The government admits it’s a “modest first step” because the struggling sector argues it restarts leisure trips “in name only”.
A cabinet minister has defended the “cautious start” to reopening international holiday travel within the face of industry demands to expand the quarantine-free green list of foreign destinations.
Speaking to Sky News, Environment Secretary George Eustice acknowledged it had been a “modest first step”, but said the line-up of approved countries would be regularly reviewed and because the global coronavirus situation improved more would be added.
Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among just 12 destinations which can get on the green list from 17 May when the ban on overseas leisure trips is lifted – with some countries featured still not accepting holidaymakers.
Holiday hotspots Spain, France, Italy and Greece are added to the amber list – destinations which individuals are advised to not visit , and from which arrivals must self-isolate reception for 10 days and take two post-arrival tests.
The industry has warned the govt approach could hamper the recovery of the travel sector, which has borne the economic brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Couples, who don’t sleep in qualifying countries, have also said they feel “forgotten” by the green list for travel.
But health experts have backed the limited steps taken by the govt describing them as “sensible”.
Mr Eustice said: “This may be a cautious start to undertake and relax travel. we’ve been cautious about loosening the restrictions throughout.”
Pointing out the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had made clear the list would be reviewed every three weeks, he added: “This is that the initial list.
“I know it is a modest initiative .
“But it’ll be reviewed again in three weeks’ time and because the situation changes and improves more countries are going to be added thereto green list.”