British tourists arriving at Palma airport this week. | P. BOTA

Race Against Amber

The week started with a mass exodus of unvaccinated British tourists as they rushed to beat Monday’s 4am quarantine deadline. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the Balearics’ demotion to the amber list on Thursday, sparking a mad scramble for flight tickets and pre-flight testing. The unjabbed youth were most affected, with plenty openly expressing their disgruntlement on social media - particularly as the UK was experiencing higher positive test rates than the Balearics. The incessant rule changing is creating huge uncertainty in the travel sector, with many now opting to stay home to avoid any hassle. On the flipside, double-jabbed holidaymakers were able to remain poolside, San Miguel in hand, as Monday also heralded the start of isolation-free amber travel for the fully-vaccinated elite. Spain is now collectively crossing its fingers against Mr Shapps’ dreaded amber-plus.

easyJet Remains Upbeat

Despite constantly changing travel rules, easyJet boss Johan Lundgren told reporters on Tuesday that he was confident that UK travel demand would continue to pick up now rules for fully-vaccinated Britons had relaxed. The airline plans to fly 60% of its pre-pandemic capacity between July and September and says it’s ‘able to cope with shifting demands’. easyJet shares traded up 2% after Johan’s buoyant update, having lost around 20% of their value over the last month. Meanwhile, more than 2.3 million international travellers arrived in Spanish airports in June 2021, the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. This is still 76% down on June 2019.

Restriction Rumour Mill was Rife

As record coronavirus cases were reported in the Balearics, the rumour mill went into overdrive as to what restrictions would be thrown at us next. Would we see the return of outdoor mask wearing? A new curfew? Or worse? Instead, the Government continued to focus on the behaviour of the younger unvaccinated members of society and, from Thursday 22 July, ordered a 01:00 closure for restaurants in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza, and limited seating to four per table inside, eight outside. From Saturday, social gatherings were banned between 01:00 and 06:00. Formentera was allowed to retain its freedom. Some pretty hefty fines were also introduced for stores selling alcohol after 22:00, illegal street drinking parties, and breaking quarantine after a positive test - among others.

Low-Key Start to Troubled Tokyo 2020

Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony (without a creative director, he was fired over a Holocaust joke he made in 1998), was performed to a crowd of just a thousand dignitaries, diplomats and sponsors, as the stripped-back games continued to battle a series of scandals. Year-long delay aside, Tokyo has contended with a somewhat troublesome backdrop, from an alleged rape committed by a Uzbek working in the national stadium to a vanishing Ugandan weightlifter. Anti-Olympics protests are ongoing, with locals expressing their anger at hosting 11,000 overseas athletes in a city that is under a state of emergency for rising COVID-19 cases. Indeed, there have already been positive coronavirus tests within the Olympic Village. To cap it off, Tokyo is set to be the hottest Olympics on record, with temperatures topping the 30s on a daily basis - perhaps putting some athletes in physical danger. It’s certainly secured its place in the history books.

Chump of the Week

This accolade went to a British stag who, during a spirited night out in Magalluf, decided to ditch his rented moped dunce-like into the Med. Every action has a consequence, and for this chap that was a tap on the shoulder from the police as he was about to board his flight back home. A Palma judge slapped him with a 6,000 euro fine and took his passport for safe keeping. Unlucky for him, he was due to get married the next day and had to beg his furious fiancée to postpone the nuptials as he made frantic phone calls to collate the cash. One suspects he’s now booked in for an extended holiday in the dog house.