TRAVEL website has suspended all UK holiday rentals during the coronavirus lockdown, prompting praise from MPs who had urged the firm to do so.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who represents the rural Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency, has been vocal in calling for holiday firms to stop accepting bookings during the pandemic. His demands came after reports of companies continuing to rent out properties in the Highlands and Islands despite a government-enforced lockdown preventing all non-essential movements around the UK.

Blackford said the news that would be suspending its holiday rentals would be particularly welcome for those living in rural communities.

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He said: “Anyone flouting the rules against unnecessary travel is putting lives at risk. Travelling to a rural area not only increases the risk of infection for local people, but it puts pressure on local amenities and healthcare.

“An outright ban on holiday bookings should have been taken from the outset of the lockdown, nevertheless I am pleased has taken the right decision now for the health and safety of their customers and local communities.

“What is important is that we save lives – tourism will return when it is safe to welcome people. I am grateful that so many tourist providers have contacted me and supported efforts to keep us all safe.”

In a statement to its partners on its website last night, the travel provider said: We have been closely monitoring the developments of the current crisis in order to ensure that our accommodation partners and customers have the necessary information with regards to booking permitted travel. 

"In light of the UK Government extending the lockdown, we are in turn extending the measures we have in place on our site. As of midnight tonight, we will be limiting the availability of all accommodations on our site located in the UK, until May 9 in support of the Government’s efforts to have people stay at home, and will be reviewing this date in line with their guidance."

The provider has asked its partners to arrange new dates for a future stay, a voucher for a future stay or a full refund of any prepayment or deposit.

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