The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
The good news keeps on coming for the industry as restrictions around the world seem to be relaxing, and with that we are seeing a consistent growth in new bookings and enquiries.
Last minute holidays appear to remain the favourite choice at the moment with the Canary Islands taking top spot for bookings. In the latest travel update on October 7, there was also a shake-up of the red list, which saw a reduction to just seven countries remaining on the list. The next review is not expected until around October 28.
What were the changes at the last review?
The government confirmed that from Monday, October 11 at 4am, 47 countries will be removed from the red list, meaning the list will be reduced to seven destinations (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela).
It was also announced that from late October, eligible fully-vaccinated passengers including under 18s returning from a rest of the world country will have the option to replace the day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test, followed by a free PCR test if positive. The ambition is to have this in place for people returning from half-term breaks, although we are still waiting on finer detail on this.
In addition, advice not to travel to 32 countries due to Covid has also been lifted by the Government, meaning that insurance companies will now be able to offer cover and you won’t be travelling against Foreign Office advice. However, this does not mean that you can now travel to all of these destinations.
So it is advisable to check the entry requirements for your chosen destination before departure.
Will the USA accept the AstraZeneca vaccine for travel?
The US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognises Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines but is yet to approve the AstraZeneca jab. However, it is expected that those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine will be allowed to enter as the vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). We are still awaiting official dates as to when the borders will re-open to UK passengers, as it was previously suggested early November. We are hoping that they don’t leave us waiting too long now.
In other travel news!
Singapore announced the easing of restrictions and will now allow quarantine free travel from a number of countries including the UK, for fully-vaccinated travellers. Also Portugal, who were only allowing travel with a negative PCR test prior to arrival, followed suit with Croatia and Turkey and announced that double-vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide evidence of a negative test.
While it is extremely exciting and encouraging to see travel becoming easier and more destinations welcoming overseas travel, we of course remain cautious as we are fully aware of how quickly things can change.
Demand for UK holidays remains extremely high, even into next year, and the requirement to be fully-vaccinated to make overseas travel simpler looks as though it may be with us for some time.
More on this next week.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]