Watch: Minister urges Britons to 'holiday at home' at UK's 'great places'
The government has encouraged Britons to holiday in the UK this summer to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The advice comes after British holidaymakers were forced to scramble back home from Portugal by 4am on Tuesday after it was taken off the green travel list.
Thousands of travellers cut short their trips to Portugal to make it back to the UK as new rules mean arrivals must take two tests and quarantine for 10 days.
Environment secretary George Eustice said Britons should take their holidays at home.
He told Sky News on Tuesday he would be holidaying in his constituency in Cornwall.
“We’ve got some fabulous places to visit in this part of the country, not least of course Cornwall, where there will be a very, very busy summer I’m sure,” he said.
“My advice to people would be holiday at home, we’ve got some great places here."
Eustice said the government had hoped that the situation worldwide would have improved, allowing other countries to be added to the green list.
“Our advice has been don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he said.
“Obviously, we had hoped, with these three categories that we had, we had hoped that situation would be improving in other parts of the world, that we’d be able to progressively add other countries to the green list.
“Sadly, that’s not the situation, we do have this new variant of concern first identified in India that is now cropping up in other countries, and we’ve just got to take a very cautious approach.
“I will be staying at home, I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.”
The government has been criticised for removing Portugal from its green list, which led to a last-minute exodus of British holidaymakers there on Monday.
Tourists who tried to beat the deadline were hit by a combination of many flights being sold out and the handful of available seats being sold at inflated prices.
Many holidaymakers and travel firms expressed anger when the announcement on Portugal was made last Thursday, as it came just 17 days after the ban on international leisure travel was lifted.
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Passengers trying to leave Portugal before quarantine requirements come into effect will be wondering why more notice wasn’t given, such as making use of the green watch list, to prevent tens of thousands of people now scrambling to get home.
“Between flights selling out, expensive fares, and difficulties obtaining tests in time, it’s clear the government’s current approach to managing the changing situation around travel is flawed.
“These issues must be addressed before the next green list review, to prevent another disastrous summer for travel.”
The Department for Transport said the situation in Portugal “required swift action to protect the gains made with the vaccine rollout”.
It stated that the positivity rate for coronavirus tests in Portugal had nearly doubled since the travel lists were first created four weeks earlier.
Watch: Britons scramble home from Portugal after green list decision