Spanish and Greek islands could be added to travel green list in time for summer holidays
THERE is growing speculation that popular holiday islands could be added to the government’s travel green list today, in a revival of hopes for a summer getaway for Brits this year.
Spanish and Greek islands plus Malta are among the destinations which experts believe may be given green status.
That would mean people visiting those locations from the UK will no longer be required to quarantine on their return.
The speculation comes ahead of the government’s announcement today, in which it will update which destinations are safe to travel.
It’s expected new holiday destinations will be added to the green travel list, opening up the chance for foreign getaways this summer.
Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways’ parent company IAG, predicted that a number of summer hotspots will be added to the green tier.
He wrote in a blog post: ‘It still seems very likely that whilst Spain and Greece will not make it onto the green list, many of their islands will, due to lower case rates and higher vaccinations than on the mainland.'
Mr Boyle added: ‘Malta, Finland and Slovakia are fairly safe bets, based on high testing rates and low reported cases.’
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said a number of popular holiday destinations ‘really deserve’ to be moved to the low-risk tier.
He expects additions to the green list to include the Greek islands of Zante, Rhodes and Kos, the Caribbean islands of Grenada and Antigua, plus Malta and Finland.
But he said he would be ‘surprised’ if Spain’s Balearic Islands – including Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca – were added on Thursday.
‘They’re hugely popular and I’m not sure the government is ready to encourage so much travel at the moment,’ he told the PA news agency.
Portugal is the only viable major tourist destination currently on the green list, but there have been reports it could be downgraded to amber.
The government has urged people to avoid non-essential travel to amber and red countries, with a Home Office minister urging people to ‘exercise their common sense’ about travelling abroad.
Asked on Times Radio whether her department would rather people stayed in the UK, Victoria Atkins said: ‘We’re very, very, very supportive of the traffic light system. There are some countries in the world at the moment that because of the variants and the rates of infection are simply too dangerous for us to visit in terms of Covid, and of course they are on the red list.
‘We then have the amber list which we very much ask people not to travel to unless there are very particular, very dire consequences they’re having to deal with, such as a dying relative, and then the green list.
‘And look, the overall goal, we all want to get back to normality, pre-pandemic normality. But I think all understand we’ve got to take careful steps to do that. And so the travel plan and travel lists are very much part of our road map out of lockdown restrictions, but we do have to look at the data.
‘We do have to look at what is happening elsewhere in the world, in order to help advise the public as to what is allowed and what is not allowed. But as with anything, we’re asking the public to exercise their common sense and that is the way that we’re going to be able to return to normality.’