Ministers are discussing plans to create an amber watchlist of countries potentially in danger of being transferred to the red list. Popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Greece and Italy could find themselves on the new watchlist. Experts fear this could lead to an exodus of British tourists and deliver a devastating blow to the travel industry, which has been left reeling from the Covid pandemic.
Currently, travellers from amber countries are allowed to return to the UK without having to go into quarantine.
However, those arriving from red list countries must stay 10 days in a hotel and pay £1,750.
The Prime Minister was accused of adding “further uncertainty” to the beleaguered industry and of “squandering the vaccine dividend”.
Huw Merriman, the Tory chairman of the Commons transport committee, told The Times: “The Government has used the vaccine dividend to make some positive strides in the last few weeks, making it easier for those travelling in and out of the UK.
“This is not the time to be adding further complexity, uncertainty and anxiety to an already beleaguered sector.”
Travel bosses said the industry was drinking in the “last chance saloon” as far as this summer was concerned and that watch lists were not the most effective way of “indicating changing risk.”
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In a major boost to the travel industry, the Government also confirmed that international cruise ships will be able to depart from England from August 2.
Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the change to the rules would provide “a boost for the tourism sector and wider economy while ensuring public health is protected”.
He added that the change would be “carefully monitored by clinicians and kept under close review”.