Simon Calder, The Independent’s travel correspondent, spoke to readers this afternoon about the possible movements on the UK’s green, red and amber lists, in an online event ahead of the next travel rules update.
Some experts have predicted Jamaica could move from the amber to the red list in this week’s review of the travel traffic light system.
Data analyst Tim White, who has been watching case figures closely in destinations across the world, tweeted:
“Jamaica‘s positive test rate today is 32.4 per cent. Yesterday it was even higher at 49 per cent … It’s really difficult to make a case for Jamaica avoiding red now.”
Writing in a mega-thread of data analysis and traffic light predictions, White had better news for holidaymakers with their eye on Turkey.
Given Turkey’s “increased vaccination rates, safety measures in resorts and now genomic sequencing,” White said, he predicts it will move to the amber list.
In his live Q&A with Independent readers, Simon Calder gave Turkey a ‘50/50 chance’ of going amber in this week’s review.
Follow live travel updates below:
Travel traffic light review looks likely to be tomorrow
Although the government’s last tri-weekly travel update was announced on a Wednesday, the latest announcement now looks likely to be released tomorrow, Thursday 26 August.
Department for Transport sources told The Independent the review would happen by the end of the week, while data expert Tim White has tweeted that “unofficial sources” have indicated that the update “looks like being tomorrow not this evening.”
Helen Coffey25 August 2021 17:55
Further signs that UK-US travel will be further delayed
There are fresh signs that UK-US travel may be further delayed.
Transatlantic travel has been off-limits to Brits looking to visit the States since March 2020, when countries around the world started implementing tough border controls.
There were hopes that the US could lift its travel ban on the UK by summer’s end, but that’s looking increasingly unlikely.
In another blow to frustrated travellers, Aer Lingus is to postpone its new flights from Manchester to New York and Orlando from the end of September to 1 and 11 December respectively “due to continuing travel restrictions”, reports travel consultant Paul Charles.
Helen Coffey25 August 2021 17:32
NHS Covid passport still not recognised in parts of Europe
British travellers face problems using their Covid vaccine passports across some of Europe, due to a delay in the UK linking up with the EU’s system.
“Gaps in the British government’s application to Brussels” mean the NHS electronic Covid pass has not yet been synced with the EU-wide IT system which tracks vaccination certificates.
The UK government made an application to link up with the EU system on 28 July, but the European Commission has not yet approved this, with sources saying they have sought further technical information from the UK.
Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 17:01
UK holidays almost always more expensive than similar European getaways, says Which?
Costs for private holiday accommodation in the UK have increased by 41 per cent on average since 2019, according to Which? research.
The consumer champion found that holidays to some British destinations currently cost hundreds of pounds more than trips to equivalent European destinations, even when airfare is factored in.
Which? looked at the average cost of private holiday rentals, hotels and taking a holiday in various popular UK destinations with comparable locations overseas, and found that, in almost every case, taking a holiday in the UK was more expensive.
When Which? looked at the cost of seven nights this August in a highly rated hotel in Lake Garda, Italy, it was nearly a quarter of the price of a comparable holiday in the Lake District. Seven nights accommodation in Lake Garda cost £631, while the seven nights accommodation for two people in Lake Windermere would cost £2,381.
For each holiday, the consumer champion also calculated transport costs. The average UK resident travels 310 miles for their UK holiday, which works out at £43 in petrol costs. Even though this is far cheaper than the £171 for return flights to Italy for two, the total cost of a holiday in Lake Windermere was still more than £1,600 more expensive than Lake Garda.
Helen Coffey25 August 2021 16:37
Watch Simon Calder answer readers’ pressing travel questions
Simon Calder, The Independent’s travel correspondent, this lunchtime answered our readers’ most pressing travel questions ahead of the upcoming traffic light review from the Department for Transport.
From testing to transiting, vaccines to quarantines, the travel team took on wide-ranging queries in one of the most confusing periods for travel in living memory.
Click below to watch today’s exclusive half-hour event in full:
Helen Coffey25 August 2021 16:22
Gatwick reveals plans for a second runway
Gatwick, hardest hit of all the major UK airports by the coronavirus pandemic, is pressing ahead with plans for a second runway.
The airport plans to shift the current standby runway by 12 metres to the north – providing sufficient separation from the main runway to allow take-offs of medium-sized passenger jets such as easyJet’s Airbus A320s and Ryanair’s Boeing 737s.
Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, believes that with a second runway in place, Gatwick could handle up to 75 million passengers annually by 2038 – close to the 81 million achieved by Heathrow in its peak year of 2019.
But opponents to Gatwick’s proposals say they “fly in the face of the climate emergency”.
Simon Calder25 August 2021 15:52
World Travel & Tourism Council urges US government to approve AstraZeneca for transatlantic travellers
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon the US government to urgently speed up approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine to help restore vital transatlantic travel.
The Oxford-University-developed vaccine is not currently recognised in the USA, meaning many British travellers who have had the jab will not be able to enter the States once travel resumes.
The WTTC says failure to approve the vaccine will continue the serious knock-on effects on the tourism sector on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It’s crucial the US authorities step forward to formally approve the AstraZeneca vaccine as a matter of urgency, to enable cross-border mobility and the return of transatlantic travel between the UK and US,” said WTTC senior vice president Virginia Messina.
Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 15:18
Balearic Islands offer travellers free travel insurance until end of 2021
Spain’s Balearic Islands are offering a free travel insurance deal for visitors to the islands, a deal that is now being extended until the end of 2021.
The Tourism Agency of the Balearic Islands (AETIB) originally set up the free Covid-19 travel insurance offer to “restore traveller confidence and stimulate demand”, and the extension into winter aims to include families wanting to travel during October half term.
Holidays to the islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera are all covered by the policy, providing visitors stay in “any regulated accommodation”. A free English-speaking helpline is also available to reassure travellers.
The deal covers medical, surgical and hospitalisation expenses with a maximum limit of €15,000, medical expenses for transportation and repatriation, as well as the costs of extending a stay in regulated accommodation for the policyholder and their companions.
Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 14:41
Coming back from red list countries
When asked whether it is possible to avoid red list quarantine by travelling via another country, Simon Calder said it is – if you stay in an amber or green-rated country for enough time, you lose your “red list” status.
The UK’s Passenger Locator Form asks if you have been in a red list country over the past 10 days but nothing about the previous weeks, our travel correspondent said.
“As long as you do these count things right, then yes you leave your red list country, you can go to any country that will have you,” he said.
“You effectively come back from there and go into the third country. Have a lovely holiday – Malta is a great place to have a holiday, Portugal is pretty cheap as well – and then you just fly in from there.”
Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 13:53
Some countries don’t need Covid tests to enter, Simon Calder says
Simon Calder has reminded travellers it is not a blanket rule that travellers need a Covid test to leave the UK.
“There is so much nonsense online,” he said.
“Some countries will ask you for a test, particularly if you’ve not been vaccinated, but lots of them won’t,” he said.
Countries such as Germany just want to know if you have been jabbed, our travel correspondent said.
Helen Coffey25 August 2021 13:35