Published on : Saturday, September 18, 2021
British tourists are highly excited to book half-term holidays after the amber country list and expensive PCR tests were scrapped. On Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that restrictions on travel are to be significantly eased.
From October 4, there will be a single, reduced “red list” of destinations from where passengers arriving in England will be required to quarantine in a Government-supervised hotel.
At the same time, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations, much to the joy of British tourists.
Towards the end of October, travellers will be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test. Andrew Flintham, Managing Director, TUI UK said in a statement that he had already seen an uptick in bookings for Turkey in October and expects customer confidence to have been boosted further by the new rules.
Steve Heapy, CEO, Jet2 also said in a statement that demand has stepped up over the last few days. He mentioned that there has been an immediate and massive surge in bookings for flights and package holidays on the back of this welcome news for british tourists and holidaymakers in England.
Johan Lundgren, Chief Executive, EasyJet said the change was a step forward. Meanwhile, he also asked for an end to the testing of vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries after arriving back in the UK. He further shared that removing the pre-departure test coupled with the disbanding of the traffic light system will inject some much needed confidence into travel once again.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye added the simplification of the travel rules is very welcome for businesses and families across the country but the decision to require fully vaccinated passengers to take more costly private lateral flow tests is an unnecessary barrier to travel, which keeps the UK out of step with the rest of the EU.
Unvaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will have to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on days two and eight after returning, the Government said in the update. However, travellers who have a valid vaccination certificate from 17 additional countries and territories – including Japan and Singapore – will be treated as if they had been jabbed in the UK.
In the meantime, eight countries – including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives – are being removed from the red list with effect form 4am on Wednesday. Travellers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also no longer be required to hotel quarantine from that date.
Grant Shapps said the measures were intended to strike the “right balance”, simplifying the system while managing the public health risk as No.1 priority.
He shared that today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system, one with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conducting business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.
He also mentioned that public health has always been at the heart of international travel policy and with more than eight in 10 adults fully vaccinated in the UK, the industry is now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.