A HEFTY fine for anyone in England trying to travel abroad without good reason is due to come into force next week as part of new coronavirus restrictions.

Foreign holidays are currently not permitted under the "stay at home" rule, which ends on Monday, March 29 as restrictions begin to ease.

The £5,000 penalty is included in legislation that will be voted on by MPs today.

But what will this travel ban mean for Bournemouth?

Will the ban result in the seaside town seeing a surge in visitors holidaying closer to home, or is a large decrease in visitors from further afield expected?

What is the travel ban?

From March 29, leaving the UK is banned unless a person has "a reasonable excuse."

Bournemouth Echo: Travel abroad is not currently permitted for those who live in EnglandTravel abroad is not currently permitted for those who live in England

Reasons that would allow for international travel include: to attend a funeral, travelling for work purposes, elite sport, fulfilling a legal obligation overseas, a course of study, to visit a dying relative or friend and more.

Those providing care or medical treatment overseas have been given the green light to travel, along with those buying or selling property outside of the UK.

The rules will be up for review in 35 days, taking the travel ban through until at least May 3.

Under the current plan for the easing of restrictions, May 17 is the earliest date people in England could go abroad for a holiday.

Why has the ban been introduced?

Mounting concerns over the rise in infections across the world and the potential threat of new variants of Covid-19 has prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to publish the government’s review on overseas travel one week earlier than planned.

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth Airport. Picture by Stephen BathBournemouth Airport. Picture by Stephen Bath

The review will now be published on April 5 rather than April 12.

This comes after another surge in Covid cases and the slow rollout of vaccines across continental Europe.

Doubt has therefore been cast on the resumption of holidays abroad.

Managing Director of Select World Travel in Poole, Hannah Vincent is hoping to see travel corridors reopen in the coming months so people can enjoy holidays further afield.

She said: "May 17 is the earliest date for international travel and at this time we’ll see some travel corridors open.

"Last year, lots of people came down to Bournemouth and many left loads of rubbish on the beaches. Despite this, the travel ban will be good for the area but it would also be good if people did have the option to go abroad."

The travel ban and Bournemouth: can the town benefit from this decision?

Although it is expected that footfall into the town from those who live abroad will reduce, many businesses and hoteliers in Bournemouth (and beyond) are feeling optimistc for the future and are anticipating an increase in staycations and holidays closer to home.

Bournemouth Echo: Will the travel ban benefit Bournemouth?Will the travel ban benefit Bournemouth?

Chair of BAHA (BH Area Hospitality Association), Tim Seward thinks the ban is a step in the right direction for Bournemouth.

He said: "The travel ban can only be a positive thing and can help hotels and hoteliers have a better summer once May 17 arrives. 

"Bournemouth hotels are ready for whenever they can reopen in line with the roadmap. Staycations are welcome news for hoteliers for the summer and it can make up for losses in lockdown."


The Cumberland, Hermitage, Suncliff, Ocean Beach Hotel and Spa, Mayfair and Trouville Hotels, all part of the Oceana Hotels group, are set to open on May 17.

Bournemouth Echo: Hermitage Hotel, BournemouthHermitage Hotel, Bournemouth

Despite the travel ban, group operations director Pat Green is feeling "optimistic" about the future.

She said: "We have six hotels and a restaurant in town and we are really hoping that the summer business will be fantastic for Oceana Hotels.

"With the restrictions on hospitality still in place until May 17 and the government ban on non-essential foreign travel, we are really optimistic that the tourism industry in a premiere seaside resort such as Bournemouth will bounce back quickly this summertime."

For one hotel, the travel ban may help the hospitality sector with a quicker transition to a semblance of normality.

Managing director of Marsham Court Hotel and vice chair of BAHA, Rosie Radwell said: "I think the ban will do wonders for us as it’s going to stop people from going abroad.

"It gives people the ‘you will have to stay in England’ message. Before, people were still holding on to the possibility of going abroad.

"We have definitely seen a surge in bookings, and from September onwards it’s looking really good for us, especially with group bookings.

"We’ve had a year and a half of not having anyone, so we want to get back to normal as it’s been a funny old year."

The travel ban is also welcome news for The Green House Hotel manager, Olivia O'Sullivan.

She said: "We are gearing up for another bumper summer. We are anticipating seeing an increase in visitors to BCP and hopefully our resort won’t disappoint.

"With all the additional entertainment planned by the BIDs and the council this year for a festival summer, our guests will hopefully forget that this is the second summer they’ve been denied their summer holiday abroad.

"We’ve been busy renovating the hotel and getting ourselves ready to welcome our staycationers on May 17."


Monkey World is looking forward to welcoming visitors back into the ape rescue centre on April 12.

Bournemouth Echo: Monkey World is set to reopen on April 12Monkey World is set to reopen on April 12

The outbreak of the pandemic saw the centre close its doors to visitors, thus restricting a vital source of income.

A spokesperson said: "Although we will miss our international supporters this year, we are still looking forward to being able to open on April 12.

"This has been a tough year and we have worked hard to continue to feed and care for our 260 rescued and endangered primates despite having no income through visitors.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support of those who have loved and visited Monkey World, who have sent donations to the Ape Rescue Trust, and joined our primate adoption scheme to support our rehabilitation and rescue work.

"It will be great to see visitors back in the park, and we’re hopeful for a positive 2021."

A similar sentiment was shared by Oceanarium.

A spokesperson for the Bournemouth aquarium said: "The Oceanarium, along with many other local business and attractions, rely on visitors to keep running and because of this we have all been greatly affected by COVID-19.

"We see the latest government announcement regarding the delay in permitting international travel as an opportunity for us to welcome back our UK visitors in a COVID secure manner; as they look to book holidays a little closer to home."

How is BCP Council preparing for the 'bumper' summer season?

The council announced yesterday that a further £2.5million has been added to the council’s seasonal response plans to make sure the town is prepared for when visitors can return.

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth Beach 2020. Picture Andrew Matthews/PA WireBournemouth Beach 2020. Picture Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The plan has been put in place after huge visitor numbers led to a major incident being declared last summer.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio holder for Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said: "We welcome responsible visitors to our resort - people who will treat things with care, behave reasonably and pick up after themselves.

"We are determined to give people a great vacation and leave with amazing memories. We want to give local people the confidence to come back out and enjoy their home towns."

The plan includes introducing around 30 electric BBQs which will be installed along the seafront to reduce the use of disposable ones.

Round-the-clock beach patrols, tow-away zones, a park-and-ride site and 75 more seafront staff are also part of the council's plans to manage Bournemouth's open spaces this summer.

Developments to the BCP BeachCheck app will include car parks so people can check how busy the beaches and car parks are before they arrive. 

Cllr Iyengar added: "This last year has been tremendously challenging for our tourism and hospitality sector and we’re pulling out all the stops to make 2021 the year of opportunity by engineering the fastest bounce-back possible."

Public transport gears up for summer staycations

In anticipation of the 'bumper' summer season, Morebus has announced a new timetable for its Purbeck Breezer services. 

Bournemouth Echo: Purbeck Breezer busPurbeck Breezer bus

The local bus operator is introducing buses every half an hour on its 50 and 60 services, from Friday, April 2.

It will also run a revised timetable for the Breezer 40 route - with buses increasing on Sundays to every hour. 

Additionally, the 70 service - linking Poole to Lilliput, Compton Acres, Canford cliffs, Branksome Chine and Alum Chine - will be reintroduced, running hourly on weekends and school holidays. 

Morebus communications manager, Nikki Honer said: "After a difficult year for us all, we are expecting a large number of people to choose Dorset as their ‘staycation’ destination.

"This is great news for the county’s tourism industry, but we are all aware that social distancing measures will still be in place.

"In view of this, we are increasing the number of buses running our Purbeck Breezer routes - and they will also run later into the evenings at weekends and during school holidays."