Transport secretary keen on island corridors this summer

Travel corridors to islands with lower Covid infection rates than their country’s mainland are likely to be implemented again this summer, the transport secretary has said.

Asked on a webinar hosted by Airlines UK and Conservative Home if the policy would be used again this year, Grant Shapps said: “The simple answer is yes, I want to do that again.”

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The island corridors policy was introduced last year, which allowed quarantine-free travel between islands in tourist hotspots like Greece and Portugal while travellers to the mainland of those countries were subject to self-isolation on their return to the UK.

The Canary Islands was granted a corridor in October 2020 before it was removed in December, one of the changes that prompted further calls from the industry for more notice on decisions to add or remove countries.

Shapps said the recent addition of the green watchlist would help give holidaymakers and travel companies more notice of potential changes.

“I don’t want to go backwards and forwards,” added Shapps, who removed Spain from the travel corridor list last summer while he was on holiday there – meaning he had to self-isolate on his return.

He added: “It’s easy for us, sitting here in the UK, to forget that many countries do not have an Office for National Statistics of the quality that we do. Some of the smaller nations aren’t going to have that critical mass of data and reliability and genome sequencing.

“We are sometimes having to try and second guess what’s going on in the market. Sometimes last year, frankly, we found out that we weren’t always being given entirely truthful data – so the reliability of that data is also very important.”

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