Britons are eager to find out whether they can head abroad this summer, with more than a year of restrictions preventing international holidays. The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is in the process of categorising countries depending on four key criteria, which will classify them as green, amber or red.
The criteria the Government is examining are vaccination rates, COVID-19 prevalence, the extent of variants and capacity for genome sequencing of the virus.
Green countries would be free to visit for Britons without needing to quarantine on return, however, Covid testing may be needed both before and after travel.
Amber countries would require 10 days of isolation upon returning, as well as Covid testing before and after travel.
Red countries would be on the ‘do not fly’ list, meaning only specific exemptions such as work or healthcare would allow Britons to travel.
Will France, Spain and Greece be on the green list?
According to a report, Spain, France and Greece should be classified as amber based on the Government’s criteria.
The study, carried out by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG looked into the potential classifications for countries using the Government’s criteria.
Countries like Malta, Gibraltar and Iceland made the list for green, however tourist hotspots like Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus are classed as amber countries on the report, due to high coronavirus rates.
Despite the data, economic and political factors could see the countries classed as riskier downgraded to green.
The report said: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year.”
France has struggled with Covid rates, with a third wave triggering another lockdown for the country, however, numbers are appearing to stabilise.
Rising infection rates are being recorded in Spain, with a fourth wave said to be taking hold.
Vaccine roll-outs in Spain have faced delays, and the latest data showed there are more than 200 cases per 100,000 people.
Greece has actually lifted quarantine requirements for those who have been vaccinated or are Covid free, however, lockdown restrictions remain.
Restaurants and bars can only offer takeaway, and the vaccine rollout is making headway with 10 percent of the population having received one dose.
Greece’s Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told CNN the country “is taking these baby steps, the start of a gradual opening process that will lead to a full opening of tourism in Greece on May 14.
“During the weeks ahead we will be making adjustments.”
Greece, Spain, France and Italy are all tourist hotspots and likely to see an influx of bookings when free to travel to.
Brits will have to wait until May to discover which countries have made the green list, with clarification promised at the start of the month.
The earliest date international travel could start is May 17, the next phase of the Government’s lockdown roadmap.
Travel experts have been calling on the Government to place trust in travellers after new evidence shows those wanting to fly are more aware of the risks.
A survey carried out by AllClear Travel Insurance found 76 percent of Brits have said they are now more considerate for their safety than they were before the outbreak of coronavirus.
This figure increased by 15 percent from 66 percent in July 2020.
The poll of 2,016 people also found a third of Brits thought it would be safest to travel to Southern Europe.
After this, Northern Europe was seen to be the next most safe destination (31 percent), followed by the Caribbean (27 percent) and Eastern Europe/Russia (25 percent).
CEO of AllClear Travel Insurance Chris Rolland told Express.co.uk: “In all the speculation about which countries will be safe and when, the impact it will have on the R-rate and the economy, it feels as though the holidaymakers themselves have been left out of the equation.
“Not enough focus has been given to the individual responsibility of UK travellers and the precautions they are prepared to take to ensure their safety while travelling. Our research has consistently shown throughout the pandemic, the vast majority will go the extra mile to ensure their wellbeing and that of others.”
“It is clear to see that the appetite for overseas holidays is huge. People want to holiday as soon as they can, and this appetite is only going to grow as we get closer to the summer.
“However, the lack of clarity and transparency in decision making until this point has left holidaymakers in the dark, unable to plan, and frustrated their voice is not being heard. Added to this, the potential costs of testing being considered are putting bookers off travelling altogether.
“The onus on the Government should be to make holidaymakers aware of all the risks, but ultimately to give them the choice, and trust they will make the right decision.”