GMB: Sean Fletcher grills Grant Shapps on ‘chaotic’ travel strategy
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The traffic light system has put Britons wanting to go on international holidays through a rollercoaster over the last few weeks. With Spain, the most popular overseas destination on the verge of the red list and France, the second most popular destination, on a confusing amber plus list, holidaymakers were left wondering if summer had been cancelled by the government.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement last night was a welcome respite from all the confusion.
In a tweet peppered with emojis, the Transport Secretary wrote: “While it’s right we continue our cautious approach, it’s great news to open more destinations for people wanting to connect with families, friends and businesses across the globe, all thanks to our successful domestic vaccination programme.”
The biggest news did not come from the green list announcement, but from the much feared – and little understood – amber plus list.
France, the only country in the category, was moved to the regular amber list, officially joining Spain, who remains on the amber list despite fears it could be moved to red.
With France and Spain safe for now, the green list got an update.
Seven new countries were added to the green list, in a move the travel industry brands “bitterly disappointing.”
Timothy Davis, Co-Founder and CEO of Butter, the leader in pay monthly travel said: “The Government claims it wants to keep rules on foreign travel as simple as possible, but the fact of the matter is it would be easier to negotiate a 15 strong family game of Cluedo at Christmas compared to booking a hassle-free holiday at present.”
While a 15 strong family game of Cluedo rightfully sounds like a headache Britons will want to avoid, as long as there is a traffic light system, the addition of countries to the green list will be considered good news for many.
However, the traffic light system is still a point of contention for the travel industry, with hoo Co-founder, Adrian Murdock, saying: “The unfortunate reality of the shambolic traffic light system is that any good news that comes via the latest review could well be the latest government U-turn come the next.
“As a result, holidaymakers remain deterred from travelling and we’re simply not seeing any notable degree of stability return to the sector.
“Many are now resigned to the fact that we face another year of holidays at home and while Britain isn’t a bad backup plan, it remains bitterly disappointing for those who had hoped of getting away.”
For Britons ready to brave the traffic light system and overseas entry requirements, there are now seven new countries to consider.
From August 8, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will officially be on the green list.
The moves means that Britons coming back from these seven new countries will not need to quarantine.
However, all of these countries do not allow Britons in without quarantining.
Norway, for example, requires 10 days of quarantine for Britons arriving in the country, effectively removing the country as a holiday option this summer.
One of the problems of the traffic light system is that it does not take into account where Britons can actually travel to.
Countries such as Australia and New Zealand may sound fantastic, but not only are they on the other side of the world, their borders are firmly closed, and are expected to remain so for the rest of the year.
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