Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today set out plans to reopen the border for international travel, with the Travel Taskforce adding further details soon.
Domestic holidays will be allowed in England from today, but the PM indicated that international holidays could remain illegal beyond 17 May.
The Stay at Home orders the UK has lived under for months ended on 29 March and overnight stays away from your home in self-contained accommodation will be allowed from next week.
According to the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown, Brits were told international travel will only begin again from 17 May at the earliest, however this evening Boris Johnson again warned those living in England from booking summer holidays.
No official decision has been made on whether allowing international travel can resume.
That will only happen once a scheme to allow trips abroad with reduced risk of bringing mutant variants back into the UK is put in place.
Johnson confirmed that international travel will be subject to a traffic light system, where countries are attributed a red, amber or green colour dependent on the risks associated with travel from there.
The traffic light system will be based on a range of factors – including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Travellers arriving from countries rated green will not be required to isolate – although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.
For those classed as amber or red, the restrictions will remain as they are with arrivals required to isolate or enter quarantine.
Over the Easter weekend the chief executives of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic as well as trade body Airlines UK have applied pressure to Johnson as his ministers made it clear the ban on foreign travel will be in place until at least May 17.
“There can be no economic recovery without aviation, and we are confident we now have the tools to enable a safe and meaningful restart to travel in May – allowing us to return to our job of reuniting friends and family, supporting trade and business and allowing Britons to enjoy a well-earned break again,” the letter stated.
It added: “We believe vaccinated passengers should not be subject to travel restrictions and that testing can also reduce the barriers to travel including for areas that are considered to present some risk. Only very high-risk areas would be subject to more stringent measures”
Bookings jumped after roadmap out of lockdown announced
Travel companies such as Tui, Easyjet and other said holiday sales have surged as pent up demand turned into a digital bookings boost since the roadmap out of lockdown was announced.
From 12 April domestic stays must be with your households only and in self-contained accommodation.
The travel, transport and aviation sector has been one of the worst-hit by lockdown restrictions, so the earlier-than-expected prospect of domestic holiday will provide some comfort to English travel providers.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency said, overall, the announcement was good for the industry:
“Unlocking confidence, unlocks revenues.
“Naming a date when international travel can resume, 17 May, is the best move the Prime Minister could have made and it didn’t cost him money, there wasn’t an announcement on furlough or business grants. It’s about giving people the confidence to book.
“Now 17 May is down as a marker to work towards. It saves June, June and August and means we can plan for a proper Summer”.