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.
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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
Red list update expected tomorrow or Friday
Hopes that an updated red list might be announced today appear to have been dashed.
The DfT tells The Independent that the “plan is still for an announcement later this week”, which suggests the revised list will be released on Thursday or Friday.
Great swathes of the red list are expected to be bumped up to the new “rest of world” list (an amalgamation of the former green and amber lists).
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 14:39
British Airways to bring back its A380 aircraft
British Airways is set to welcome back its A380 aircraft in November and operate its biggest schedule since March 2020, with additional services to cities across the globe, including the US.
British Airways’ A380 will initially operate to a number of short-haul destinations to allow for crew service familiarisation, shortly followed by operations to Miami and Los Angeles in the US, as well as Dubai, in December.
Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ director of network and alliances, said: “This is an exciting time for British Airways and our customers as we see borders re-opening.
“With welcome news from the US, we are dramatically increasing flights and bringing home some of our A380s to give our customers as many options as possible.
“Elsewhere across our network we are also adding additional services to destinations all over the world, to ensure our customers can take advantage of a much-needed holiday.”
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 11:56
Google to launch features promoting greener travel
Google is launching a range of features to give people “greener” options when they travel.
The new updates, rolling out in stages from today, include:
- Bringing carbon emissions information to Google Flights.
- Information on sustainability efforts when searching for hotels.
- When driving, Google Maps will let you choose the route with the lowest carbon emissions if it isn’t already the fastest one.
- Easier navigation features for cyclists on Maps and making it simpler to find bikes and scooter shares.
- New artificial intelligence, piloted in Israel, to optimize the efficiency of traffic lights, predicting traffic conditions and improving the timing of when traffic lights change.
- Making it easier to see hybrid and electric vehicle options on search, comparing them against gas-powered models, and finding rebates so customers know the true cost before they buy.
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 11:11
Foreign holidays prices down 4.2 per cent
Holiday prices have dropped by 4.3 per cent on average since UK travel restrictions started to ease, according to research by hotel booking platform hoo.
Back in May of this year, when global travel rules were still very stringent, hoo’s research shows that the average price for a foreign holiday was just over £101 per night per person.
The latest data shows that after the easing of restrictions, the average price of a holiday has fallen to £96.87, a decline of 4.2 per cent.
However, some destinations have seen prices hikes, including Paris, Madrid and Rome.
Dubai has seen one of the largest increases in the cost of a holiday: in May, the average nightly price for a holiday to Dubai was just over £77 but this has since increased by 18 per cent to over £91 per night.
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 10:11
E-gate chaos at Heathrow airport
Passengers arriving at Heathrow are being forced to wait in long queues or are being held on planes due to a problem with self-service passport gates.
The airport wrote on Twitter: “We’re aware of an issue impacting the e-gates, which are staffed and operated by Border Force.
“We apologise for the impact this is having on your journey.
“Our teams are working closely with Border Force to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Helen Coffey6 October 2021 09:16