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25 June 2021

Travel Worries Continue Despite Green List Easing

Following weeks of mounting pressure from the UK’s travel industry, the Government has added a number of destinations to its travel ‘green list’, meaning passengers can travel freely without the need to isolate on any leg of their journey.

Prior to the slight easing of travel restrictions set to come into effect at 4am on Wednesday 30th June, just 11 countries or territories were on the Government’s green list including Australia, Iceland and New Zealand, while holiday hotspot Portugal was moved from green to amber on 3rd June.

Now, people returning from 16 more locations won’t be required to quarantine, including those travelling from Malta, the Balearic Islands, and some Caribbean nations. Instead, travellers will need to complete a passenger locator form, take a pre-departure test at their destination, and take a PCR test on or before their second day back in the UK.

Confirming the move on Twitter, the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said: “Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the Summer, UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when returning from amber list countries.”

Despite a host of locations, including popular holiday destinations, being added to the green list and the promise of a further easing of restrictions later in the Summer, travel industry figures have criticised the move, suggesting that the plans don’t go far enough.

Speaking to the BBC, easyJet Chief Executive Garry Wilson said the plan “simply isn’t ambitious enough.” He also questions why other popular islands groups weren’t added to the green list, such as the Canary Islands and the Greek Islands, while also suggesting that the UK was falling behind Europe in terms of opening travel up to double-vaccinated residents.

Similarly, Sean Doyle, Chief Executive of British Airways, reacted to the announcement by saying that it was not enough to help the struggling sector recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“We cannot afford another missed Summer,” he said. “There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted.”

Industry body Abta echoed these sentiments, saying the announcement “will not on its own deliver the meaningful restart of international travel that the industry desperately needs.”

Some in the industry, such as Jet2’s Chief Executive Steve Heapy, welcomed the announcement as “a step in the right direction,” but noted that the current traffic light system doesn’t set out the criteria for placing countries in different lists – a point also questioned by the Labour Party.

Although the industry is calling for a further easing of the restrictions in order to restart their businesses, the speed of the vaccination programmes both in the UK and in Europe mean that travel is slowly opening back up.
Travel Worries Continue Despite Green List Easing
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