Calls are growing for the government to produce a definitive list of countries deemed safe to travel to which are also fully open to travellers from the UK.
On Friday, the government published a ‘safe’ list of 59 countries alongside confirmation that 14-day quarantine rules would be relaxed from July 10.
However, many countries on the list still have restrictions in place for travellers from the UK, with some currently blocking direct entry or insisting on quarantine on arrival.
This list includes destinations such as Madeira and The Azores, which are deemed safe to travel to by the FCO, but would still be subject to quarantine rules for travellers on return to the UK as they do not appear on the list produced by the Department for Transport.
Gemma Antrobus, chair of Aito Agents, told The Sunday Times that confusion over the lists was set to cause “havoc” this week.
She said: “Let’s make the two lists exactly the same. It’s just going to cause havoc this week with people wanting to know can they travel, can they not and is their holiday going ahead.”
A DfT source told the paper that the lists had been based on two different considerations, with the FCO’s advice focusing on healthcare in the destinations and the DfT focusing on managing the risk posed by those returning to the UK.
Sunvil chairman Noel Josephides said: “It’s as though government departments don’t actually speak to each other. All we want is one list.”
He added: “Each delay of a day probably costs us a week in bookings. The clients that booked before the pandemic have steadily cancelled or deferred, because of the uncertainty and the on-off messages that we’ve been getting.”
Repeating calls for clarity made on a Travel Weekly webcast on Friday, Paul Charles, spokesman for the Quash Quarantine campaign, said: “The two lists do not tally and consumers are going to be extremely confused. We need a single list of barrier-free countries. That is vital and needed by Monday.”
On Saturday, consumer association Which? described the relaxation of measures as a “complete mess”.