European holiday spots safe as Thailand is red listed

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But Thailand and Montenegro are moving to the red list amid worries about increasing Covid rates. Ministers are also concerned about new variants developing in these countries. Turkey stays put on the red list despite being tipped to move to easier amber.

However, travellers can venture to the Azores freely from 4am on Monday when it joins the green list, along with Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland. 

Those visiting green-list countries do not have to isolate on their return even if they’re not double jabbed.

Canada also got the green light ‑ but currently has a ban on British tourists.

Spain, France and Greece remain amber, meaning holidaymakers not fully vaccinated must isolate at home for 10 days on their return and take a total of three Covid tests.

The travel lists are updated every three weeks, although interim changes can happen.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday’s announcement continued a “cautious easing [of] international travel.” But the limited review angered the struggling travel industry.

Paul Charles, chief of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “A continuing complete lack of transparency underlines these changes which should be wider. Turkey deserved to be moved to amber due to the measures it has taken. It is far safer than Cornwall currently.”

Tim Hawkins, of Manchester Airport, said: “What I would love to see is the requirement for tests on vaccinated passengers lifted. That would stimulate a huge amount of recovery. 

“Travel would be more affordable and it would support employment.”

Sean Doyle, chairman and chief executive of British Airways, said: “Despite our world-leading vaccination programme the UK’s economic recovery remains far behind our more pragmatic European neighbours, which are already reaping the rewards of a rapid recovery.”

Industry body Airlines UK said the “small number of green destinations” is making travel from the UK “expensive, burdensome and uncertain compared to our neighbours”.

Red-list tourists must pay £2,285 to isolate at a hotel.

Comment by Nigel Thompson

Another Shapps o’clock travel traffic light update, another dash home for holidaying Britons.

This time it’s travellers in Thailand and Montenegro on the Shapps Stampede to get home before the hideously expensive airport hotel quarantines kick in.

It had been expected that Turkey would go from red to amber, but the hopes of holidaymakers and the UK travel industry were dashed.

On the other hand, the rumours that Jamaica would go red were unfounded, thankfully.

It’s good to see Canada on green, hopefully that is a positive sign that we’re getting closer to the United States opening up for Britons at long last.

Of course, public safety must come first with any travel updates and we cannot risk importing any variants that elude our vaccines.

So the long-suffering holidaying public and the travel industry have to shrug their shoulders once again and deal with yet another traffic light disappointment.

Nigel Thompson is travel editor for Reach plc

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