Politics

Green travel list changes ‘not enough to save summer’

Londoners looking to escape the dreary downpour that is the British summer may have had their hopes dashed as amendments look set to take place to the ever-changing travel list.

The news comes as ministers have been accused of being ‘overly cautious’ with a ‘complex’ system. The outcome of this could see countries on the so-called green list quickly switch to the amber list, reports The Mirror.

In a boost to Brit tourists a handful of popular destinations were added to the government’s green list, meaning quarantining is no longer necessary on the return trip.

READ MORE: Heathrow and Gatwick: 7 countries that have been added to the UK’s red list

But all the new additions except Malta will be on a special “green watchlist” – which serves as a warning to holidaymakers.

Malta has been added to the government’s green list

The watchlist has the same rules as the green list, but with the caveat that those countries are at risk of turning amber again.

Israel and Jerusalem, already green, have been moved to the watchlist meaning they too are at risk of turning amber.

Travel industry figures and MPs claimed the government had created “further complexity and confusion” with the system.

Henry Smith, Tory chairman of the all-party Future of Aviation Group, was reported to have said: “What the travel and tourism sector needs is certainty, and putting them on an amber light or uncertain green won’t provide that.

Green travel list changes 'not enough to save summer'

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“I welcome the direction of travel that sees greater, safer reopening but the list of green countries is overly cautious and the cost and complexity of testing is still a discouraging factor for people being able to travel.”

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators’ Association, added: “Any extension of the green list is welcome, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.”

And easyJet has said the timetable “simply isn’t ambitious enough”.

The airline said the announcement was “not the safe and sustainable reopening of travel the government promised”.

British Airways warned the sector could not afford “another missed summer”.

And CBI chief UK policy director Matthew Fell said: “While welcome, these limited movements on green list countries won’t be enough to salvage the summer season for the international travel sector.

“International connectivity extends far beyond tourism and underpins our whole economy. The UK’s successful vaccine rollout means we should be in the vanguard of safely restarting international travel.”

Grant Shapps confirmed on Thursday that Malta, the Balearic Islands and Caribbean Islands were among the countries which will be added to the green list.

The Transport Secretary published a list confirming the changes which will come into effect from Wednesday at 4am.

Mr Shapps said: “We’re adding Malta to the Govt green list.

“We’re also adding Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK Overseas Territories and Caribbean Islands (including Barbados) to the green list and green watchlist.”

Green travel list changes 'not enough to save summer'
Madeira is a Portugese autonomous zone

Meanwhile, six countries including Tunisia and Haiti will be put on the red list, he said.

The two countries, plus the Dominican Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey are now part of the high-risk countries.

It comes after the government announced double-jabbed Brits will be allowed to travel to amber list countries “later in the summer” without having to quarantine for ten days on their return.

In a string of reforms, the government will drop its official advice to people not to travel to the amber list – which includes the vast majority of holiday destinations, like France and Spain.

Fully-vaccinated amber list holidaymakers will also only have to take two gold-standard Covid tests – not three – when they return to the UK.


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