Turkey remains stuck on the UK’s travel red list following the latest update to the international travel rules, announced yesterday afternoon.
There were high hopes in the industry that the holiday favourite would go amber, with the Turkish Embassy saying earlier this week that the country “expected” to be upgraded from red in the next review.
Turkey has reported around 135,000 new infections over the last seven days, compared to the UK’s 236,000.
Only seven new countries – including Canada and Denmark – moved to the green list, with two moving down from amber to red.
The next review of the red, green and amber travel lists is expected to be announced on 15 or 16 September.
In other travel news, train ticket sales to UK seaside towns are reported to have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said demand is more than double compared with last year’s August bank holiday, and up 17% on the same weekend in 2019.
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Return flights to 192 cities are cheaper than paying for Covid tests, says new research
Travellers could get direct return flights to 192 cities around the world for less than the Covid tests needed to travel according to new analysis by finder.com, a shopping comparison site.
Currently, double vaccinated Brits face an average cost of £190 for the Covid tests needed to travel abroad, which is a significantly higher amount than many return flights.
Finder’s analysis looked at all available flights throughout September departing from London airports, and found 41 countries offered return trips, without any stops, for less than £190.
The cheapest return flight available was to Aalborg in Denmark, for just £9. In this instance travellers would be paying 21 times more for the tests than the flights.
Liz Edwards, UK editor-in-chief at finder.com, said: “There’s currently huge variation in price and service quality in the private Covid testing industry. While the government is attempting to tackle this issue, this fledgling industry is likely to remain loosely regulated for a little while yet.
“If you’re one of the growing number of Brits who plan to travel abroad soon, then make sure you search around to find a reasonably priced test from a provider on the government’s list. A few minutes of searching, and checking reviews, could save you and your family or friends a significant amount of money and hassle.”
Helen Coffey27 August 2021 16:24
International travellers to Scotland will be able to use private sector Covid tests
Travellers to Scotland will be able to use private sector tests when returning, or visiting, from green or amber list countries under a change to international travel restrictions, the Scottish government has announced.
The step will allow people to choose from a list of approved providers when booking the tests they will need to take after arriving in Scotland.
People previously had to book NHS home PCR tests via the UK Government’s booking portal.
The opportunity to ease the restriction – which will come into effect in early September – has been made possible by enhanced monitoring of the performance and reliability of private testing providers to ensure public health safeguards are maintained, according to the government.
There is also the additional safeguard of removing any provider that does not meet stringent performance measures.
Helen Coffey27 August 2021 15:46
“Move to the red list is devastating” – Tourism Authority of Thailand
Thailand’s main tourist board has issued a statement reacting to yesterday’s news that the country will move onto the UK’s red list from next week.
“Thailand’s move to the red list is devastating news for Thailand and its tourism industry,” said Khun Chiravadee Khunsub, Director of the Tourism Authority.
“Since 1 July Thailand started successfully welcoming international travellers under a ‘Sandbox’ initiative which allowed for a safe and controlled return to tourism in limited areas of the country.
“It is incredibly frustrating for Thailand to change to red at this point when things were just getting started, and so safely. Phuket Sandbox, for example, has generated over 36.7 million USD in revenue already with 325 million USD projected by the end of the year. The UK market is expected to contribute 20%, however, this is now compromised after yesterday’s change to the red list and stopping travel to Thailand.”
Lucy Thackray27 August 2021 14:47
Travel review disappointing news for holidaymakers, says travel money CEO
The latest review of the traffic light lists for travel was “disappointing” for holidaymakers, according to one foreign currency expert.
Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO at travel money specialist FairFX, said: “The latest travel review may be disappointing news for some holidaymakers as popular holiday destinations like Turkey, Spain, Greece, France and Italy fail to make it to the green list before the end of the summer season.
“This summer has shown holidays can happen but the constant chopping and changing of destinations coming on and off the green lists does little to provide the certainty customers want when booking a trip abroad.
“Although the pound has dipped slightly compared to the beginning of August, it remains strong at 1.17 which means Brits looking to travel abroad could still get €1,166 for every £1,000 exchanged. This is 4 per cent more compared to August last year.
“With the high cost of PCR testing still in place, even for green listed countries, holidaymakers may be looking to make savings in other ways. To get the most for their money, they should shop around to find the best last minute summer holiday deals and monitor the pound so they can lock in rates while they’re high.”
Helen Coffey27 August 2021 13:30
Simon Calder to answer your travel questions live at 1pm
It’s that time again: the dreaded travel traffic light roulette has come and gone, with the latest updates dumped unceremoniously by the Department for Transport (DfT) on Thursday evening.
There was little movement this time around, and not much to get excited about within the lacklustre changes, other than the addition of Canada to the green list – welcome news for those with family there who haven’t been able to visit the UK without quarantining up until now.
So, what does it all mean for your future holiday plans? Join The Independent’s travel correspondent, Simon Calder, in a few minutes’ time (1pm), when he’ll be on hand to answer your travel questions about all the latest rules and restrictions.
Click below to leave a question for Simon:
Helen Coffey27 August 2021 12:58
Turkey remains on red list
British holidaymakers’ favourite Turkey will remain on the UK’s “red list”.
In the latest review to its traffic light system for international travel, the government announced the revised green, amber and red lists, which dictate the severity of restrictions faced by arrivals upon entering the UK.
While it was hoped that some destinations might move from red to amber in the latest reshuffle on 26 August – including Turkey, the Maldives and Pakistan – not a single country managed to make the leap.
The red list has now grown to 62 countries, following the announcement of the latest additions, Montenegro and Thailand.
Helen Coffey27 August 2021 12:54
Has travel has become the preserve of the administratively gifted?
The many tests, forms and careful timings now required on a multi-stop trip risk putting off all but the most hyper-organised travellers, says travel editor Helen Coffey.
“If anyone was primed and ready to take on the extra red tape necessitated by pandemic restrictions, ’twas I,” writes Coffey.
“But it turns out we all have our limit – and mine appears to be a minimum of four Covid tests, one of which needs to be taken onboard an almost two-day ferry ride, plus four separate passenger locator forms. This rigmarole will be accompanied by the constant, churning anxiety of knowing the rules could change at the drop of a hat in any one of four countries, seeing me stuck far from home – and potentially on another continent.”
Lucy Thackray27 August 2021 11:55
More than 10,000 jabbed at Auckland Airport’s drive-through vaccine clinic
Auckland Airport’s drive-through vaccination clinic has now administered injections to 10,000 New Zealanders.
New Zealand’s largest drive-through clinic was opened on 22 August, and has the capacity to vaccinate 1,500 people per day.
“Our essential workers are still busy at work ensuring the continued safe operations of the airfield and terminals, and also assisting government health workers with a drive-through vaccination site,” said Anna Cassels-Brown, general manager operations at Auckland Airport.
She said staff who would normally work in customer-facing jobs at the airport had jumped at the chance to assist with the vaccinations programme.
“It’s a real credit to the resilience of our staff that they can quickly and easily step into completely different roles to support the government’s vaccination drive,” said Cassels-Brown.
Lucy Thackray27 August 2021 11:49
Private jet bookings soar in the US
The ultra-rich in the US have been hiring private jets from UK-listed Air Partner to go away on their holidays at a rate high enough to offset the firm’s drop in business travellers, according to new figures.
Private jet firm Air Partner said that in the first six months of the year bookings in the US were higher than before the pandemic.
It said strong demand from high net-worth individuals wanting to travel for leisure had made up for the fall recorded in business travel.
Lucy Thackray27 August 2021 11:06
Ask Simon Calder your travel questions
What do the most recent changes to the traffic light travel lists mean for your future holiday plans?
Join our travel correspondent Simon Calder at 1pm today, 27 August, when he’ll be on hand to answer your travel questions about all the latest rules and restrictions.
Yesterday the government announced that Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein and the Azores would all be added to the green list from 4am on Monday.
“There was little movement this time around, and not much to get excited about within the lacklustre changes, other than the addition of Canada to the green list – welcome news for those with family there who haven’t been able to visit the UK without quarantining up until now,” says Simon.
Submit a question for Simon here:
Lucy Thackray27 August 2021 09:46