Impact of new travel listings on summer vacation plans explained

Hopes for a summer vacation abroad are fading after travel rules tighten amid growing concerns over coronavirus variants and mutations.

Travel bosses say they face “another lost summer” after Portugal was added to the Orange Travel List just weeks after the holiday hotspot reopened to British tourists.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps blamed the move on “some kind of Nepalese mutation of the so-called Indian variant” having been detected and an increase in the test positivity rate in the country.

The news comes as it has been revealed that the variant first identified in India is now the dominant Covid strain in the UK.

Portugal, including the islands of Madeira and the Azores, will be removed from the green list which dispenses with quarantine on return from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, meaning travelers will have to self-isolate for 10 days at their home.

The news comes as it has been revealed that the variant first identified in India is now the dominant Covid strain in the UK.

Portugal, including the islands of Madeira and the Azores, will be removed from the green list which dispenses with quarantine on return from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, meaning travelers will have to self-isolate for 10 days at their home.

The travel industry reacted with dismay to Thursday’s announcement, which also confirmed that no additional countries will move to the green list at this time, despite speculation that popular destinations such as some Spanish and Greek islands could be added.

The travel industry reacted with dismay to Thursday’s announcement, which also confirmed that no other country will move to the green list at this time, despite speculation that popular destinations such as some Spanish and Greek islands could be added.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye accused the government of “anything but guaranteeing another summer lost for the travel industry”.

What will the government’s decision on travel lists mean for vacationers? Here’s everything you need to know about the system and what the changes mean.

What are the travel lists?

The government has created a risk-based traffic light system with red, orange and green ratings for countries around the world. The assessments determine the quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements people face upon returning to the UK.

What are the rules?

People returning from green destinations do not need to self-quarantine, but those arriving from orange places must self-isolate at home for 10 days.

Traffic light system

Arrivals from a red level country must enter a quarantine hotel.

Do the rules cover people in England, Great Britain, or the whole of the UK?

Government lists and rules only apply in England, but have been largely reflected by devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

What changed on Thursday?

Portugal was the only viable tourist destination on the Green List, but it was placed on the Amber List.

The most popular vacation spots were already in the amber category, such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

Seven other countries – Sri Lanka, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago – were added to the red list.

The government said that in the new countries on the red list, the prevalence of Covid was assessed as high and that there was evidence suggesting community transmission of variants of concern.

Is there anything added to the green list?

There was speculation that some Spanish and Greek islands, as well as Malta, would be added, but the government has decided that will not happen.

Will the changes take effect immediately?

The new changes take effect at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, giving holidaymakers in Portugal a chance to return home and avoid quarantine requirements.

Can I visit an Amber Country as long as I quarantine myself at home upon my return?

While there is no law prohibiting people from traveling to an Orange List country for vacations, the government is urging people not to do so.

Can I book travel to amber destinations?

Although online travel company On the Beach has stopped selling summer vacations due to a lack of “certainty or clarity,” there are many companies that sell and organize trips to Amber Countries.

If I cancel my trip because the destination is on the orange list, will I be reimbursed?

You will only be entitled to a refund from a package holiday provider if the Department of Foreign Affairs advises against travel.

However, if the government simply moves a country to the Amber List – as is the case with Portugal – but the Foreign Ministry’s opinion does not change, you are not entitled to a refund.

Most travel agencies refuse refunds under these circumstances, although some companies including Exodus, Kuoni and easyJet Holidays have been praised by consumer group Which? for their flexible policies.

If you have booked a package tour, you must call the travel agency with which you booked your vacation. However, vacation companies will likely prioritize impending trips. Therefore, if your trip is in a few weeks, you may be asked to contact them closer to your scheduled departure date.

Travelers who have booked flights and a hotel separately will need to contact their airline and accommodation separately.

Airlines like Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet offer a flexible change policy, allowing you to change your flight for free.

You will be entitled to a refund if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel and the airline cancels your flight.

Whether you can get your money back on accommodation will depend on individual booking policies. Again, travelers will need to contact their supplier directly.

Am I still insured if I travel?

You risk invalidating your travel travel insurance against the advice of the government. Check your policy and with your insurers.

Ok so these are the rules for when I get home. But will the destinations let me in?

It depends on where you want to go. Some Green List countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, are closed to international tourists.

But there are many popular hotspots open. Portugal requires visitors to show proof of a recent negative test, while Spain has lifted all restrictions on British tourists.


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