On May 17th, the rules around foreign travel are being relaxed to allow people in England to take foreign holidays. The travel and hospitality industries had been looking forward to the announcement of which countries would be on the green list, meaning that visitors would be able to visit without having to quarantine upon their return.
The ‘Stay in the UK’ regulation will lift on 17 May, meaning leisure travel from England will no longer be illegal. However, speaking at a No10 press conference, the Transport Secretary Grant Schapps, outlined how strict border control measures will remain in place as international travel gradually resumes. Different levels of restriction will be applied to individuals returning to England from countries based on the traffic light system set out by the Global Travel Taskforce.
12 countries and territories have been added to the green list. Some of these include: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira; Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Falkland Islands; and Israel and Jerusalem.
The government will be reviewing the travel corridors every three weeks to assess the ongoing fight against covid. Countries will be added or taken from the list as the situation develops worldwide.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said ‘’Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international 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.
‘’This is a new way of doing things, and people should expect travel to be different this summer – with longer checks at the borders, as part of tough measures to prevent new strains of the virus entering the country and putting our fantastic vaccine rollout at risk.’’
Travel firms have reacted with dismay to the low number of countries added to the safe travel list. Andrew Flintham, managing director of holiday firm TUI, said: "While we were expecting to see just a handful of destinations on the green list, this is an overly cautious start."
And Easyjet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science, and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy."
Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash