A government minister has confirmed that you will be able to book a summer holiday abroad this year.
Grant Shapps announced the news today, saying that the official advice not to plan foreign trips has now been ditched.
The transport secretary also said the government would attempt to drive down the cost of testing for anyone wanting a summer holiday or to see friends and family abroad.
However, Mr Shapps urged people to wait a little bit longer to start booking anything, as the government won’t be publishing the ‘green list’ of countries for ‘two or three weeks’.
The Government will operate a ‘traffic light’ system for international travel when it resumes, which is currently penciled in for May 17th.
Countries will be classed as either green, amber, or red under the scheme, depending on each destination’s rate of vaccination and testing capacity.
He added, when asked whether people should start booking trips: “My advice today would be moving on from where we were before.
“I’m not telling people they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time I’ve been able to say that for many months.”
According to reports, the US, Malta, Gibraltar and large parts of the Caribbean have been tipped for the green list, while Greece could also make the cut.
Spain and Italy could also join from June if their vaccine programmes have progressed well.
Mr Shapps advised people to wait and see which countries will be on the green list, saying: “And of course actually I think people would want to be clear about which countries are going to be in the different traffic light system and people predominantly of course will be looking to book in a green country.
“There’s only two or three weeks to wait before we publish that list itself but yes, tentative progress.
“For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday.
“But we’re doing it very very cautiously because we don’t want to see any return of coronavirus in this country.”
Passport warning issued as travellers told not to book holidays
Thanks to the pandemic, people are experiencing massive delays on their passport renewals
Hopeful holidaymakers have been urged to check their passports as ‘one million holidays’ hang in the balance.
During the Covid pandemic, millions of British passports expired, meaning that many families are now being made to wait much longer than the recommended 5-6 weeks to get their renewed passports back.
Because of this, the government has issued a warning to those planning on getting away this year, stressing that people should not book any holidays until they have their passports back.
The website states: “It is important to stress, you should not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same passport number as your old one.”
The Home Office has also warned Brits to leave more than the recommended ten weeks to get their passports back due to the increased demand.
The website says: “Customers can also help to ensure there are no delays with their application, such as using a high quality photo with a digital code, applying online and applying for a new passport more than ten weeks before they are due to travel.”
Recent reviews on Passport Waiting Time, a site that tracks consumers’ waiting time during applications, has demonstrated the inconsistent and lengthy wait times for a new passport.
One user’s review from last month says she had to wait for more than twelve weeks for two of her family’s passports to be renewed.
She wrote: “Applied for my two children’s renewal 17 Jan and currently still in the processing stage.
“I made four applications in Jan and have received two out of four of them. The two I received came within a few weeks, so I don’t understand why it is taking so long.”
And the issue has only been exacerbated further by a rule enforced by a number of different countries requiring travellers to have at least six months left on their passport.
Under this guidance, passports must be valid for another six months before they depart for international travel to countries such as the UAE, Saint Lucia, Singapore and Thailand.
For more passport rules and information, visit the Gov.uk website.
Airline issues warning to Brits travelling to Spain over new alcohol restrictions
Alcoholic drinks will be restricted for tourists in a number of hotels across the Balearic Islands
Those planning a boozy all-inclusive trip to Spain this summer might want to rethink their plans thanks to the country’s new alcohol regulations.
A warning has been issued to holiday-makers who have booked all-inclusive trips to certain parts of Spain enforcing a new ‘alcohol cap‘ in a crackdown on drunken behaviour.
Thomas Cook sent out an email to its customers this week to remind them that hotels in Magaluf, Majorca and some parts of Ibiza are enforcing the new rule, which will see Brits be limited to a certain number of alcoholic drinks throughout the day.
The email read: “Please be advised that a decree has been issued by the Balearic Government on a new restriction for All Inclusive meal option.
“There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner ( 3 each).”
The Balearic government has banned pub crawls, the sale of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am, and advertisements for party boats in some areas.
Balearic Islands Tourism minister Iago Negueruela has previously said on the matter: “We want British tourists – we don’t want this type of tourism.
“British tourism is essential for our islands. We share with the British government the view that some images of British tourists are embarrassing.
“We want to put a stop to bad behaviour. We will increase the police presence in these areas and the number of inspectors – we will have zero tolerance for tourism excesses.”
Plans to stamp down on public drunkenness and antisocial behaviour in the Balearic Islands have been in the works for quite some time now, with Mallorca’s former politician Jose Ramon Bauza slamming Magaluf’s party strip Punta Ballena as ‘500 metres of shame’.
Most of the new restrictions did come into place in 2020, but due to the Covid pandemic, most holiday-goers are only now discovering them.
Greece to scrap all Covid travel restrictions this week ahead of summer holidays
Good news for those wanting a summer holiday this year…
Greece will be scrapping all remaining Covid travel restrictions this week in a last-minute attempt to boost tourism.
From May 1st, all arrivals in Greece will no longer be required to provide evidence of vaccination, recovery from Covid, or a test to enter the country, regardless of their vaccination status.
Brits will no longer need to present a Covid vaccination certificate to enter bars, restaurants and other attractions either.
Face mask rules are also expected to be relaxed by June.
Last month, Greece also scrapped the requirement for Passenger Locator Forms, making it easier for Brits to travel to the country.
However, the lifting of these measures will be re-evaluated in September – after the peak tourist season – and could be reintroduced if cases spike.
Minister of Health Thanos Plevris said in a statement: “According to the epidemiological data and the suggestions of the experts, we are announcing the roadmap for the de-escalation of the measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All measures will be reviewed on September 1st, depending on the picture of the pandemic.”
Greece is one of the first countries to drop all Covid travel requirements for tourists this summer, with other popular destinations still requiring proof of vaccination status or Covid recovery.
In Spain, holidaymakers will need to show proof of either being fully vaccinated or having recently recovered from Covid.
To be considered as fully vaccinated, travellers will need to have completed a full vaccination course at least fourteen days before travel – if they completed this nine months before travelling to Spain, they will need a booster jab to qualify as fully vaccinated.
Though Spain did recently ease its restrictions on unvaccinated teenagers aged between twelve and seventeen, who now only require a negative Covid test rather than a vaccination certificate.
They have also dropped a number of other restrictions such as mask wearing outdoors.