Destinations react to UK’s decision to remove them from the red list

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » Destinations react to UK’s decision to remove them from the red list

Countries around the world have been reacting to the UK’s decision to remove them from the red travel list, which will allow holidaymakers to visit without being forced into mandatory quarantine when they return.

In total, 47 more countries and territories will be removed from the red list on 11 October, leaving just seven.

Here’s some of the reaction:

Danny Callaghan, CEO of the Latin American Travel Association

“We are pleased to see that a number of Latin American countries have finally been removed from the red list which will be a huge relief to our travel partners, many of whom are Latin American specialists and have not been able to trade at all for the last 18 months. We hope that this will provide a lifeline to some of these companies and enable them to recoup some business for the remainder of 2021.

“However, it beggars belief that all the remaining seven countries on the red list are in, or off the coast of, Latin America. Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama are all way ahead of other countries that have come off the list in terms of case rates, vaccination and testing regimes. I am at an utter loss to understand how this continued poor treatment of Latin American countries can be justified.

“I also feel that these developments could very easily have been announced two weeks ago, before the end of furlough, and might well have saved jobs in our sector. The reality is nothing significant has happened in recent weeks to have changed the government position on restrictions. Instead, this poorly timed announcement shows how little value the government places on our industry.

“I would also still like to see clarity from the UK Government on the criteria they use to make these decisions, particularly for the seven destinations left on the red list. Once again, we call for a clear and transparent explanation of this shambolic approach to travel.” 

Khun Chiravadee, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, UK & Ireland

“After much speculation this week we are so happy to see Thailand come off the UK’s travel red list. It’s a very timely boost for Thailand’s travel industry.

We’re heading into peak season with our best weather ahead, particularly along the Andaman coast and insights from our UK tour operators tells us there is huge interest in travel to Thailand and 1,000’s of postponed holidays set to be rebooked both for immediate winter sun getaways and departures in 2022.

Today’s announcement gives travellers the much needed confidence to (re)make travel plans.”

Ian Utermohlen, South African Tourism Regional General Manager for Europe

South African Tourism said it is working with the travel trade to instil confidence in packaging and selling the destination.

“We have planned a number of training events throughout 2021 and 2022, including interactive events like virtual wine tasting and partner events with other destinations in Southern Africa. We will also continue to interact via our trade social channels, dedicated webpage and email marketing campaigns.

“When travel restrictions have lifted, we will resume the hosting of agent FAMs in the destination and re-establish ‘SAT School’, our trade training roadshow along with our annual Product Workshop. South African Tourism will continue to reinforce the positive impact tourism has on jobs, communities and the economy in South Africa, the importance the sector will play in recovery cannot be overstated.”

Marc Murphy, Managing Director of Riviera Nayarit’s Visitors and Conventions Bureau in Mexico

“We are absolutely delighted to see that the UK government has lifted the current travel restrictions with Mexico so we can start welcoming British visitors for the remainder of the year and over the Christmas period.

Although visitors to Mexico often opt for Tulum or Cancun, Riviera Nayarit is a hidden treasure on the Pacific Coast and is slowly emerging as one of Mexico’s best kept secrets thanks to the beautiful beaches, gorgeous coastal towns and many new luxury properties. The UK market is the most important European source market for Riviera Nayarit so we are eagerly awaiting this update.”

Agents have also been reacting to the news.

Kirsten Hughes, UK Managing Director at Travel Counsellors

We have seen huge pent-up demand for countries including South Africa, Thailand and Costa Rica, so we’re very pleased that our leisure customers and business clients will have even more opportunity to travel.  

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, our leisure travel trading figures exceeded those for the same week in 2019. Travel Counsellors have also just achieved the highest week for corporate bookings this financial year, with sales at over half of pre-pandemic levels.

We are truly seeing the resurgence of long haul, as leisure travellers have a strong desire to see some winter sun, with popular destinations including the USA, the Maldives, UAE and Caribbean, in addition to shorter haul destinations such as Tenerife. Customer confidence is improving all the time.

Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel

“Today’s confirmation that just a handful of countries will remain on the red list is a resounding relief for our industry – recovery now feels more palpable than ever before.
“It is especially welcome to see countries like Mexico, which will form an important part of our winter lates market, being removed from the red list. The move brings the UK market further in line with our counterparts across Europe and the US and hopefully marks the beginning of a stronger recovery for our industry. 

“Demand for late bookings is still growing and we expect this announcement will prompt more people to confirm long-awaited plans.”

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