(CNN) – Travelers from the UK have been given the green light to travel to Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel from May 17, when months of restrictions making it illegal to travel abroad for holidays will end.
The long-awaited announcement is expected to result in an increase in holiday bookings for countries that have earned a coveted spot, although there was a disappointment that the list did not include some prime travel destinations.
A traffic light system is now in place, with countries divided into three different categories based on their Covid-19 infection and vaccination rates, as well as the prevalence of any variants of concern.
The full green list is: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Islands South Sandwich; Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha, and Israel.
France, Greece, Spain and Italy have been placed on the ‘orange’ list, meaning travelers will need to be quarantined for 10 days upon their return to the UK.
Meanwhile, Turkey, Maldives and Nepal are added to the UK’s “red” list of countries from which most travel is banned. This list already includes South Africa, India, Namibia and the United Arab Emirates.
“I regret that favorite summer destinations like France, Spain and Greece have not yet been included,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told a press conference on Friday.
Traffic light system
Spain, a holiday favorite, has been placed on the “orange” list, which means travelers will have to quarantine themselves on their return from the country.
JOSEP LAGO / AFP via Getty Images
“But every three weeks from the reopening, we will be reviewing the countries, to see how and where we can expand the green list. So this is just a first step.”
Travelers planning to visit a ‘green’ destination will be required to take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test no later than the second day of their return to the UK. However, they will not be forced to quarantine themselves.
Those traveling from a country designated “amber” will be required to quarantine themselves for 10 days, take a pre-departure test and also take a PCR test on the second and eighth days of their isolation.
“Amber” travelers will qualify for the release testing program, which allows vacationers to take a PCR test after five days of quarantine. If they test negative, then they are allowed to go out into the community.
Those planning to vacation in a ‘red’ list destination face the strictest restrictions and will need to check in at one of the UK’s quarantine hotels, priced at Â£ 1,750 (approx. $ 445) per adult, also upon their return. as follow the same test rules for those arriving from “orange” destinations.
According to Shapps, travelers can use their NHS app to demonstrate their vaccination and Covid test status, while a paper alternative will be available for those without a smartphone.
The news will be a relief for British holidaymakers, who have been banned from traveling outside England “without a reasonable excuse” since tougher lockdown restrictions were put in place in January.
In recent weeks, those caught breaking the rules faced fines ranging from Â£ 5,000 ($ 7,000) to Â£ 10,000 ($ 14,000).
After the announcement, the World Travel & Tourism Council expressed disappointment that the United States was not included on the “green” list, and accused the British government of being “too careful”.
“We welcome this initial first step for the UK government to start opening the door to international travel with the announcement of today’s ‘traffic light’ system,” an official statement from the President read. and CEO Gloria Guevera.
“However, airlines and the broader travel and tourism industry will be extremely disappointed that the United States, which has a similar vaccination success rate, was not included on the ‘green list’ because it would have enabled the resumption of transatlantic travel, which would have provided a vital lifeline to the industry in two of the world’s largest travel and tourism markets.
Holidaymakers and business travelers alike will be disappointed with today’s news, with so few countries on the ‘green list’ as Europe steals a march on the UK by continuing to s’ open and welcome visitors again. “