Brits will find out in weeks where they can go on holiday as green list to be published at the start of May

BRITS will know which summer destinations will be deemed safe in weeks as hopes for a foreign holidays ramp up.  

Downing Street will sign off a list of ‘green’ covid secure holiday hotspots in “early May” according to Aviation Minister Robert Courts.

Praia do Camilo, Beach, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal


Praia do Camilo, Beach, Lagos, Algarve, PortugalCredit: Alamy
EasyJet bosses expect most European destinations to be on the 'green' list


EasyJet bosses expect most European destinations to be on the ‘green’ listCredit: Alamy

But he warned eager Brits to hold off booking until the full list is published to a “avoid a risk of disappointment.”

It comes as easyJet Chief Johan Lundgren said he expects ministers to add top European vacation spots to the green list.  

Mr Courts told the Transport Select Committee that more details on the government’s traffic light system will be in place in early May.

Around the same time No10 will conduct a formal review to allow foreign holidays from May 17.

Arrivals from ‘green’ countries will not have to quarantine on return – but will have to take a gold standard PCR test within two days of returning to the UK.

Passengers from ‘amber’ countries will need to quarantine for ten days and take two tests, while those coming from ‘red’ nations will have to isolate in designating hotels.

He said: “I anticipate that at the early part of May we’ll be able to give some more details to into which category each country will fall.”

But he warned: “I would advise people to wait until they understand which category each country falls into, because there is of course that risk of disappointment.”

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More certainty over holidays will come in weeks


More certainty over holidays will come in weeksCredit: Alamy
Popular destinatsion like Benidorm could be deemed safe


Popular destinatsion like Benidorm could be deemed safeCredit: Alamy

Ministers are also setting up a ‘green watchlist’ so that holidaymakers know that certain destinations are at a risk of falling of the safe list.

And he could not rule out last minute changes – which could throw holiday plans into chaos.

Mr Courts said: “There’s always an element of risk involved in international travel in any event.

“What we can do is provide as much information and allow people to make an informed choice – that’s what we’re seeking to do with the green watchlist.”

Airlines are hopeful the likes of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece will be added to the ‘green’ list – but the minister said it was too early to know for sure.

He said data from the continent was still being analysed, adding: “It wouldn’t be right for me to speculate as to which countries in which areas of the world are likely to be on which list.”

EasyJet’s chief ramped up pressure on ministers saying “would expect almost all major European countries” to be put in the low-risk category when overseas holidays from the UK are allowed to resume.

Aviation minister Robert Courts


Aviation minister Robert CourtsCredit: HoP/DAVID WOOLFALL

Mr Lundgren added: “I wouldn’t see a reason why you wouldn’t have the majority of the countries of Europe in there.”

And BA’s chief Sean Doyle said a UK/USA travel corridor could “lead the way” in reopening international travel.

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The travel industry also take issue with the use of expensive PCR tests for travellers returning to the UK.

Testing company Randox said it was slashing the cost of the test to around £60 – but mainly companies still charge over £120 for the gold-standard procedure.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive at travel trade organisation Abta, told the Commons Transport Select Committee the Government’s plan for reopening foreign travel “is overcautious and doesn’t recognise the huge change that vaccination has created”.

He said: “Certainly for the green category, the PCR test is a sledgehammer to crack a nut really.

“We’d like to have no testing, but in the short term (allow) a cheaper, faster test, and if that were positive then you can proceed to a PCR test if necessary.

“Otherwise you are going to hobble the industry and you are going to stop people from travelling, even though they’ve been vaccinated.

“They’ll say ‘well I’ve been through the vaccination process, you wanted me to get vaccinated, and actually nothing’s changed from last year’.

“So you’ve got a job explaining that to customers.”

The traffic light system explained


The traffic light system explained

Heathrow bosses warn that passengers could face queues of up “six hours” because of covid paper work checks.

Chris Garton, the chief solutions officer at Heathrow Airport, said that queues are already building up because of strict new paperwork checks.

Mr Garton said: “Our biggest issue in terms of the summer particularly is the performance at the border, and we need to see a dramatic improvement in border performance if we are to increase passenger numbers travelling through Heathrow.”



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