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Is it too early to book a holiday overseas?

Start to think about booking overseas holidays, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The Cabinet minister said it is the first time in “many months” he was not advising against booking foreign trips.

His comments came just five days after Downing Street published a document which urged people “not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer”.

On Friday Mr Shapps announced a “framework” for the resumption of overseas leisure travel, which included requiring all arrivals to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests.

Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost about £120, he said.

This led to a furious backlash from the travel industry, which wants travellers returning from low-risk countries to be allowed to take lateral flow tests, which are cheaper and quicker.

Asked if people could start to book foreign holidays now, Mr Shapps told Sky News: “I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to say that for many months.”

He said he was looking to “drive down the costs” of tests required for international travel to resume.

“Costs are definitely a concern, it’s one of the factors this year, and we have to accept we’re still going through a global pandemic,” he said.

“And so we do have to be cautious and I’m afraid that does involve having to have some tests and the like.

“But, I am undertaking today to drive down the costs of those tests and looking at some innovative things we could do.”

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the requirement for PCR tests was “a blow to all travellers” and risked “making flying only for the wealthy”.

He added: “As the rest of British society and the economy opens up, it makes no sense to treat travel, particularly to low-risk countries, differently.”

Mark Tanzer, boss of travel trade organisation Abta, said permitting the use of lateral flow tests would “make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against reimportation of the virus”.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said the announcement “does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) refused to confirm whether foreign holidays will be permitted from May 17, which is the earliest date under the Prime Minister’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions in England.

It also insisted it was “too early to predict which countries will be on which list” under a new risk-based traffic light system, with an “initial assessment” to be produced “by early May”.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of airline and tour operator Jet2.com, reacted to the update by extending the suspension of its flights and holidays until June 23 because of the “continued uncertainty that the framework provides”.

He went on: “We still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing.”

People arriving from a “green” country will not be required to self-isolate, but those entering the UK from an “amber” destination must quarantine for 10 days.

Existing rules for arrivals from “red” locations will continue, including the requirement to pay to enter a quarantine hotel.

These restrictions will be “formally reviewed” on June 28 to take account of “the domestic and international health picture and to see whether current measures could be rolled back”, the DfT added.

Further reviews will take place no later than July 31 and October 1.

A “Green Watchlist” will be introduced to identify countries most at risk of moving from “green” to “amber”.

Would you be prepared to book an overseas holiday now or do you think it’s still too risky? Have you already booked a holiday and are hoping for a ‘green’ destination? Or perhaps you find the traffic light system too confusing to even consider travelling abroad? What are your views?

Is it too early to book a holiday overseas?

448 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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SueC62
5 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
For months I'd 'sensibly' been looking at September to return to Turkey with maybe June being a possibility but with cases being as they are there currently, I'm no longer hopeful for September. Until the whole world is vaccinated, individual countries will continue to have surges if travel is allowed.
viking
3rd May 2021
0
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Still don't know which countries are red green or amber yet.

Covid can act quicker than governments apparently.

So by the time a country is assigned green, and encouraging travellers from affected areas to come to them, together with Brits and spend money, Mr C will have struck again.
Lets just hope that this scenario does not happen. But Covid is a cunning enemy.
lolly22
2nd May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
I guess if a country is not on the red list and a person is prepared to take necessary health precautions,ie wear a mask ,gel their hands ,quarantine if required them it's up to the individual to decide on the risks to themselves and others .
Mari50
21st Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
I think it is far too early to book holidays abroad until all these variants of the endemic are finished. Personally, you would not get me on a plane anyway. I do not understand why people want to go abroad. I would much prefer to go to places in Britain instead of thrown up hotels overseas.
Jannybear
16th Apr 2021
1
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I've got holidays that have been transferred from last year and earlier this year to the autumn which I'm hoping will happen. I wouldn't necessarily decide to book a new foreign holiday at the moment.
Msagain
16th Apr 2021
1
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There is so much to see in our own country I see no need to travel abroad, then worry whether I have been close to a stranger with covid. So a staycation for us.
FranM38
16th Apr 2021
1
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As long as the country I am going to has fairly low case rate and high vaccination rate then yes I would.
Trillium
15th Apr 2021
1
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At this moment I’m not quite prepared to travel overseas but I have travelled from where I live in Toronto to Vancouver during the pandemic to see our children and grandchildren. It was good for my mental health.
ecarg
12th Apr 2021
4
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Overseas holiday makers run the risk of bringing a variant of the virus back to Britain despite the checks in place. Others then suffer the consequences.
viking
15th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Hearing from travellers from abroad it seems that the isolation checks etc. etc.that are in place are very lax and casual.
So how can this state of affairs help to combat incoming virus brought in from foreign countries ??
Wilf
15th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I also read in the Times today that people coming into airports from international destinations are having to wait between 2-6 hours at border control??? And the holiday season has not even started!
olivep
11th Apr 2021
1
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Until other countries are safe to travel into and there are no quarantine rules here or overseas, we shall be staying in the UK this year visiting family in Cornwall and Norfolk who we havent seen for over a year and, thus, keeping our money in our own country to help kick start the economy.
Now ...... next year will hopefully be a lot different and, all being well, overseas travel will be on our agenda.
Nannypink
11th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
We are not interested in any foreign travel for this year, we shall be enjoying a few short breaks in this lovely country, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Cornwall booked so far.
Until other countries have their virus controls in a better situation we are not prepared to travel to have to be confined to a hotel nor have to quarantine on return to this country
MrsPat
10th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
We already have a family one booked for Portugal in October so its a wait-and-see at the moment.
Wilf
10th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Yes so long as its to a safe country with lots of vaccinations
Marley444
10th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
I have had my holiday that was postponed last year, re-booked again for this June and I have no idea whether we will be going. Still waiting to find out from the Government and airline if we are allowed to go, but if the flight is operating and it is a low risk destination, we will have had both our vaccinations, so we may well consider going

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