Abta will push for a wider reopening of international travel at the first review of the government’s Global Travel Taskforce policy in June following what is expected to be a limited restart in May.

The travel association also hopes to see digital Covid-status certification available “as soon after May 17 as possible”.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer told Travel Weekly: “The government is very aware of how critical the peak season is – more so than ever when we’ve missed a whole year of travel. Every day and every week counts.”

The earliest possible restart date of May 17 will see travellers to countries categorised as low risk or ‘green’ under the traffic light system subject to costly PCR testing, and the list of accessible countries is expected to be restricted.

However, the system will be reviewed within six weeks, by June 28.


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Tanzer said: “We’ll be pushing for keeping to that review date and getting whatever comes out of it implemented as soon as possible.”

Further reviews of the traffic light policy and related restrictions are scheduled by the end of July and October 1.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Tanzer said: “These reviews are in the same pattern as the domestic review points.

“As with the domestic lockdown, the government has set parameters for enough data to come in to justify a decision to change and to give notification of that.”

He added: “With the number of destinations, the Joint Biosecurity Centre is going to be reviewing a vast amount of data. So it is going take a while before they have confidence to move somewhere to a less risky category.”

Tanzer suggested the government is aware that certification “is an indispensable element” of international travel’s restart, “partly because other countries want to see it”.

He said: “I hope work to make a digital certificate available is going to produce results as soon after May 17 as possible.

“It could be, if there is a delay, you need a paper-based version – and there will always be people who don’t have a smartphone. But it is essential we enable people to get entry into other countries.”


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