BRITS can finally travel abroad from May 17 – with summer holidays back on the cards.
The government yesterday published its new traffic light system for foreign travel, with Portugal and Israel among tourist favourites on the green list.
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Only a select few destinations have made the green list as Boris Johnson seeks to prevent new Covid variants entering the UK.
Travellers returning from green list countries will still need to take a test at least 72 hours prior to departure.
The green list is set to be reviewed every three weeks and could change depending on the Covid situation in both Britain and your holiday destination.
It means that your destination could suddenly be plunged into amber status – we look at what that means for your holiday below.
What countries are on the green list?
Countries on the green list include Israel, Singapore, Portugal, the Falkland Islands, Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Brunei.
And New Zealand and Australia are also on the list – but they have their own entry requirements and are unlikely to let in tourists at the moment.
France, Greece and Spain are NOT yet on the green list, meaning Brits will have to wait until at least June 7 to find if they can go on holiday there this summer.
Can I travel anywhere on the green list?
Not quite. Entry to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands is severely restricted.
But Portugal plans to welcome Brits who have had a recent negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or had both doses of a vaccine.
Gibraltar will not require UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, whereas Israel will initially reopen its border on May 23 only to groups of foreign tourists who have had both jabs.
What happens if I book a green list country but it becomes amber?
If you have booked a holiday in a green list country that later turns amber, you will need to self isolate on your return to the UK.
The government has pledged to offer a “watchlist” for green list countries to warn Brits when a country is about to turn amber.
Travel firms have said they will be flexible – with TUI allowing customers to amend a trip for free if a green destination goes on the watchlist or if an amber destination turns red.
Thomas Cook has also promised that Brits can change their holiday for free if a destination turns amber.
Can I book a trip to an amber country?
The amber list covers the most popular holiday destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
Non-essential trips to amber-listed countries are allowed under the new rules – but you will need to self-isolate for ten days.
You will also have to take PCR test on day two and day eight of your self-isolation.
There is also an option to test and release on day five.
Will I need to quarantine in a hotel?
Not for a green or amber-listed country, but if you are travelling home from a red-listed destination you must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.
Most holiday destinations are currently welcoming back tourists with no need for quarantine – though you will need to show a PCR test or evidence of vaccination.
It is worth checking all the latest guidance on specific countries’ requirements on the Foreign Office website.
When will the list change?
The government has pledged to review the green list every three weeks.
As countries ramp up their vaccination programmes and infections fall, it is expected that more tourist hotspots could soon make the green list.
But countries that see a sudden surge in infections, or the emergence of a variant of concern, could be quickly moved to amber or red status.
The next review is set to take place in three weeks after travel starts again on May 17 – so June 7.
What happens if I get Covid and can’t travel?
If you contract Covid, show symptoms of the virus or you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you will need to contact your travel company or airline directly.
Most travel firms will let you change your holiday for free – though it is worth checking your travel insurance policy before your trip.
Some firms, such as TUI, offer Covid protection for customers.
Where can I find cheaper PCR tests?
PCR tests usually cost around £120 – adding a significant fee to your trip.
But travel firms have secured cheaper tests for their customers in a huge boost to Brits' holiday hopes.
TUI is offering testing kits for £20 per person, while Ryanair has £60 tests for customers when you book with them.
Have holiday prices gone up?
Thomas Cook said that bookings for holidays in Portugal had soared by 250 per cent compared with a week earlier.
Online searches for the tourist hotspot, which has one of Europe’s lowest infection rates, have risen by 115 per cent.
The surge in interest has seen prices slashed on luxury getaways, with an analysis by TravelSupermarket.com finding that many five-star hotels were available in late May and June for half the normal price.
The Vale d’El Rei Hotel, located in the Porches area of Algarve, was available for £320 per person for a week with flights from Stansted included – a price drop of nearly 50 per cent, the price comparison website said.
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