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Published on Monday, July 6, 2020

Government urged to publish single list of countries Brits can travel to

The industry is calling for one definitive list of where British people can travel to, amid criticism that the Government's travel guidance is causing 'utter confusion'.

The Department for Transport and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have published seperate lists of countries and territories deemed safe to travel to, but the lists do no tally up.

Pressure group Quash Quarantine said the new rules created 'utter confusion' and said less than half of the approved destinations were open to British tourists without any restrictions.

The DfT published a travel corridor list on Friday of 59 countries and overseas territories, that English travellers can visit without having to quarantine on their return. But only 25 of the 59 destinations have no restrictions on British travellers.

The FCO has a separate list of 67 countries and territories, which will be exempt from its advisory against all non-essential travel from Saturday.

Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency travel consultancy and spokesman for the Quash Quarantine campaign, said: "Consumers are confused by the two lists produced by Government, as it's just not clear which countries are actually accessible without having to quarantine on arrival.

"Our research shows that holidaymakers and business travellers from England can only enter 25 countries, out of 74 on the DfT list, without being quarantined. It's vital that the Government provides clarity to consumers who are booking, and provides just one list that is accurate and up-to-date in terms of where we can actually access."

Research by PC Agency and Audiencenet reveals the following destinations are currently open to British travellers: Andorra, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greenland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta (from July 15), Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Reunion, San Marino, Serbia, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican City. See map below.

Sunvil chairman Noel Josephides said: "We have two different sets of advice. It's as though government departments don't actually speak to each other. All we want is one list."

He told the Sunday Times: "Each delay of a day probably costs us a week in bookings.

"The clients that booked before the pandemic have steadily cancelled or deferred, because of the uncertainty and the on-off messages that we've been getting."

AITO Agents chair Gemma Antrobus said: "Let's make the two lists exactly the same. It's just going to cause havoc this week with people wanting to know can they travel, can they not and is their holiday going ahead."

TravelSupermarket commentator Emma Coulthurst said:  "The Government's latest information released late on Friday on where UK citizens can holiday this summer has the potential to confuse people and see them unwittingly book holidays which, due to restrictions imposed by the destination country, they might not be able to take.

"There are some countries on the UK Government FCO and DfT lists which are refusing UK citizens entry or imposing strict entry requirements, which either completely prevent holidays or make them extremely difficult or more costly.  It is vitally important that holidaymakers check the individual country's entry requirements before booking and also book cancel-for-free or flexible rebooking options in case they unintentionally book a holiday which entry restrictions then prevent them from taking.

"Neither of the Government's lists should be referred to as air bridges. Air bridges means a reciprocal quarantine-free arrangement. This just isn't the case for some of the countries on the lists.  The UK Government should be making it clearer what the actual situation is for travel from the UK to countries on their lists and providing a lot more clarity on where holidaymakers can actually go to from the UK without restriction."

Examples given by TravelSupermarket include:

Cyprus, which the FCO is allowing Brits to go on holiday to and not to have to quarantine on return from. However, currently, Cyprus is not allowing UK citizens to enter the country until further notice.

Austria is advising that people only enter the country for essential reasons, so holidaymakers would not be admitted.

Visitors to Denmark must stay for a minimum of six nights, which would not suit people looking for a two or three-night city break to Copenhagen.

A DfT source told the Sunday Times the department and the FCO considered different factors, with the Foreign Office's travel advice taking into account healthcare in the country visited, while the DfT measures were concerned with managing the risk to public health of travellers bringing infection back to the UK.

Greece image: Didiwo from Pixabay
Map image: PC Agency and Audiencenet

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