The Government has finally confirmed that Portugal has been booted off the green list and no more destinations have been added, leaving the travel industry virtually unable to sell holidays to customers who don’t want to quarantine on return.
The decision to demote Portugal also applies to Madeira and the Azores and is effective from 4am on Tuesday 8 June. It means the green list only leaves Gibraltar as a viable summer-sun destination.
Anyone arriving back from Portugal after it moves to amber will have to quarantine at home for 10 days – unless they cut their holiday short to arrive back before the new rules set in.
The industry had been banking on more summer-sun destinations being added in the Government’s first review of its traffic light system on COVID-safe travel.
There are now real concerns that jobs will go and companies will not be able to survive without more support.
Westoe Travel Director Graeme Brett said: “So many people were relying on an extension of the green list. We’re coming up to July when employers have to contribute more to the furlough scheme, which ends in September. If we are not going to get foreign travel trips soon, it will make a massive impact on employment within the industry.”
Advantage Travel Partnership CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “With Portugal now having been added to the amber list, we are stuck in what can only be described as a travel déjà vu. We have been clear from the outset that countries falling off the list at short notice creates anxiety, confusion, dents consumer confidence and throws up huge operational challenges for travel agents and the industry.”
Earlier, Ms Lo Bue-Said tweeted: “Tourism doesn’t just impact the economy of the host country, it impacts thousands of travel companies and jobs in the UK. If we can’t open up and trade after a 14-month near shut down adequate financial support is a must.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The public has always known travel will be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopening international travel in a way that protects public health and the vaccine rollout.
“While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list.”
Seven destinations have been added to the red list: Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Sudan.