00 am the first lifeguard shift will take place. In the first days of June, mobile pairs of rescuers will walk around the sand every day without a break until 18.00. The showers have been installed and the changing rooms for tourists have been renovated.

The prices for the beach accessories in the resort are half lower. Apart from a deck chair, holidaymakers will pay less for the shade at the beach. The prices are BGN 4 for each of the two extras.

The requirement for a 50 percent free zone is strictly observed. There the sunbathing is free. And this season live security will be provided along the entire beach, which will monitor the order and tranquility of holidaymakers.

The beach staff have taken exceptional hygiene measures that will ensure the safety of tourists. 


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Travel Quarantine Rules in Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Spain, France and other Countries

Countries around the world have used quarantine measures to prevent infected travellers spreading coronavirus within their borders.

With infection rates now falling in countries which have suffered thousands of deaths from Covid-19 many of those travel restrictions are set to be lifted, just as Britain is planning to impose its own 14-day quarantine on overseas visitors.

Source: Pixabay.com

Spain

Spain has confirmed it's lifting the 14-day quarantine rule for foreign tourists in July.

Minister for the Exterior, Arancha González Laya has confirmed the news Brits have been waiting for on her personal Twitter site just an hour ago, with a messages in Spanish, English and French.

She posted: "The worst is behind us. In JULY we will;

* gradually open to international tourists

* lift the quarantine️

* ensure the highest standards of health safety

We look forward 2 welcoming you!

The announcement comes hours after Spain's tourism minister said that foreign tourists can book vacations in Spain from July.


Source: Pixabay.com

Bulgaria

"We are removing the 14-day quarantine for the arriving Bulgarian and foreign citizens from the European Union, including Serbia and Northern Macedonia.

However, for the eight countries in Europe with the highest number of COVID-19 patients, the imposition of a 14-day quarantine will remain, explained Assoc. Prof. Angel Kunchev from the headquarters.

These are Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Italy, Portugal, Spain.

Greece

Quarantine of arrivals since March 16, hoping to lift June 15 and at the latest July 1

When Panos flew back home to Athens from Brussels his welcome home was a seat on a coach taking him to one of Greece's quarantine hotels.

It was part of a system imposed by the Greek government from March 18, when it banned all visitors from non-EU/Schengen countries and those deemed too dangerous because of high levels of coronavirus, such as the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Those travellers allowed into the country are tested for Covid-19 and pending a result - usually available within 24 hours - taken from Eleftherios Venizelos airport to specially designated hotels in the capital.

Panos, 40, a private sector employee who had travelled by train from the Netherlands to Belgium before flying to Athens on April 27, said that after a long wait inside the bus and an even longer one in the hotel lobby, they were all given their own room. 

“Smoking rooms were available. None of us were allowed to go out. Staff left our meals outside the door and brought us anything they wanted,” he said. “It was generally OK, apart from the waiting around.”

When the test results came out 24-hours later three people, including Panos, were found to have tested positive and were obliged to stay under quarantine for fourteen days either in the hotel or at an address notified to the authorities. He opted to spend the next two weeks in his hometown of Corinth, in southern Greece.

According to the plan to kickstart the tourist season, announced by the Greek government on Wednesday, international flights will resume on June 15 from countries that the government has deemed safe. Flights from most other countries are expected to resume from July 1. 

Tourists will be allowed to enter the country without taking a coronavirus test or remaining in quarantine, though health officials will conduct spot tests to monitor the situation.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said only tourists from countries with acceptably low rates of virus infection would be permitted.

Although the list of safe countries has not yet been announced, it is thought they will include all Schengen countries, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Israel and Cyprus.

Source: Pixabay.com

Germany

Quarantine of new arrivals since April 10, announcement it would be lifted for EU arrivals made on May 15

When Morgan Terry finally made it home to Germany after being stranded in Bulgaria for several weeks, she and her partner were expecting strict quarantine orders.

They already knew that anyone allowed into Germany was subject to two week’s self-isolation at home.

But to their surprise they were waved through Berlin airport and allowed to enter the country without any official mention of the quarantine rules.

“We’d prepared documents to show we had somewhere to stay, but no one wanted to see them,” says the 31-year-old Ms Terry, who is originally from New Zealand but has lived in Berlin since 2014.

“We followed the rules but only because we read them up ourselves on the internet. No one told us anything or came to check on us.”

Ms Terry’s experiences are typical. On paper, Germany’s quarantine rules are strict, but there is little enforcement.

Until May 15, anyone entering Germany was subject to 14 days’ home quarantine. Since then arrivals from the EU, UK and Schengen Area have been exempt.

Fines for non-compliance are as high as €3,000, and repeat offenders can be quarantined in hospital.

But there are no checks at airports and borders and it is the responsibility of travellers to report their own arrival to their local health authority.

“When we got back we emailed the health authority to let them know we’. We got an email back telling us to let them know if we got sick or had any symptoms. But there was nothing about quarantine,” says Ms Terry.

“We’d been warned about spot checks and people getting in big trouble, but it’s been three weeks now. We finished self-isolating a week ago and we never heard anything.”

While a few towns have conducted spot checks, many German municipalities say they simply don’t have the resources to police the rules.

Until May 15, entry to Germany was largely restricted to citizens and long-term residents who were expected to follow the rules.

“I guess that’s pretty typical of the German attitude,” says Ms Terry. “Treat people like responsible adults and trust them.”

Source: Pixabay.com

Italy

Quarantine since March 28, to be lifted June 3

Travellers to Italy will soon no longer face a mandatory 14-day quarantine as the Government reopens its borders after one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

Until then visitors have to remain for a fortnight at home or an address of their choice under the supervision of the health authorities. If they have nowhere to stay accommodation is  arranged by the regional civil protection authorities. 

Anyone who violated the quarantine measures could receive a fine of up to 3,000 euros. In addition, anyone who has been quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19, and intentionally violates the order to stay at home, could face a prison sentence between one and five years. 

Quarantine measures will be lifted on June 3, when unrestricted travel between Italy and other EU and Schengen countries -- and within Italy itself -- resumes as the country tries to revive its ailing economy and tourism industry, which contributes about 13% of its gross domestic product. 

However, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned he is taking a “calculated risk” and that travel restrictions could be re-introduced if the curve of Italy’s coronavirus infections worsens and there is a second wave. Already more than 32,000 have died of Covid-19.

But the new rules will apply only to travelers arriving from member countries of the European Union, those in the Schengen area, as well as the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and the tiny states of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican.

Between June 3 and 15, travel to and from all other countries will still be prohibited, except for “determined work needs, of absolute urgency or for health reasons”.

A government decree also states that those who test positive for Covid-19 or have had close contact with people with the virus will still be subject to mandatory quarantine measures. 

But Italian authorities haven’t yet made clear how they would check or confirm travelers’ contacts. 

With hotel occupancy down 99% for foreigners, Italy’s national hotel federation said it has already lost 106,000 jobs and another 500,000 are at risk if travel doesn’t return this summer.

Meanwhile, controversy over the contact tracing technology chosen by the Italian government to keep track of the COVID-19 contagions has delayed the launch of the app. It is now scheduled to be released by the end of May, almost two months after it was announced.

The app, called "Immuni", can tell whether a user has been close to an infected person and then recommend at-risk users what to do.

It was criticized by politicians and privacy experts because it was initially based on a centralized model, meaning that sensitive data would have been stored in a government-controlled system. The use of the app is also voluntary and anonymous, so it’s still unclear if that could prove useful to track foreigners travelling to Italy.

Source: Pixabay.com

France

Quarantine of some arrivals since May 3, restrictions to be "gradually" lifted from mid-June

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian this week announced that French nationals entering the country from outside Europe will observe a “voluntary” 14-day quarantine “at home” or in a dedicated hotel from May 20.  

Initially, the government wanted to make such quarantine compulsory, but changed tack after being advised by the constitutional council that the move “deprived (the French) of freedom”.

The government has mooted the idea of requisitioning hotels near Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to allow people to observe quarantine there, or at a pre-specified French address if they have one.

Regarding travel across the "internal borders" of the EU, Schengen and from the UK, only essential travel is allowed and everyone crossing the border needs an international travel certificate.

Beyond French citizens, entry is limited to people whose primary residence is in France or those with essential family reasons.

There are exceptions, including healthcare workers, lorry drivers, cross-border workers and people who have their permanent residency in another European country and are travelling through France to get home.

France will review border controls on June 15th.

The French foreign minister this week said he hoped checks would be relaxed on "internal borders", adding: "We have reciprocity agreements with neighbouring countries and one can imagine that progressively, provided deconfinement works and the pandemic does not resume, we will be able to reconsider these closure measures."

Currently, no incoming travellers from EU countries, including Britain, require quarantine - except Spain.

France’s southern neighbour announced it would quarantine anyone arriving into the country from Europe from May 15, and France pledged to do likewise “on the principle of reciprocity”.

Currently, both sides exempt cross-border workers, aircrew and long-distance truckers.

In practice, it appears no such quarantine has yet been imposed and France said the restrictions  "did not represent the desire" of France.

Regarding the UK, France has not officially responded to the British government’s announcement that it will “soon” begin quarantining travellers, including from France.

A joint British and French working group is looking at this issue.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner this week said: “Regarding internal borders, we always seek coordination on a European level but we won’t hesitate to take the necessary decisions should this coordination fail.”/Telegraph

Portugal 

Augusto Santos Silva, Portugal’s foreign minister, told newspaper Observador Friday that “tourists are welcome in Portugal.” 

He said that tourists flying into Portugal will not be subject to a quarantine period but that there will be health checks in place. 
Although the country’s land border with Spain will remain closed until June 15, travellers arriving by air will not be quarantined. Instead, they will face only ‘minimal health controls’ in accordance with the country’s lockdown rules.

So far 30,788 people have contracted the coronavirus in Portugal, while 1,330 have died from Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Sweden 

Sweden controversially never actually went into a full lockdown and has kept borders open. The government has imposed a temporary ban on citizens from all countries except European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. 

There have been 33,843 confirmed cases of the virus in Sweden so far and 4,029 deaths as a result of Covid-19.

Netherlands 

Similarly, the Netherlands has kept borders open for tourists from so-called Schengen countries — the 26 states in mainland Europe which have allowed free movement without a visa. U.K. citizens are also allowed to travel to the country but, reportedly, a full declaration of health is required. 

The Netherlands has confirmed 45,445 cases of the coronavirus and 5,830 deaths. 

Iceland

Borders in Iceland have also remained open for tourists from Schengen countries but a 14-day quarantine has been required. The Icelandic government expects to ease restrictions no later than June 15, in line with the European Commission’s guidelines. It then plans to start offering testing as an alternative to quarantine to travelers.  

In Iceland, 1,804 people have contracted Covid-19, while 10 people have died from the virus./CNBC

Taiwan

Quarantine since March 14, currently undergoing a trial to see if it can be lifted

Since March, compulsory quarantine for inbound passengers has been a vital first line of defence against the virus in Taiwan, and it appears to have worked.

Despite being located just 80 miles off the coast of China, to date it has only seen 441 cases and seven deaths.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Howard Jyan, the head of the government cyber security department, said the system begins at the airport when passengers fill out a form on their mobile phones and the details are fed into a centralised system. Each case is then assigned a social and health worker and a police officer.

The social worker calls twice a day to check the person doesn’t skip quarantine, leaving their phone at home. If a phone is unanswered every 15 minutes for an hour, it prompts a home visit by the police.

Home isolation is enforced by base station triangulation. It operates through a mobile phone-based “electronic fence” that uses location-tracking to a range of roughly 300 metres. If the phone leaves this area, the user and local officials receive an automated text message alert.

Taiwan has so far resisted using GPS with the view that it is unnecessarily invasive, and the surveillance system is controlled by strict curbs under the Communicable Disease Control Act.

To ensure privacy, only the commander of the central pandemic taskforce has access to the names of the mobile phone users or has a nationwide overview.

Monitoring is carried out county by county, and no names are given to the police. All data is then deleted at the end of the 14-day period.

Quarantine violations can, however, result in hefty fines of up to ,000 – a maximum penalty that was slapped on one partygoer when he visited a nightclub and got caught in a police spot check.

Mr Jyan said there had been near universal compliance. “Our citizens believe they should stay at home and not hurt other people. I think that is part of the culture,” he said.

Local authorities have been giving out gift packs, containing face masks, a thermometer, sanitiser and instant noodles, to people obliged to isolate at home.


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Finnair: Half of Our Customers Planning Leisure Trips by Air, Flights within Europe First Choice

As Finnair prepares to ramp ups it operations, with focus on continuing to connect Europe and Asia, the airline asked its customers how they feel about traveling by air again.

Over 3 000 Finnair Plus Loyalty program customers responded to Finnair’s customer survey, including all tier levels. Half of the respondents were already thinking about leisure trips by air, and almost nine out of ten customers surveyed by Finnair said they expected to fly at least once within the next year.

“We expect air travel to start gradually recovering from July onwards, and our customer survey supports this – customers are clearly looking forward to future travels”, says Ole Orvér, Finnair Chief Commercial Officer. “We start operating to some 40 European and Asian destinations in July and will gradually increase frequencies and routes as demand recovers.”

50% of customers planning leisure trips by air

According to the survey, half of the respondents were eager to travel by air for leisure, while 36% had a neutral attitude towards air travel for leisure. Almost 90% of customers expect to fly at least once over the next 12 months.

Travel restrictions were – quite naturally – the largest concern for travel: 77 % mentioned removing travel restrictions to be a prerequisite for their air travel. Many European countries are easing or removing travel restrictions during the summer.

People are already planning both leisure and business trips: 61% of the respondents planned to take leisure trip to a European destination, while 45% planned to travel within Europe for business. Germany and Spain were named most often as the destinations for the next trip. Asia was named as leisure destination by over one fifth of the respondents, and over one fifth of the respondents were planning a business trip to Asia. In Asia, China, Japan and Thailand were the most popular Asian destinations. Finnair’s domestic destinations were mentioned as leisure and business destinations by 17% and 18% of the respondents respectively.

Hand hygiene and aircraft cleaning important for travelers

The survey showed that the corona pandemic has brought new criteria for choosing an airline. The top three drivers for choosing an airline included the airline’s ability to ensure customer wellbeing and health during the trip, ticket prices, and flight schedules.

Aircraft cleaning and the possibility to ensure good hand hygiene were mentioned as the most important means for easing the concerns of travel safety. Also, some 65% of the respondents said that a requirement to wear a mask would ease their concerns either a moderate amount, a lot or a great deal. Finnair has introduced several measures to safeguard customer health and safety during the corona pandemic. “We have further intensified aircraft cleaning, hand sanitizers are available at Helsinki Airport, and we distribute sanitizing wipes to all passengers”, says Orvér. “By wearing face masks, we protect each other from possible droplet transmission, and masks are a requirement for both customers and crew.”

Altogether 76% of the respondents were either somewhat satisfied or extremely satisfied with how Finnair has communicated to its customers during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are extremely grateful for this positive feedback and the trust our customers place on us – 93% of the respondents were confident in Finnair’s ability to meet their needs in this time of uncertainty”, said Orvér. “This survey also helps us to further develop our customer service and offering.”


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Tourism Minister Angelkova: Bulgaria is a Safe Holiday Destination, Tourist Season Starts on July 1

The active summer tourist season will start on July 1, Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova told BNT’s current affairs show “More from the Day” on May 27.

"We have an extremely clear plan and strategy in this difficult situation, which is unpredictable and unexpected both for the tourism sector, which is directly affected, and for everyone. No one could have predicted in any way that this would happen and we have to deal with it," Tourism Minister said.

Minister Angelkova thanked the Prime Minister and MPs for their support for the changes in the Health Act. "This allows us on the threshold of the summer season to have 50% reduced prices for umbrellas and sunbeds, which is very important to promote domestic tourism and visits to our Black Sea coast. There are 23 free-of-charge beaches at the moment, she explained.

At the same time, a communication campaign was launched both in relation to the country’s domestic market and to target markets.

"Thanks to the initiative of the Bulgarian Prime Minister with the Prime Ministers of Greece and Romania and the President of Serbia, our border will be opened for tourists on June 1. Romania is an extremely important market for us," Angelkova added.

She pointed out that active talks are being held with Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, France, the Scandinavian countries to open our borders for tourism.

Our biggest advantage is that Bulgaria is one of the countries with the lowest percentage of coronavirus infections and one of the countries that is considered a safe destination, Angelkova added.


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