The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

We had the straightforward traffic light system (red, amber and green) and then the ‘green watchlist’.

AMBER PLUS: Mont-Saint-Michel, in Normandy. Photo: Getty Images
AMBER PLUS: Mont-Saint-Michel, in Normandy. Photo: Getty Images

In addition to this, we now have the ‘amber plus’, a new category which France was hastily placed into on the evening of July 15.

This means that anyone arriving from France will now be required to self-isolate at home for ten days and take a PCR test on day two and day eight of arriving home.

There is lots of speculation in the media around other destinations moving to amber plus, and indeed France returning back to amber at the next review. Confused?

So what is amber plus all about?

Amber plus was swiftly applied and introduced to France due to concerns over the spread of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Amber plus means that regardless of vaccination status, if you are returning from an amber plus destination you will be required to self-isolate at home for ten days and take two PCR tests on day two and day eight.

At present France is the only destination in this category. There is speculation that France may be removed but also that other destinations may be added to this category.

I am booked to travel to an amber destination but I’m concerned it may move to amber plus, what are my options?

There has been no official update from tour operators and airlines on what you can do if your destination does move into this category. However, based on the fast changing pace and how the travel providers have reacted to changes in the past, we expect you will be offered a date change or change of destination.

I am double vaccinated and due to travel to Croatia, do I need a test before I travel?

Croatia is on the UK green list and initially double vaccinated passengers were required to show proof of vaccine in order to enter the country. However, the rules on entering have now changed and from July 26 anyone arriving from the UK to Croatia, regardless of vaccine status, will be required to also provide a negative Covid-19 test.

As this is a change at short notice made by the Croatian authorities, most airlines and tour operators are allowing a date change or change of destination. Check with your travel provider.

When is the next travel review?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce the results of the next travel review next week. The Government is reviewing the traffic light system every three weeks, meaning that the next review should be either on Wednesday, August 4 or Thursday, August 5.

So still plenty of happy and grateful customers returning from overseas holidays. The feedback on the whole is extremely positive. Once you get your head round the forms and testing requirements, the feedback is that it is worth the wait!

We have nowhere near the usual amount of customers overseas right now, but it is a step in the right direction, and of course the tourist destinations are delighted to have us back.

Let’s see what the next review brings.

■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]