holiday bookings surged today as Londoners took a punt on destinations they believe will be on the long-awaited “green list” of countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to publish the list of nations, from which travellers returning to England will not have to quarantine, in a Downing Street briefing at 5pm.
These are likely to include Portugal, Iceland and Malta, and possibly also Israel and Gibraltar — with the easing of rules beginning in 10 days.
But travel agents reported a rush of people booking breaks to these holiday hotspots in anticipation of the announcement. The cost of some airline tickets has already surged, with travel to Portugal’s resorts on May 17, from when the restrictions ease, more than doubling in price in the last two days. Last night, Ryanair was charging £152 for a flight from Stansted to Lisbon, compared with £15 the day before restrictions lift.
The “traffic light” system for England will place extra restrictions on trips to “amber” and “red” countries. At present, overseas leisure travel is banned.
People arriving from a green location will not need to quarantine on their return and will have to take one PCR test within two days of arriving. Those returning from an amber country must self-isolate for at least five days and take two tests. The red list requires an 11-night stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750.
There will also be a “green watch list”, to give travellers advance notice of countries about to move to amber or red.
Tui said it would offer customers Covid-19 tests at a discount of £20. PCR tests alone typically cost £120.