A raft of new countries have been added to the UK’s travel corridor list, meaning people will not have to self isolate upon returning from them.
Iceland, Chile, Cambodia, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Laos, and Turks and Caicos have all been added to the quarantine free travel list.
Those arriving from the countries from Saturday morning will not need to self-isolate, transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted.
Although international leisure travel is currently banned as part of the new national lockdown, the additions raise hopes that people will be able to get some much needed winter sun over the Christmas period.
In addition, Greece was removed from the list after a surge in cases.
Islands Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos will however remain open to quarantine free travel.
The government has been using 20 cases per 100,000 as one of its benchmarks for deciding whether to take away quarantine free travel.
Due to the new national lockdown, international travel for leisure purposes is currently banned until 2 December, but attention has turned to what could happen when the restrictions are lifted.
Travel firms are desperate secure bookings for the Christmas period after a year that has seen their businesses decimated by the pandemic.
This morning industry body ABTA said that bookings were set to fall on average 93 per cent for the year as a whole.
As a result, there is growing pressure on the government to give more countries travel corridors so people have the chance to enjoy some winter sun over Christmas.
There have been calls for popular destinations such as Jamaica, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai to be added onto the quarantine free list.
In addition, Shapps has said that officials are making progress in a plan to reduce the length of time for which people have to self-isolate after travelling from countries without corridors.
He told an industry conference that ministers were planning to launch the test and release system when lockdown ends.
Last week Germany and Sweden were taken off the travel corridor list. Denmark also had restrictions reimposed after widespread outbreak of coronavirus at mink farms.