Ministers must address the government’s “flawed” approach to international travel ahead of the next traffic light system review at the end of the month.
The call from consumer body Which? came as thousands of holidaymakers struggled to get back from Portugal by today’s 4am deadline set as the country was relegated from the green to the amber list requiring quarantine for ten days on return.
Airlines laid on extra flights and deployed larger aircraft in an effort to bring travellers home in time after the surprise government announcement last Thursday.
Many voiced frustration and anger at having their holidays curtailed just three weeks after Portugal was added to the UK’s green list on May 17.
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Passengers trying to leave Portugal before quarantine requirements come into effect will be wondering why more notice wasn’t given, such as making use of the green watch list, to prevent tens of thousands of people now scrambling to get home.
“Between flights selling out, expensive fares, and difficulties obtaining tests in time, it’s clear the government’s current approach to managing the changing situation around travel is flawed.
“These issues must be addressed before the next green list review, to prevent another disastrous summer for travel.”
Holiday at home call
But environment secretary George Eustace suggested that people should not travel abroad this year unless absolutely necessary.
He told Sky News: “I will be staying at home. I have no intention of traveling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.
“Some people may, but they have to understand that there are obviously risks in doing so because it is a dynamic situation.
“But I think most people will probably decide to stay at home, holiday at home.”
Eustace added: ”We’ve got some great places here, there aren’t many places that are on that [green] list.
“But obviously some people will want to travel abroad. There are still a small number of countries on that green list. If they want to do that they can, but obviously they will have to understand there are risks in doing so as well.”