Travel news latest: Traffic light system would deliver ‘clarity’ to holidaymakers

British holidaymakers could travel overseas quarantine-free this summer under a traffic-light style system to “green list” countries, a proposal that has been welcomed by industry bosses. 

“The traffic lights system would bring clarity as countries would be categorised by criteria including vaccine rollout, infection rates and hospital infrastructure. It would be designed to give visibility to those going away on how a country is performing,” said Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency. “Consumers are ready to accept sun, sand, sea and swab this summer if it means a safe overseas trip,” he added.

Travellers returning to the UK from “amber” countries would likely face pre-departure testing and quarantine for at least five days under the proposed system, while the ban on travel from “red list” countries is likely to continue.

Airlines UK, the trade body for UK registered airlines also welcomed the plan: “We know that universal, restriction-free travel is unlikely from 17 May but under a tiered system, based on risk, international travel can meaningfully restart and build up, with minimal restrictions in time,” said chief executive Tim Alderslade.

The details of the plan for the resumption of international travel are due to be revealed by the Global Travel Taskforce on April 12. However, Government ministers have cautioned consumers against booking holidays against the backdrop of rising infection rates in Europe. 

“It just feels premature to be booking international holidays at the moment,” Helen Whately, Minister of State for Social Care, told BBC Breakfast on Monday, echoing statements made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Sunday.

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Which countries are on the travel ‘red list’?

The travel ”red list” looks set to continue when overseas holidays restart. There are no European nations currently on the list. Four countries – Oman, Qatar, Somalia and Ethiopia – were added from 4am on Friday, while Portugal and Mauritius were removed. Under current restrictions, direct flights from the red-listed nations are banned: Britons currently in these countries must fly home via a third nation. 

Hotel quarantine rules apply to all British citizens who have been in or transited through red list countries in the previous 10 days. Any non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the past 10 days will simply be denied entry to the country.

  1. Angola
  2. Argentina
  3. Bolivia
  4. Botswana
  5. Brazil
  6. Burundi
  7. Cape Verde
  8. Chile
  9. Colombia
  10. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  11. Ecuador
  12. Eswatini
  13. Ethiopia
  14. French Guiana
  15. Guyana
  16. Lesotho
  17. Malawi
  18. Mozambique
  19. Namibia
  20. Oman
  21. Panama
  22. Paraguay
  23. Peru
  24. Qatar
  25. Rwanda
  26. Seychelles
  27. Somalia
  28. South Africa
  29. Suriname
  30. Tanzania
  31. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  32. Uruguay
  33. Venezuela
  34. Zambia
  35. Zimbabwe

Illegal street party causes anger in Marseille

More than 6,000 mostly unmasked people took part in an illegal street party in the southern French city of Marseille at the weekend, leading to condemnation of an “unaccceptable” breach of Covid-19 rules.

The carnival-type gathering in the port city drew mostly young people, many of whom expressed frustration at restrictions on gatherings and the closure of bars and nightclubs during the pandemic.

Marseille was not among the 16 different regions which entered a fresh lockdown on Saturday, with its current caseload lower than national hotspots such as nearby city Nice along the Mediterranean coast or the capital region.

“It’s completely unacceptable at a time when all of us are making efforts, are adapting and organising ourselves to respect the different rules in order to fight against the pandemic,” interior ministry spokeswoman Camille Chaize told Franceinfo radio on Monday.

New Zealand drafts plans for Australia travel bubble

New Zealand is finalising a long-awaited travel bubble with neighbouring Australia and will reveal next month when trans-Tasman trips can resume, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

auckland

New Zealanders have been able to return to a normality due to the country’s handling of the virus

Credit:
Getty

Speaking almost exactly a year after New Zealand closed its borders as Covid-19 swept across the globe, Ardern acknowledged many Kiwis were impatient for quarantine-free travel to and from Australia. But she said the government would exercise the cautious approach that has seen New Zealand largely contain the virus, with just 26 deaths in a population of five million.

“Many New Zealanders are nervous, they don’t want to put everything we’ve fought so hard for at risk,” she said during a press conference.

Before the pandemic, Australia was New Zealand’s largest source of overseas visitors and many Kiwis have relatives living across the Tasman. All overseas arrivals to New Zealand must currently undergo two weeks quarantine, but Ardern said she would make an announcement on April 6 about when the requirement will be waived for arrivals from Australia.

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Will holidays return on May 17? 

There are four key factors behind whether holidays, writes Nick Trend. The first hurdle to overcome will be whether or not the Government’s Travel Taskforce manages to report on time. 

The domestic and global epidemiological picture and the prevalence and location of any “variants of concern” are among the other major considerations. 

Read his analysis.

‘Premature comments on holidays damage [consumer] confidence’

Britons who have booked, or who were planning, a foreign holiday this summer will have been disheartened by comments from Government ministers in recent days. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday that it is “premature” to book a foreign summer holiday, a comment echoed by Helen Whately, Minister of State for Social Care this morning. 

The travel industry is quick to point out that May 17 is still eight weeks away and the Global Travel Taskforce is yet to report on its recommendations for the resumption of overseas holidays.

European holidays may be off until vaccine rates catch up with UK

Summer holidays in Europe could be off until vaccination rates on the continent catch up with the UK, under plans being considered by a Government taskforce, reports Charles Hymas.

The group, led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, is due to publish a report in three weeks’ time on how to restart foreign tourism. 

It is expected to propose a traffic light-style system that could allow British holidaymakers quarantine-free travel to “green list” low-risk countries.

However, a third wave of Covid-19 sweeping Europe amid disarray over its vaccination programme risks it being a “traffic light system with no countries on the green list” when foreign travel is scheduled to resume on May 17, according to a taskforce insider.

Read the full story.