Last month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out a framework for the return of international travel.
He announced a traffic light system that sees countries across the globe assessed and categorised as red, amber or green based on the risk and restrictions required for travel.
In line with the Government’s roadmap, international travel will be permitted from Monday, May 17, so it is expected that we find out which countries are in the green, amber and red zones closer to this date. Until then, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is advising people ‘not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer’.
“It is incredibly frustrating that we don’t yet know which countries will be in which zones,” said Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller. “The travel industry is calling on the Government for more notice than a few days before international travel is allowed again so they can get organised and put suitable packages and flights together and out to the market.”
What we know so far
What we do know is that the key factors in assessing which destinations go into the red, amber and green lists will include:
- the percentage of population that have been vaccinated
- the rate of infection
- the prevalence of any variants of concern
- the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
In terms of the measures that will apply to those travelling to and from countries in red, amber and green zones, the following will apply:
Arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into England. They won’t need to quarantine on return, unless they receive a positive result.
Arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of ten days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day two and day eight, with the option of a Test to Release on day five to end self-isolation early.
Arrivals will be subject to a ten-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on days two and eight.
“Much has been said about the measures that will be in place for those returning to the UK, but little is understood about what may be required at the destinations UK travellers will arrive in,” said Rob.
“This could result in potentially high costs if, for example, two tests are required on arrival at the destination and a further two tests when you return to the UK. Paying for four PCR tests per person, which is the Government’s preferred method of testing as it can pick up more variants of COVID-19, could work out extremely costly for a family. In some cases, it could cost more than the holiday itself! This is worth keeping in mind when looking at booking holidays for 2021 and beyond.
“Personally, I would advise waiting until at we have at least seen sight of the countries on the red, amber and green lists before booking a holiday abroad.”
Rob and Lisa Gower of Dragonfly Traveller work as travel PAs, building bespoke holidays for their customers. Call 01604 661100 or visit www.dragonflytraveller.co.uk for further travel advice