- Quote: ‘Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower risk rating than the mainland, and that could happen again this year’.
By Andrew Atkinson
According to a new report, only eight countries may be declared safe for foreign holidays abroad this summer, dependent on whether their governments allow Brits in, due to COVID-19.
Due to high Covid-19 rates in Spain, Greece, Italy, and Cyprus, they are likely to be classed as “amber” – but it is possible that the islands will be given their own rating.
The report said: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower risk rating than the mainland, and that could happen again this year.”
The report written by Robert Boyle, former BA strategy chief, was circulated in the travel industry.
It suggests most of continental Europe will be classified as “amber” or “red” – meaning quarantine will be required for anyone arriving in the UK from those locations.
This has meant growing uncertainty for a number of airlines.
Ireland, Iceland, the USA and Malta could all be placed on the green list for foreign travel, under the traffic light system – along with Israel, Australia, New Zealand and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
Both Australia and New Zealand are closed to foreign tourists currently, which means in real terms there may only be six destinations.
Currently, going abroad on holiday from England is illegal – with rules set to be relaxed from May 17 if the roadmap out of the lockdown continues as planned.
People arriving from countries listed as “red” would be required to quarantine at a hotel – at a reported cost of £1,750 when they return to England. Arrival would only be allowed through designated ports-of-entry.
The Netherlands, France, Turkey, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg should be “red” under the criteria, researchers found, but this is unlikely to happen for political reasons, the report stated.
Countries classified as “amber” will require people to quarantine at home for 10 days after their arrival.
Only five countries have vaccinated more than five percent of their population – the US, Israel, Gibraltar, the UAE and Malta – while only seven have less than 50 cases per million people: China, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Iceland and Gibraltar.
According to The Telegraph, variant rates are worst in Turkey, Luxembourg, France, Finland, Belgium, Holland and South Africa.
easyJet has continued to operate some flights during the pandemic, however, these could be impacted by sudden changes or cancellations.
The airline’s package holiday arm, easyJet holidays, has cancelled all holiday plans up to May 17, in line with Government guidelines.
In a statement on its website, easyJet holidays said: “Currently, the Government has said that the planned restart date for international travel is still due to be 17 May and that’s the date we’re planning to start taking people away again.
“The Government has also shared a little bit more about how holidays can be restarted again and the introduction of a traffic light system – they will share which traffic light colour destinations fall under in early May, so we’ll know even more then. We’re continually working through how Covid-19 may impact future bookings in departure date order.
“If your holiday becomes affected, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.”
For flight only journeys, easyJet says it is planning to operate as many flights as possible, but warns varying travel restrictions around the world could impact journeys.
“We appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing you and understand that you may need to change your travel plans,” states easyJet.
“So to provide you with some flexibility, we currently have these options available.
“Switch to another easyJet flight for free. This includes the option to select a different arrival and departure airport within the same country of the original booking if you wish.
“Choose a voucher for the full value of your ticket. The voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and gives you the flexibility to book travel anywhere on our network when you’re ready to fly.
“Request a refund. Our team are currently processing refund requests within seven days, and this may take a few days to show as available in your account, depending on your bank.”
Jet2 has made the decision to cancel all flights and package holidays until June 23, 2021, due to the ongoing uncertainty of the traffic light system.
The airline made the announcement on April 9. In a statement on its website Jet2 said: “Because of the continued uncertainty following the release of the Global Travel Taskforce framework, it’s with a heavy heart that we’ve taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights up to and including 23 June 2021.
“If you’re affected by any programme changes, we’ll automatically cancel your booking with a full refund and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help you book your summer getaway for later in the year.
“If you’re due to travel from 24 June 2021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time.”
Customers who made their booking via an online travel agent must contact their provider directly.
TUI continues to move forward with plans to resume some flights and holidays from May 17, at the earliest.
However, it notes this will be in line with the traffic light system as well as any Government restrictions at that time.
In a statement on the TUI website, it said: “Following the recent announcement from the UK government, customers travelling from England will be subject to a new traffic light system with ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ destinations.
“It’s expected that international travel can resume from 17 May at the earliest.”
TUI has a holiday promise in place which will mean customers are entitled to change your booking to another date for free or receive a full refund if their holiday can not go ahead.
“If we need to cancel your holiday for any of these reasons, you don’t need to do anything,” said the TUI website.
“We’ll work through bookings in departure date order to proactively contact you as soon as we can.
“If you have an accommodation-only booking, which isn’t impacted by travel restrictions, and that you, therefore, don’t want to cancel, please give us a call,” it added.
The Spain and UK Government tourism ministers have are having ongoing discussions about the situation of holidays to and from their countries for summer holidays 2021.