The Government has quietly dropped its advice against non-essential travel to some of the most popular destinations for British tourists – just days before the ‘green list’ is released.
Sunseekers are waiting with baited breath for Downing Street to announce the destinations which can be travelled to without the need to isolate for 14 days on return from May 17.
And with speculation rife around which countries might make the initial cut, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) updated its travel advice yesterday with little fanfare.
It has now declared that it “no longer advises against all but essential travel” to the Canary Islands and Israel – one of the most highly vaccinated nations in the world.
And “is not advising against travel to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete” in Greece.
Portugal is also now deemed safe, excluding the Azores region.
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Other nations in recent days which have had advice updated include Malta and the Scandinavian states of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
The green list – expected to include just a handful of destinations to begin with – is based on countries with high vaccination rates, low prevalence of Covid and its variants and their capacity for genome analysis of the virus.
While the Foreign Office advice also takes into account other factors such as the capability of its health system and terrorist risk.
But it’s the Department for Transport (DfT) which is responsible for publishing the traffic light system, setting out restrictions Brits face when they arrive back home.
“It’s basically saying that, on vaccination and Covid rates, the Foreign Office thinks it is a safe country,” a senior industry source told the Telegraph.
“Operators could not fly there if the Foreign Office didn’t change its advice. It paves the way for significant travel to the destinations.”
Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland are all thought to fit the ‘green list’ criteria, with Portugal said to be on the “cusp”.
While the likes of Spain, France and Greece are expected to be added to the amber list before being bumped up by late June.
It comes following reports ministers are understood to have agreed to separate travel corridors for Spanish, Greek and Portuguese islands even if the mainlands still have high Covid levels.
Rosa Ana Morilla Rodriguez, director general of tourism for the Balearic islands, said she is “very optimistic” a deal can be agreed to open Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera to Brits before June.
The official said she is hopeful that the islands – which are traditionally flooded with UK tourists each summer – will be included on the government’s first ‘green list’.
“We have the right numbers, we have the right measures in place that will allow us to be considered ‘green’,” Ms Morilla Rodriguez added.
Full list of popular holiday resorts deemed safe
Portugal (excluding the Azores region)
- Gran Canaria
- La Palma
- La Gomera
- El Hierro
- La Graciosa