An increasing number of agents and tour operators believe the amber list should be ditched, leaving only a green list for COVID-safe destinations and a red list for countries the Government says are off limits.
The majority of countries are listed as amber, including most of Europe. Although it’s not illegal to visit amber destinations, the Government has said people should only go if absolutely necessary.
The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary suggested reasons could include, for example, attending the funeral of a close relative, but not leisure travel.
However, as suppliers don’t have to refund customers booked to travel to amber countries that are not on the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s non-essential travel list, many customers risk losing money if they don’t go.
There’s also a question mark over whether insurance policies are valid for trips to amber countries.
Travel Gossip member, Southall Travel Product Manager for Asia and Australia Adrian Pointer said: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had just green and red countries, cheaper testing and complete separation of these passengers at UK airports?
“Our lives would be made so much easier. Insurance companies would know what they’re doing too.
“Personally, I think it’s completely irresponsible for tour operators offering holidays to amber list countries at the moment.
“It’s also asking for trouble, with refunds and anxious clients. People may lose confidence in us! The precious clients we do have.
“With operators refusing refunds to amber list countries we’re going to be the ones who take the brunt.”
Another Travel Gossiper said: “Not sure why there is an amber list, completely ridiculous. Green and red only and would be so much clearer for everyone.”
On Twitter, Gold Medal Sales Director Nick Hughes asked: “Why have amber destinations? Just have red and green. At least everyone would know where we stand.
“It would be uncomplicated. And whilst we’re at it, the green list should only contain countries that have a reciprocal deal so they allow UK tourists in.”
He added: “I think half of the trouble is the contradictory advice given by Shapps, Boris Johnson, Hancock, etc.
“It’s as though they’re all reading different guidelines that just causes more confusion when customers are looking for clear guidance to settle any of the nerves they have left.”
Travel agent Simon Oram, whose Twitter post started a flurry of agents tweeting Grant Shapps after his ‘thing of the past’ comment about travel agents at the Downing Street press briefing on 7 May, said: “The Government is making our job harder and harder with this.
“The traffic light system seemed, at first, to open up travel for the first time in 15 months, but now it’s more confusing than ever! I’m supposed to be going to Corfu [at the] start of July. God knows if that will happen!”
Martin Johnson, Co-Founder and Director of Latin Routes and Polar Routes and Vice Chair of the Latin America Travel Association, replied to Nick Hughes’ tweet saying: “We were saying just the same thing. If amber is a no-go, then really it’s just yes or no.”
Nisha Bean added: “Totally agree – green and red. Everyone will understand and know what they can and cannot do.”
And the team at Kelly’s Travel tweeted: “Get rid of amber, it’s just causing mass confusion.”