England travel 'green list' to include 12 countries

A British Airways plane

A British Airways plane

In total, 12 countries and territories have been added to the green list.

British Airways is charging £530 for a flight from Heathrow to the Algarve on May 17, which is when the ban on foreign holidays will be lifted for people in England.

David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal went "through the roof" immediately after the announcement.

But he said: "This is just the first step".

Transport secretary Grant Shapps defended the government's limited list of just 12 destinations to which travel can resume from May 17 as "necessarily cautious" but insisted it "will be a fast-developing situation". "But we will be working from the same traffic light system and likely the picture will be broadly the same".

Green: There is no need to self-isolate.

Travellers to France will also need to take a test in France before returning to the UK.

Amber means that all travellers will need to self-isolate for 10 days when they return to England. The laboratory tests would normally cost £120 ($167) each and with travelers expected to undertake at least two tests per trip the reduction will offer a considerable saving to families seeking to travel overseas.

The government confirmed only Portugal and Madeira of the most-popular holiday destinations would be on the initial green list of countries under the traffic-light system for restarting global travel today and Shapps stressed the Covid-19 tests required even of travellers returning from these.

Both holiday company Tui and airline Virgin Atlantic described the green list as "overly cautious", while Easyjet's Johan Lundgren said the decision to put so few European countries on the green list was "simply not justified by the data".

A passenger at Heathrow
Travel out of the UK is only legally allowed for specific reasons such as work to buy or sell property or to attend a funeral

Our priority remains to protect public health, which is why the "green" list is now very small, with only 12 countries and territories.

Airlines UK, an industry body which represents UK carriers, said the Government must make "major additions" to the green list at the next review point in three weeks.

"However, airlines and the wider tourism sector will be hugely disappointed that the United States, which has a similar vaccination success rate has not been included on the "green list" as it would have enabled the resumption of transatlantic travel".

"We are actually classed as leisure travel - like seeing your partner is not considered essential".

Those planning to holiday in a destination on the "red" list face the toughest restrictions, and will have to check in at one of the UK's quarantine hotels, at a cost of £1,750 (around $2,445) per adult, on their return as well as follow the same testing rules for those arriving from "amber" destinations.

Comparing the whole of Friday to the whole of April 30, Thomas Cook said web traffic was 85% higher.

Ahead of the government's announcement, demand for flights to Portugal had already driven up prices as holidaymakers anticipated its green categorisation.

Travel firm Jet2 said it was committed to restarting holidays from June 24.

Shapps said: "Today marks the first step in our cautious return to worldwide travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don't throw away the hard-fought gains we've all strived to earn this year".

"We also look forward to important updates from the UK Government about a simple and affordable testing regime for customers". While holidaymakers may notice longer than usual queues, it is vital we maintain our stringent border checks - which are among the toughest in the world - to prevent new strains of the virus entering the country and putting our vaccine roll out at risk.

Experts Say No Way to Predict Who Will Get 'Vaccine Hangover'
The registration window opened at 4 pm for all people above the age of 18 years. We have seen a traffic of 55,000 hits per second.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.