Covid: Travel firms reject ‘overly cautious’ green list

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The travel industry has expressed disappointment that so few countries are on the UK government’s green list for travel, describing the announcement as “overly cautious”.

The traffic light system means travel abroad from 17 May will not be illegal.

The 12 green list countries, which include Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel, will not require people to quarantine on return to England.

Firms said leaving the US off the list would risk the UK “falling behind”.

Travel to amber or red lists countries is not advised.

The change in travel rules applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not said when they might ease their strict travel rules.

Only four of the countries on the green list are in Europe, and Portugal is the only large holiday destination from the continent on the list.

Israel and Singapore are also included, but Australia and New Zealand – which are approved as safe by the UK government – are not currently allowing in visitors from abroad.

France, Greece, Italy and Spain, normally hugely popular holiday destinations for UK travellers, are not included on the safe list.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of holiday firm TUI, said: “While we were expecting to see just a handful of destinations on the green list, this is an overly cautious start.”

Airlines UK, representing UK carriers, described it as “a missed opportunity” and “a reopening of air travel in name only” which left the UK “at risk of falling behind”.

And Easyjet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science, and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.”

UK citizens risked missing out on bookings for hotels if other European tourists were permitted to travel, he added.

Agencies
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