Coronavirus: Stranded Bristol tourist advice 'not good enough'

  • Published
May ColquhounImage source, May Colquhoun
Image caption,
May Colquhoun said tourists were "not being given enough clarity" on what support is there for them

A mother and daughter stranded in Australia said the British embassy's advice to call family for money was "not good enough".

May Colquhoun and her mother, both from Bristol, flew to Melbourne on 11 February before the Foreign Office issued travel advice over coronavirus.

She said she keeps "bursting into tears" because she does not know when she will get home.

The Foreign Office said: "We are working around the clock to help them."

Cafe owner Miss Colquhoun and her mother travelled to Australia for a holiday with Emirates but following the spread of coronavirus arranged flights home with the airline on 21 March.

But due to the global spread of Covid-19, Emirates - along with other airlines - grounded flights and told them they might not be able to travel until July.

After speaking with the British embassy in Melbourne, Miss Colquhoun said tourists were "not being given enough clarity" on what support is there for them.

Image source, May Colquhoun
Image caption,
Many flights from Australia have been cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak

She said: "My mum is running out of medication for her high blood pressure and we have no financial support.

"The embassy's response was to ask our family for money if we needed financial help.

"There seems to be no strategy in place to help financially, no repatriation."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said the government was calling for "international action" to keep air routes open.

"British tourists abroad are already finding difficulties returning to the UK because of international travel restrictions and domestic policies around the world,"

'Seats cancelled'

Miss Colquhoun said she tried to book a flight home with numerous airlines but the seats have all been cancelled.

She said: "We tried calling Emirates airlines 339 times after they cancelled our latest attempt at booking flights last minute, they even let us check in online the day before.

"They even sorted our seats before they cancelled soon after."

Emirates has been approached for comment.