Ahead of an update to the UK’s red list, expected later today or tomorrow, the Foreign Office (FCDO) has removed its warning against non-essential travel to more than 30 countries.
Bangladesh, Gambia, Ghana and Malaysia are the among the nations removed from the FCDO’s “no-go” list.
The non-essential travel warning has previously been in place even for countries with low infection rates and no variants of concern, and is at odds with the Department for Transport’s (DfT) assessment of risk from travellers returning from such countries.
The FCDO is expected no longer to advise against travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds, except in “exceptional circumstances” such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.
It follows the government’s streamlining of the traffic light system into two classifications: the red list and Rest of World (ROW) list.
Arrivals from red list countries are still required to pay for 10 days of hotel quarantine.
The next review of the red list is anticipated to bee announced today or Friday 8 October.
Industry figures have been making their predictions for countries that could come off the red list – with data analysts favouring Argentina, Chile, South Africa and possibly Mexico as movers.
Follow the latest travel news below:
“Is this a joke in extremely poor taste” – travel industry ridicules Foreign Office
A leading travel trade association has poured scorn on the latest changes in Foreign Office advice, which were made on Wednesday night in a bid to align the “no-go” list with the Department for Transport’s “red list”.
Thirty-two countries had warnings against non-essential travel removed. They had all been on the no-go list “based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks”. The vast majority have much lower official new coronavirus infection rates than the UK.
The Foreign Office said it was “striking the right balance between keeping people safe, which remains our priority, and giving them the freedom to exercise personal responsibility, while supporting the travel sector as it continues to recover”.
But Chris Rowles, chairman of Aito, the specialist travel association, said: “Is this a joke in extremely poor taste?
“Destinations such as Algeria, Belarus, Djibouti, Liberia and Congo are not destinations on the majority of holidaymakers’ lists, quite frankly.”
He has offered assistance to the foreign secretary and transport secretary, saying: “If we can help Liz Truss and Grant Shapps with some suggestions – perhaps well-established destinations such as those in Latin America, Africa and Asia, which are already open to many other nationalities, and which have good infrastructure – they have but to let us know.”
Simon Calder7 October 2021 10:06
Six airlines join Emirates in adopting IATA Travel Pass
Six more airlines have announced that they will implement the IATA Travel Pass, an electronic Covid app where passengers can input their vaccination documents and check the rules and restrictions of their destination.
Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian will join Emirates in implementing the pass in a phased rollout across their networks.
Vaccine certificates from 52 countries (representing the source of 56% of global air travel) can currently be managed using the app – this will increase to 74 countries, representing 85% of global traffic, by the end of November.
Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 09:34
No countries will be added to red list, says expert
Industry figures and data analysts have been making their predictions for how many countries may be removed from the UK’s red list for travel, at an announcement expected later today.
“I’m not going to say 9 countries which will be on the red list come tomorrow as I still think that’s optimistic and it could be up to 18,” tweeted analyst Tim White, who follows Covid case figures in countries around the world each week.
“I cannot see any country needing to be added to the list,” he added.
The list currently stands at 54 countries. Others in the industry and media have predicted a drop to 12 countries, or as few as nine.
It’s worth noting that a large reduction to the red list was expected at the last travel update on 17 September, when only eight countries were removed from a then 62-strong list.
The Department for Transport has not confirmed a time for the announcement, but it is expected later today.
Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 09:13
Refunds action against British Airways and Ryanair dropped
Passengers who were unable to travel on their British Airways or Ryanair flights because of lockdown rules will not be able to claim refunds, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said.
Thousands of travellers had tickets on BA and the Irish airline for trips that they could not make because of lockdown rules in 2020 and 2021. British Airways offered vouchers for future flights while Ryanair allowed passengers to postpone their journeys.
Travellers are entitled to refunds when an airline cancels a flight. But the airlines have always maintained that as the flights departed they had no obligation to offer cash refunds under air passengers’ rights rules.
Simon Calder7 October 2021 08:17
Tui cancels flights and holidays
Tui is telling customers to recheck their holiday and flight booking details after it was forced to cancel a swathe of upcoming packages, due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The tour operator said holidaymakers would get at least seven days notice, and could choose between a full cash refund or rebooking for a different date or destination.
It said in a statement: “We know some customers may be unsure about travelling this summer, so to offer continued flexibility and reassurance, fee-free changes can be made up to 14 days before travel for customers due to depart up to and including 31 October.”
It has announced the following cancellations:
Up to and including 16 October
Egypt (Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh)
Up to and including 21 October
Up to and including 31 October
Austria, Italy and Slovenia (TUI Lakes and Mountains)
Bulgaria (Varna and Bourgas)
Italy (Calabria, Sardinia and Sicily)
Mainland Spain (Almeria and Girona)
Helen Coffey7 October 2021 07:55
Good morning, and welcome to the travel liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest updates throughout the day.
Helen Coffey7 October 2021 07:32
‘International travel is getting easier’ – industry reacts to FCO changes
Julia Lo Bue-Said of Advantage Travel Partnership has praised the FCO’s decision earlier today to remove advice against “all but essential travel” to more than 30 countries.
“Good news to see @FCDOtravelGovUK have lifted their non essential travel advisory to over 30+ countries,” tweeted Bue-Said.
“This is where countries not on red list still had an advisory against travel. International travel is getting easier but remains complex. Book with a travel agent expert.”
Some expressed their frustration on Twitter at travel restrictions to niche destinations such as Fiji and Djibouti being eased, while very few popular holiday and ex-pat destinations remain unchanged
“Bit of an odd list,” tweeted data analyst Donal Kane.
“All the ones that no one goes to. Great work,” added Twitter user Emma Namur.
Lucy Thackray6 October 2021 17:58
Grenada slashes price of PCR tests
The Caribbean island of Grenada has reduced the price of its PCR tests for travellers, according to the tourist board’s PR representative.
Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency which represents Pure Grenada, tweeted: “A welcome cut in the Caribbean – Grenada slashes the cost of PCR tests on entry to just £36 ($50) per person from today.”
Lucy Thackray6 October 2021 17:21
Foreign Office lists advice against travel to 30+ destinations
Hundreds of thousands of travellers and much of the travel industry are celebrating a Foreign Office decision to remove advice against travel to more than 30 countries.
Until now the FCDO has warned against non-essential travel to nations such as Bangladesh, Gambia, Ghana and Malaysia “based on the current assessment on Covid-19 risks”.
The warning has been in place even for nations with low infection rates and no variants of concern, and is at odds with the Department for Transport (DfT) assessment of risk from travellers returning from such countries.
None of the countries with advice being adjusted is currently on the government’s “red list” of 54 countries, from which travellers must quarantine in a hotel on entry to the UK.
Lucy Thackray6 October 2021 16:54
Tourism body says red list must be scrapped to aid recovery
The “continued sluggish recovery” of travel and tourism means its contribution to global GDP will rise by less than one third in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The tourism body said it is “vital” for the British Government to scrap the red list in order to aid recovery of the sector.
While nearly $9.2 trillion was generated by travel and tourism worldwide in 2019, this plummeted by $4.5 trillion last year due to the pandemic – a drop of 49 per cent.
“While the global economy is set to receive a modest 30.7 per cent year-on-year increase from travel and tourism in 2021, this will only represent $1.4 trillion and is mainly driven by domestic spending,” said the WTTC.
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 15:52