Europe’s tourism big hitters failed to go green in the government’s latest update of its traffic light system for international travel.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the second review of its green, amber and red lists, with changes due to come into effect at 4am on Wednesday 30 June.
Portugal, once the only mainstream holiday destination to achieve green status, also remains stuck on amber, necessitating 10 days of quarantine and two PCR tests for all travellers returning to the UK.
In a further blow to the UK’s beleaguered tourism industry, only the slimmest handful of countries were upgraded to green, meaning arrivals into Britain no longer need to self-isolate: Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands of Spain, although every territory bar Malta is on the “green watchlist”.
The green and green watchlist is now comprised of 27 places in total.
The government currently only advises travelling internationally for leisure purposes to green list countries; however, it remains perfectly legal to go on a foreign holiday to amber or indeed red list destinations.
On the other end of the spectrum, six countries all plunged from amber to red: Haiti, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, Tunisia, Eritrea and Mongolia.
The list of 56 red list countries come with the harshest restrictions, with returning travellers forced to pay £1,750 for 11 nights in a government-mandated quarantine hotel. The price includes an airport transfer, all meals and two PCR tests to be taken on day two and day eight.
Currently, only those with British residency are allowed into the UK from red list countries.
Although amber list returnees still face prohibitive restrictions at present, the government has confirmed its plan to allow fully vaccinated travellers to skip quarantine when arriving from amber-listed countries, although they will still be required to take a test.
It intends this change to take effect from “later in the summer”.
The Department for Transport said in an update: “In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.
“We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents. They will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on Day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants.”
It will also remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.