Fully jabbed Britons may not have to quarantine when they return home from amber destinations this summer, according to reports.
Ministers are working on plans to allow quarantine-free holidays this summer.
Meanwhile, Malta and the Balearic islands of Spain are slated for the green list, which is due to be updated tomorrow.
There are currently 11 countries on the green list, most inaccessible to British tourists.
It comes as the travel industry lobbies the government in a Travel Day of Action, putting pressure on the government to support the beleaguered travel industry.
Follow the latest updates below:
Travel association boss demands to see ‘evidence’ behind government decisions
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, the travel association, tells The Independent:
“We can’t understand why countries with a lower vaccination rate than us are opening much more quickly than we are. We can’t understand why.
“We’d like to see the evidence, the thinking behind that.
“We’d really like to see an announcement that if you’ve been double-vaccinated you don’t need to quarantine. That would be a great boost for confidence for now and for later in the summer. That would get cash coming in to businesses.”
“The traffic light system has different levels of quarantine and testing for different levels of risk.
“We’d like that to be implemented as it was designed, not to overlay it with another prohibition that says, ‘by the way, don’t go on leisure travel to amber countries’.
“Make the traffic light system work, make it transparent.”
Race to the sun: Simon Calder answers all your travel questions in live event
Confused about the ever-changing travel rules? Aren’t we all.
To make sense of the chaos, The Independent’s award-winning travel team is on hand for a one-off exclusive event to answer all your most pressing holiday questions.
From the restrictions travellers face at home and abroad to the best advice when it comes to booking a trip, travel editor Cathy Adams and travel correspondent Simon Calder will tackle the most pressing issues.
The Race to the Sun event will be held live over Zoom on 30 June from 6.30-7.30pm.
Click here to find out more.
Travel agency has taken just two customers on holiday since January
At the travel industry day of action in Westminster, Jill Waite, director of Pole Travel, tells The Independent’s travel correspondent: “From January to June this year, from my agency, we have had two people travel abroad this year.
“It’s been absolutely horrendous. I don’t think you could imagine. We’ve gone from very successful businesses to having no revenue. We don’t earn any money unless people travel.
“The government have basically stopped travel, and we’ve earned nothing.
“They’ve supported a lot of industries such as hospitality, but they’ve missed out travel. They class as non-essential retail but we’re not, because we haven’t got anything to sell.”
Tory MP says travel restrictions are ‘political decisions’, not just ‘data decisions'
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has said that travel restrictions are not just “data decisions” but that they are also “political”.
Speaking at today’s Travel Day of Action event, he told Travel Weekly: “Most people [MPs] realise that this is a hugely important industry both in itself but also as an enabler of so many others.
“We all know that the same plane that carries holidaymakers carries business people and cargo – and if we take away one of these elements it adds to the cost of others.”
“We need to be guided by the science,” he said, adding: “But these are not just data decisions, these are political decisions.”
Mr Tugendhat said decisions on international travel were being made at cabinet level, and MPs like him who backed a safe reopening “need our voices heard better”.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps says he hopes ‘the world could open up'
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has expressed hope that “the world could open up”, as holidaymakers await an update to the government's traffic light lists for international travel.
The Cabinet minister told the PA news agency that other countries are “catching up” with the UK's coronavirus vaccination programme.
But Thursday's review of the lists which determine the quarantine and testing requirements for people arriving in the UK is expected to be lean for holidaymakers.
Asked about the prospect of restrictions being eased, Mr Shapps said: “I'm optimistic that the world is catching up with where we are in our vaccination programme.
“What happens in the UK is, people say 'well everyone I know or a lot of people I know are vaccinated'.
“People will say that, but of course as soon as you go abroad you find that's actually not the case.
“So balancing the opening up whilst preserving people's safety and security at home is absolutely at the forefront.
“Of course I very much hope the world could open up. We've got to follow the data, and that's what we'll be doing in the meetings over the next few days.”
Singapore cuts quarantine from three weeks to two
Singapore has cut its quarantine for travellers from “high-risk” countries and regions from three weeks to two.
They must administer their own tests on the third, seventh and 11th day after arriving in Singapore.
Every country in the world is on the high-risk list apart from Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, China and New Zealand.
Singapore is currently on the UK’s “green list”, meaning travellers arriving from there aren’t subject to quarantine restrictions and need only take one PCR test rather than two when back in Britain.
Travel Day of Action event brings together hundreds of tourism workers at Westminster
Representatives from across the aviation and travel industry came together at Westminster today to put pressure on Government to safely reopen travel for this summer and provide tailored financial support to the sector.
The ‘Travel Day of Action’ sees the coming together of airlines, airports, travel management companies, tour operators, travel agencies, suppliers and partners to call on the government to capitalise on the successful vaccine rollout and reinstate a risk-managed approach around a safe return to international travel in time for the crucial peak summer period.
Supporters of the cross-industry day of action include Abta, Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK, UKinbound, the Business Travel Association, Iata, Advantage Travel Partnership, and the wider industry under the umbrella Save Future Travel Coalition, alongside unions GMB, Unite, Balpa and Prospect.
Hundreds of airline personnel including pilots, cabin crew and ground staff from major UK airlines including easyJet, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Tui attended the event, along with hundreds of staff and owners of travel agents and tour operators.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of Abta – The Travel Association said:
Time is running out for many travel agents and tour operators, they are on the brink of losing their jobs, their businesses and some of them even face losing their homes.
They feel totally abandoned by this Government – the restrictions on travel have stopped them earning a living but there hasn’t been any tailored financial support to help them through the crisis. We can’t go on like this.
The Government needs to reopen travel safely this summer and support travel businesses through the crisis.
Coronavirus pandemic has ‘decimated' Northern Ireland’s tourism industry
The coronavirus pandemic has 2decimated” Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, a Stormont official has said.
The sector went from a record-breaking year in 2019 with 5.3 million visitors, spending an estimated £1bn to a 77 per cent drop in hotel rooms sold and 73 per cent drop in air passengers going through local airports.
Geraldine Fee, director of tourism in the Department for the Economy, said 2019 had been the culmination of a “decade of investment”.
“Things were looking great until the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 and this had an immediate, massive and unprecedented impact on the sector,” she told the Stormont Economy committee.
“The pandemic effectively decimated the industry overnight.”
The department has launched an economic recovery action plan which includes £32m of funding to support tourism.
A tourism recovery steering group has also been established.
Additional reporting by agencies
Government remains ‘confident’ despite UK being taken off other countries’ green lists
Asked whether the government was concerned that the UK was being taken off the equivalent of the travel “green list” in other countries due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Well, that is a decision fundamentally for individual countries and governments to take.
“We’re working hard to use our vaccination programme and other methods to get this more transmissible variant under control. And with the high levels of vaccination that we’re seeing, we’re confident we can do that, allowing us to move to step four.”
Italy encourages tourists from US, Canada and Japan to visit after imposing quarantine on UK
Italy is encouraging tourists from the US, Canada and Japan to return just days after it announced British travellers would face a five-day quarantine.
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi made a speech today saying that holidaymakers from the three countries would be welcomed back with open arms.
“We want to allow them to come safely into Italy to help our hoteliers and restaurateurs bounce back after a year-and-a-half of difficulty,” Draghi said.
Tourists must be fully vaccinated, have proof that they have recovered from the virus within a set timeframe or provide a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken within 48 hours before entering Italy.
On Friday the Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, announced that British holidaymakers would be subject to quarantine amid rising rates of coronavirus in the UK.
Travellers entering the country from the UK must self-isolate for five days upon arrival.
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