Travel rules update: Eight countries removed from red list after Shapps update

Grant Shapps discusses introduction of 'simpler' travel system

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Families with October half term holidays booked in Turkey have been given good news as the destination is off the red list. The changes will take effect from September 22 at 4am.

The red list has been cut with popular British tourist destinations such as Turkey now free from quarantine restrictions.

Turkey has long complained of its inclusion on the red list as the country moves ahead with its vaccination programme.

The Maldives and Pakistan are also off the red list with travellers from those countries no longer required to quarantine.

Passengers travelling from these red list countries have previously had to pay to quarantine in a Government hotel.

Egypt, Kenya, Oman, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also off the red list, making travel simpler for those destinations.

Traffic light rules were heavily criticised for being overly complicated and confusing for British tourists.

Double vaccinated passengers will no longer have to take a pre-departure test from October 4.

Later on in October, double-jabbed passengers will no longer have to take a PCR post arrival test and can instead take a lateral flow. The date for that has not yet been announced. 

Alan French, CEO of Thomas Cook, said: “The news today is a shot in the arm for both the travel industry and families up and down the country who are crying out for some much-needed late summer sun.

“Based on our bookings already today, I would expect this weekend to be the biggest of the year so far as people take advantage of the great deals on offer, the new easier rules on testing and the simplified system for international travel.” 

Estelle Giraudeau, Managing Director, UK & Northern Europe at Club Med told “Google search data for ‘when will Turkey be removed from the red list’ has increased by 200 percent in the past seven days.

“Turkey is an incredibly popular destination offering the perfect option for some late summer sun.”

The amber and green list system has also been scrapped, with countries now split into two categories ‘Red’ and ‘Rest of World’. All countries not on the Government red list will be considered ‘Rest of World’. 

Grant Shapps said: “The day two PCR test will be scrapped in favour of a lateral flow.”

He said the high number of vaccinated passengers has allowed the Government to scrap the traffic light system.

He said: “We wanted to bring a new simple, easier to navigate and cheaper system.”

Tourists should always check local restrictions before booking a holiday as different countries will have their own rules.

Travel experts have welcomed the easing of restrictions and the simplification of the current system. 

Gary Lewis, CEO of the Travel Network Group, told “The simplification of the traffic light system and scrapping of costly PCR testing for fully vaccinated travellers is welcome news for the travel sector and will hopefully have a positive impact on future bookings.However, this news comes too late for many businesses.” 

Bayram Annakov, founder and CEO of App In The Air, told “The simplification of the system is very welcome, because the uncertainty around which destinations were remaining accessible for travel has been holding back the British public from booking since its inception.” 

The changes to the red list will come into effect from September 22 at 4am. 

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