Holidays: Simon Calder predicts new UK green list countries
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With the next traffic light review just hours away, many Britons are hoping for more opportunities to travel abroad without the need for quarantine. Yet, even if nations are categorised as “green”, experts are warning holidaymakers to only book if they are able to self-isolate for 14 days.
On June 7, Portugal was suddenly axed from the UK’s green list after thousands of holidaymakers jetted off abroad.
As a result, Britons found themselves scrambling to get home, with flight ticket costs soaring for the days before quarantine came into force.
Experts at Which? believe these sudden changes are likely to continue in the future.
“The addition of more holiday destinations to the green list would be welcomed by holidaymakers and industry alike, but travellers still need to be extremely cautious about booking trips this summer, even to green list destinations,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor.
“Countries can be downgraded quickly and with little warning, as we saw with Portugal, while several European countries have introduced quarantine requirements for UK residents.”
Indeed, German leader Angela Merkel said she believes all UK travellers entering European Union (EU) countries should be forced into self-isolation.
This is due to concerns over the “Delta variant”.
“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see,” she told parliament on Thursday.
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Mr Boland points out restrictions around the world continue to change at a rapid pace.
“Restrictions around international travel are changing regularly and when they do, the cost to holidaymakers is significant,” he said.
“Most providers will not pay refunds if a country is moved from green to amber, and ‘free’ amendments are often anything but, with many companies requiring significant notice of any changes and bookings for new dates usually costing hundreds of pounds.
“Travel insurance is also unlikely to pay out in these circumstances.”
Holidays remain risky, according to the expert.
“It is only advisable to book if you are able to do 14 days quarantine, can be flexible about destination and dates, and book with a provider that guarantees refunds in the event of traffic light changes or quarantine requirements,” he said.
At the time of writing, the Government has yet to announce which nations, if any, will be added to the green list.
It is also possible there will be some changes to the red and amber lists.
In recent weeks, there has been some hope the vaccine roll-out could see travel opening up more freely for double jabbed Britons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters there is a “real opportunity” to “open up travel through the double jab”.
So far more than 60 percent of the adult population have had two injections, and 83 percent have had one.
However, Mr Johnson added: “I’m not going to claim that this summer for travel purposes is going to be like any summer.”
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