Thousands of vacationers have felt frustrated over the holiday season after their trips were canceled due to coronavirus restrictions imposed by destinations.
Winter sports operator Crystal Ski has cut trips to Austria from December 27 after the country introduced more stringent entry requirements due to the Omicron variant.
Austria announced on Wednesday that arrivals from the UK will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days from Saturday, unless they are fully vaccinated, including a booster dose, and have evidence of a recent negative PCR test.
Crystal Ski sent a message to clients on Thursday evening which stated: âUnfortunately, due to short notice of the new Austrian entry requirement, we made the difficult decision to cancel our holiday in Austria on December 27th.
âWe know last minute testing is extremely difficult, especially since testing should be done on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
âWith limited availability and testing capacity nationwide, we recognize that the vast majority of our customers would not have been able to meet this new travel requirement.
âWe are sorry for the disappointment this caused. Â»Affected customers are offered a full refund within 14 days and an incentive to change reservations.
Those due to leave for Austria on January 1 or 8 can change their plans free of charge until December 29.
Travel agencies have seen a surge in bookings for winter sports vacations in Austria after France banned British tourists last week.
Cruise line MSC Cruises has canceled four UK departures on its MSC Magnifica ship due to pandemic restrictions across Europe.
The cruises, which were scheduled to depart Southampton on December 21 and 28, and January 4 and 11, were to call in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The Netherlands was stranded until at least mid-January, while Germany joined with France in banning British tourists.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has cut capacity planned for January by a third.
An airline spokesperson said: “The impact of these recent government travel restrictions, in particular the ban on UK arrivals to France and Germany last weekend, and the suspension of all EU flights to / from Morocco, lowered Ryanair’s forecast traffic in December from 10-11 million, to a lower range of 9.0-9.5 million.
“In response to these restrictions, Ryanair has now reduced its January capacity by 33%, reducing its traffic forecast for January from around 10 million to 6-7 million.”
Rory Boland, editor-in-chief of Which? Travel, said: âThe huge disruption in travel plans over the holiday season is a reminder that anyone booking travel overseas during the pandemic is at significant risk of losing some or all of their money.
âAnyone looking to book a vacation should choose a provider that has a flexible and reliable booking policy or, where applicable, package holidays, as these come with stronger financial protections.
âA good travel insurance policy will continue to be essential, and it is also advisable to book with a credit card to provide additional protection. “