Greek islands to be fully vaccinated by end of June in aim to be green-listed

·28-min read
tiny Greek island of Kastellorizo - Getty
tiny Greek island of Kastellorizo - Getty

Greece has pledged to fully vaccinate the population of its 6,000 islands by the end June in a bid to boost tourism.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharris told Telegraph Travel: “The vaccination programme is moving along swiftly and the islands have been prioritised. The small islands are finished already, the medium ones will be in the next few days; all will be fully vaccinated by the end of June.”

Theoharris also has high hopes that Greece will be added to the UK’s green list within weeks, stating: “We are disappointed not to have made the first round, but we feel comfortable that our arguments and data support our eligibility to be green-listed on the next round, either as a whole or regionally.”

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has already declared the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete safe for travel in a further indication that Greece’s islands, at least, could be promoted from the amber to the green list at the next review in less than three weeks.

Nothing is guaranteed, however. The Telegraph understands that despite promising data, Greece, along with Spain and France might not be green-listed until July or even August under the UK Government’s cautious approach to re-opening – and nor could their islands.

04:40 PM

What did we learn today?

Here’s a recap of today’s top headlines:

  • Tour operators to run holidays to amber countries against Government advice

  • Boris Johnson: Green list review every three weeks

  • 'Greek islands should make green list even if mainland does not'

  • Spain plans to waive PCR tests on entry

  • Tui to use larger planes as demand for Portugal soars

  • France moves closer to introduction of vaccine passports

  • The best long-haul holiday options for 2021

See you tomorrow for more of the latest travel news.

04:38 PM

OnTheBeach suspends bookings until September

Online travel company OnTheBeach has reportedly suspended all holiday bookings until August 31, following the Government’s decision to classify most destinations as ‘amber.’

"Given this, there is too much uncertainty for us to take new bookings with confidence that they will go ahead, or for us to know the potential inconvenience and incremental costs of taking holidays to either current green or amber destinations," said Chief Executive Simon Cooper.

"This is a temporary measure that we will review in line with the next government announcement. In the meantime, we will focus our efforts in helping and advising our customers who already have bookings of their options to either still go on their holiday, amend their holiday or, where the holiday is cancelled, refunding them in cash within 14 days," said Cooper.

04:32 PM

Have your say!

It has been confirmed that tour operators will run holidays to destinations on the amber list – does this 'discrepancy' in the rules impact your summer plans? Share your story in the comments below and vote in our poll.

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04:28 PM

'Never mind the green list, I'd much rather an amber holiday this summer'

croatia
croatia

"There’s a lot to be said for amber-listed destinations. For one thing, with less competition you’re likely to find far better deals and availability; especially in the countries most reliant on income from British visitors. Better still, you’ll be doing them a favour," writes Annabel Fenwick-Elliot.

"There’s no country on Earth that isn’t trying to claw back lost tourism revenue after a year which has decimated the sector and ruined people’s livelihoods."

Read why, with lower prices and fewer crowds, those able to quarantine upon return will reap the rewards this summer here.

04:20 PM

How to get a Covid test for travel

While huge question marks linger over summer holidays abroad, one thing is clear: there will be Covid tests.

Although some countries, such as Greece, have already suggested that fully vaccinated travellers will not have to provide proof of a negative test, many others may still demand evidence that holidaymakers are Covid-free. And with those under 18 unlikely to be jabbed for some time to come, families could be facing huge added costs to their holidays. On return to the UK, travellers will certainly have to take a test.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about PCR swabs, prices and how many tests you'll need to travel.

pcr testing
pcr testing

04:10 PM

In detail: The amber list

From Monday (May 17), as part of the ‘traffic light’ system most European countries will be designated as ‘amber.’ This means returning travellers must self-isolate at home for up to 10 days, while also being subject to extra testing.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the popular countries that will be on the 'amber' list from next week:

  1. Spain

  2. Greece

  3. France

  4. Italy

  5. Croatia

  6. Cyprus

  7. Germany

  8. USA

  9. Belgium

  10. Barbados

Read more about the confirmed list and when you can travel to these countries here.

santorini
santorini

03:57 PM

Legal action challenges lack of support for travel sector

Abta has taken the first step towards legal action to challenge the adequacy of the Government’s support for the travel sector during the pandemic.

The organisation, which represents the UK’s travel companies, has today sent the Government a ‘letter before claim,’ setting out its intentions – a requirement for judicial review proceedings.

It argues that the Government has unlawfully failed to take account of relevant considerations when making decisions regarding financial support for businesses and the impact of on-going restrictions on travel.

Its solicitors argue that the Government “arbitrarily and unlawfully” failed to differentiate between the UK travel sector and other non-essential retail businesses when providing financial assistance.

“We would far rather that adequate financial support for the sector could be given without the need to turn to legal action,” said Mark Tanzer, Abta’s Chief Executive. “This letter asks for a formal Government response within the next two weeks. If we can’t resolve this issue by then, we may be compelled to issue legal proceedings.”

03:46 PM

It’s not too late…

to secure a stay at one of the UK’s chicest hotels.

Cornwall may be fully booked but there are still a number of fabulous options across the country for stays throughout May and June. From seaside spots to city slickers, here are 10 top hotels to book for that first break.

03:35 PM

The scaled-back bucket list

bucket list
bucket list

In the pre-pandemic world, our team of writers could be found scouting luxurious new openings, chasing eclipses and exploring untouched islands. But, for now at least, our ‘bucket lists’ have been scaled back to indulging in more simple pleasures.

With holidays set to resume on Monday, our writers share the moments they yearn for the most, from the sandy post-beach drive to a tiny European pilsner – read the scaled-back bucket list here.

03:24 PM

Jet2 increases capacity to Portugal

Demand for holidays to green-listed Portugal continues to surge. Jet2 has announced it has increased its summer capacity to the destination this summer.

Bookings, for both flights and holidays, to Faro and Madeira increased by more than 600 per cent in the 24 hours following last Friday’s announcement. In response the airline and holiday operator has added more flights to both destinations to its schedule from the likes of Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Stansted airports and has brought forward its planned start date for flights from Bristol, to July 2, rather than late-August – this move represents over 10,000 additional seats available to holidaymakers.

Earlier today, TUI said that demand for Portugal was so strong it planned to use its bigger 787 Dreamliner planes, which it tends to use for long haul trips, on UK-to-Portugal routes to add capacity.

03:07 PM

Mapped: the red list countries

Amid all the debate over the green and amber list countries, remind yourself where you most definitely cannot go on holiday.

If you return from any of the below you will be required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine, at your own expense (£1,750), for 10 days.

See the full list here.

02:48 PM

The best long-haul holiday options for 2021

We all know which countries within a hop, skip and a jump will open to Britons from next week (yes, Iceland, you), but the details further afield are a little less clear, with the likes of Australia and New Zealand still off limits.

So, which long-haul favourites might scoop a place on the subsequent green lists, while also committing to welcoming British travellers too? We have dug into the data to highlight those most likely to be back on the cards – hopefully in time for summer.

Barbados could be an option sooner than you think - Getty
Barbados could be an option sooner than you think - Getty

From the US to Barbados, read about the full list here.

02:35 PM

'Greek islands should make green list even if mainland does not'

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis has been doing the rounds today.

He told Greek state TV he believed Greece would be added to the UK's green list at the next review in a fortnight's time.

"I am moderately optimistic that in the next review, if not our whole country, at least our islands should be on the green list," Theocharis said.

Theoharis is currently on a visit to Britain, one of the three largest markets for its vital tourism sector, meeting government officials, tour operators and airlines ahead of the official start of the tourism season on May 15.

02:10 PM

Maldives extends curfew amid spike in cases

The Maldives has banned travellers from across South Asia in a bid to contain surging Covid-19 infections despite having one of the world's most successful vaccination roll-outs.

Sri Lanka and other countries in the region have also imposed travel restrictions as they battle a new wave of the virus that has hit India and its neighbours.

The Maldives, whose economy relies on tourists visiting its pristine atolls, has suffered a more than 15-fold increase in daily infections in the past week.

The Indian Ocean nation, which halted international flights for more than three months last year, saw a record single-day rise of 1,500 cases on Tuesday - compared with less than 100 just one month ago.

"These restrictions apply to travellers originating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka," Maldives Immigration said in a statement. Anyone who has only transited through South Asia would also be included, it added.

Travellers from other countries are still permitted to travel to the Maldives with a negative coronavirus test but are not allowed to have contact with the local population.

A curfew from 9 pm to 4 am has been extended to start at 4 pm as part of measures to counter the virus.

01:52 PM

Boris Johnson: Green list review every three weeks

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the green list – which currently includes just 12 countries – will be reviewed every three weeks.

Asked in Parliament by Conservative MP Huw Merriman whether the Government will consider widening the list, to include, for example, the United States, given the success of the vaccination programme the Prime Minister said the country is still at risk of importing new variants, so must be “cautious.”

A US-UK corridor is on the cards - Getty
A US-UK corridor is on the cards - Getty

Mr Johnson also told MPs he is working to agree a travel corridor with the US.

We are on that issue with our American friends,” he said.

"But people have to recognise we are still are at risk of importing new variants into this country... and we must be cautious.

"On that basis, the green list... is going to be subject to review every three weeks."

01:36 PM

In pictures: Sales of static homes soar

A plant in Hull cannot build holiday homes quick enough, thanks to a staycation-fuelled boom in sales - Asadour Guzelian
A plant in Hull cannot build holiday homes quick enough, thanks to a staycation-fuelled boom in sales - Asadour Guzelian
The heightened demand has led to the creation of 100 new jobs - Asadour Guzelian/Asadour Guzelian
The heightened demand has led to the creation of 100 new jobs - Asadour Guzelian/Asadour Guzelian

01:13 PM

San Marino to offer tourists Russian vaccine

The tiny Republic of San Marino, landlocked inside Italy, on Wednesday announced the launch of a vaccine tourism programme, offering the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 shot to visitors from May 17.

The 24-square-mile (61-square-kilometre) enclave, with a population of 34,000, first received a batch of Sputnik in February and has so far immunized 25,000 people, officials said on a briefing on Wednesday, mostly with the Russian vaccine.

With no coronavirus patients currently in hospital, San Marino decided it was capable of launching a campaign inviting tourists to get vaccinated with Sputnik V, tourism minister Federico Pedini Amati said on the briefing.

"The vaccination tourism campaign will start on 17 May and will concern foreign, non-Italian citizens," the minister said.

Tourists wishing to come for vaccination would have to reserve hotel rooms at least one week before arrival, he said. They would also be required to have plans in place for a second trip, 21 to 28 days later, to receive their booster dose.

Two doses would cost tourists 15 euros, San Marino officials said. They also said they hoped the country would soon be able to generate vaccination certificates for residents and tourists.

San Marino is not a European Union member and Sputnik V has not yet been approved for use in the EU. The vaccine is currently under review by the bloc's regulator, the European Medicines Agency.

12:47 PM

Tour operators to run holidays to amber countries against Government advice

Tour operators will take British holidaymakers to amber list countries against Government advice, Telegraph Travel can reveal.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has warned travellers not to visit destinations on the amber list “for leisure purposes” when it introduces its traffic light system next week.

But travel companies, including Tui, easyJet holidays and British Airways Holidays, are planning to run trips to amber countries including Malta, Antigua and the Spanish Canary Islands, using the guidance of the Foreign Office (FCDO), which is separate from the DfT’s, as permission to do so. Travellers returning to the UK from amber countries must quarantine for up to 10 days at home.

Bharat Gadhoke, head of commercial at Aito, the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said the Government has failed in providing clarity to holidaymakers. “AITO questions the wisdom of having an amber traffic light at all. It’s neither one thing or the other. Basically all main holiday countries are amber at present,” he said.

A spokesperson for easyJet holidays said it recognised the discrepancy but would follow the advice of the FCDO. A spokesperson for Tui said: “We want to offer our customers flexibility and choice this summer, so where borders are open and FCDO advice allows travel, we will operate to those destinations.”

British Airways Holidays said: “Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.” ​

12:41 PM

In pictures: Mykonos prepares for return of tourist

It may have missed out on a slot on the debut green list, but Greece has decided to lift quarantine for vaccinated travellers and anyone who has tested negative for Covid from the UK, as part of its 'baby steps' back to normality.

Its popular holiday islands, including Mykonos, have begun to prepare for the return of visitors. Let’s take a look at their progress...

Workers paint a terrace floor in preparation for the reopening of bars and restaurants in the old town - Getty
Workers paint a terrace floor in preparation for the reopening of bars and restaurants in the old town - Getty
A shop owner arranges clothing for sale outside his store - Getty
A shop owner arranges clothing for sale outside his store - Getty
A worker pushes a trolley of tools - Getty
A worker pushes a trolley of tools - Getty
Workers prepare outdoor lighting on the terrace of a taverna - Getty
Workers prepare outdoor lighting on the terrace of a taverna - Getty
The empty streets are cleared ready for the return of tourists - Getty
The empty streets are cleared ready for the return of tourists - Getty

12:30 PM

Splurge or Save? Let us know your holiday plans

Foreign holidays are back on from May 17 (albeit only to a handful of destinations). Perhaps you've already booked an overseas break for this summer, or maybe you're holding out for a more extensive 'green list'.

Britons are planning to spend 20 per cent more on holidays this year, according to data from Club Med.

Will you be among those blowing the budget on your next trip abroad? Vote in our poll.

12:20 PM

Staycation ‘dismay’ in Scotland

Hotels in Scotland have been open for over two weeks now as restrictions on the UK’s hospitality industry are eased.

However, despite initial positivity about soaring demand for post-lockdown holidays on home soil, almost half of accommodation businesses in Scotland are struggling to sell a fifth of their rooms over the summer, according to a new report. Industry leaders said a predicted “staycation boom” had instead turned into a “stark picture” for the summer season, reports The Scotsman.

There is growing frustration with tough restrictions in Scotland – social distancing measures will remain in place after they are eased in England and industry bosses are concerned they will be lifted too late to help tourism businesses.

A report by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has revealed the average occupancy rate in accommodation in Edinburgh in August is just 22 per cent. In Glasgow it's 13 per cent in July and 15 per cent in August.

"Our survey uncovered what we knew was happening across the industry from anecdotal conversations – that things were nowhere near as buoyant as has been suggested and in fact, that too many businesses across all sectors within our industry are continuing to operate in crisis mode," said Marc Crothall, chief executive of the STA.

12:10 PM

In numbers: The pandemic in Spain

Things are looking increasingly positive for holidays on the Costas this summer, if Reyes Maroto’s recent comments are to come into fruition.

But how’s the pandemic looking in Spain?

Here’s a look at current case numbers:

And here’s a detailed look at how the vaccination drive is going:

12:07 PM

'Tourists can start planning their Spanish vacations now'

Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has said that the Mediterranean nation expects as many as 45 million tourist arrivals this year.

Speaking at a presentation of a campaign to entice visitors back this summer on Wednesday Maroto said: "Spain will be ready to reopen to the world very soon."

The world’s second most visited country (before the pandemic) saw visitor numbers plummet by 80 per cent last year due to restrictions on travel.

"International tourists can start planning their Spanish vacations now," said Maroto, who revealed Spain would introduce a colour-based classification for future tourist visits – similar to the UK’s own traffic light system.

This follows news that Spain plans to waive its PCR testing requirement for British visitors from May 20, if the UK's Covid-19 infection rate allows.

Find all the latest travel advice for Spain here.

12:00 PM

Lunchtime read: The quiet Scottish loch that became The Beatles’ secret hideaway

"Late on Monday night, on October 19 1964, the rain fell heavily as Britain’s most famous musicians arrived at the Four Seasons in St Fillans, fresh from their gig at the ABC Cinema in Edinburgh.

"Apparently around six hotels had been booked in the area to throw fans and the press off the scent, but it was the secluded shores of Loch Earn that hosted The Beatles for two nights where they were welcomed with steak in the dining room, before finally going to bed in the early hours of Tuesday morning," writes Janice Hopper.

She reveals the true story behind the Fab Four’s visit to Loch Earn in 1964 and why it makes for an idyllic post-lockdown escape here.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon on Loch Earn in 1964
Paul McCartney and John Lennon on Loch Earn in 1964

11:43 AM

Tui to use larger planes as demand for Portugal soars

The mailbox of a well-known hotel in the heart of Lisbon was bombarded with queries as soon as Britain announced it was including the country on its travel "green list" this summer.

Manuel Pinto, Mundial Hotel's director, is over the moon that British holidaymakers, who are essential to Portugal's tourism industry, will be able to return after a five-month travel ban, giving a much-needed boost to the struggling sector.

"I was delighted, not only on a personal level but for our country," Pinto said, standing in Mundial's rooftop bar, adding that British visitors had already booked around 4,000 room nights at the hotel this year.

Portugal was one of just 12 countries and territories to be added to Britain's "green list", allowing Britons to visit them from May 17 without needing to quarantine, but still requiring two COVID-19 tests - one before returning to the UK and one on arrival into the UK.

Travel search website Skyscanner said there was a 616% increase in bookings to Portugal last week compared to the previous one, prompting airlines to add capacity to existing routes and, in some cases, launch news ones to meet demand.

Holiday company TUI said on Wednesday that demand for Portugal was so strong it planned to use its bigger 787 Dreamliner planes, which it tends to use for long haul trips, on UK-to-Portugal routes to add capacity.

11:16 AM

When will Portugal let us in?

British holidaymakers are still awaiting news that Portugal will allow UK visitors in when the ban on overseas travel lifts next week.

Portugal will be one of the few popular holiday destinations on the UK's green list come May 17, but as it stands only residents are allowed in.

Word is expected this week that entry requirements will change but there has not yet been official confirmation.

See all the latest information here.

Cascais should open to Uk holidaymakers next week - Getty
Cascais should open to Uk holidaymakers next week - Getty

10:51 AM

Netherlands move to next phase of reopening, including overseas travel

Dutch zoos and theme parks will be allowed to reopen next week under strict conditions and bars and cafes can extend the opening hours of their outdoor terraces, if hospital and intensive care admissions continue to fall, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said.

Rutte said the country will move to the second phase of its gradual reemergence from a lockdown that has lasted months on May 19 if the numbers have declined by 20 per cent from peaks in late April.

The government also said that from May 15 it is easing its general advice not to travel to foreign countries and will allow people to travel to countries designated as safe because of their low infection rates.

It is, "Step Two with a pause button," Rutte said in a nationally televised news conference.

The second step in the government's reopening road map also means that swimming pools, gyms and other indoor sports venues can reopen, with strict conditions on visitor numbers, and sex workers can resume their work. Open-air museums and theaters will be allowed to open.

10:26 AM

The ‘green list’ holiday booking guide: Everything you need to know

From how many tests you will you need to take to protecting your booking, we answer the key questions, my colleague Emma Featherstone has the answers.

Iceland in the summer? - Ed Freeman/Stone RF
Iceland in the summer? - Ed Freeman/Stone RF

See here for the full story.

10:04 AM

Tui could extend summer season as bookings soar

Holiday company Tui Group expects a strong 2021 summer season and will operate 75% of pre-pandemic capacity, with rising levels of vaccinations set to fuel last-minute bookings, it said on Wednesday.

The pandemic has hammered Tui, the world's biggest holiday group, and while it sunk to a 1.3 billion euro ($1.6 billion)loss for the six months to the end of March, it said that the worst was behind it as European resorts start to reopen.

New bookings have doubled since April, with customers from Germany and Belgium driving demand for holidays after winter lockdowns, and the group expects UK bookings to catch up as more destinations are opened in the next few weeks.

Majorca makes for a fine later summer destination - Getty
Majorca makes for a fine later summer destination - Getty

"When the business is coming back, as it is right now, liquidity will be coming into the system," TUI Chief Executive Fritz Joussen told reporters.

"When you see the bookings coming in like now...(we) will make profits in Q4," he said referring to the busy three months to the end of September.

Extending the summer season into October and November was a possibility given the high demand for holidays, he added.

09:43 AM

Poll: Has Spain got it right on holiday testing?

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09:23 AM

easyJet confirms amber list holidays to go ahead

easyJet holidays, the tour operator arm of the airline, has told Telegraph Travel is will not run trips to countries on the red list, but will to those on the amber so long as the Foreign Office does not advise against travel.

A spokesperson said:

“We want holidays to go ahead for as many of our customers as possible this summer, and we recognise that the discrepancy between countries on the ‘amber’ list and the FCDO’s ‘all but essential travel’ warnings are confusing for holidaymakers and the industry alike.

“We’re absolutely committed to safe and enjoyable holidays so we’re constantly keeping future holidays under review and we always follow FCDO advice. We won’t operate holidays to destinations on the ‘red’ list, or anywhere the FCDO advises against all but essential travel, or where, at the point of departure, there’s a known routine quarantine requirement in destination and providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test won’t allow our customers to miss this quarantine period.

“But we recognise that many our customers do still want their holidays to go ahead, so for ‘amber’ list destinations where holidays can be enjoyed safely and legally, which do not have ‘all but essential travel’ warnings and where there is no quarantine requirement in destination, we are providing flexibility and choice so customers can make up their own mind about their holiday.

09:02 AM

The countries on the green, amber and red lists

08:42 AM

France moves closer to introduction of vaccine passports

France's parliament on Wednesday backed President Emmanuel Macron's plan to introduce a Covid "health pass", after deputies pushed back against the move arguing it was discriminatory for those not yet vaccinated.

Macron wants the pass to help speed up the lifting of coronavirus restrictions as his Covid vaccination programme gathers pace.

It will be used to travel outside France for people showing proof of coronavirus vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery from a Covid-19 infection.

The health pass, which will take a digital or paper form, is to let people attend sporting events and other large gatherings, but would not be used to enter restaurants, cinemas or stores.

It would dovetail with the "green certificate" the EU hopes to have in place next month to ease travel during the summer holidays.

"The health pass will allow us to reopen places welcoming the public, festivals and gatherings," Digital Affairs Minister Cedric O had said.

08:28 AM

The most popular destinations for British holidaymakers

As you will see by the list below of the most popular destinations for Britons in 2019 (pre-pandemic), the majority of our favourites are currently off limits, including Spain, France and Italy.

08:13 AM

Tour operators will follow Foreign Office advice even if country is on amber list, says Abta

Abta, the group that represents the UK’s travel companies, has said that tour operators will follow the country-by-country advice of the Foreign Office (FCDO) in running trips to countries on the amber list, and not the guidance of the Department for Transport.

It also pointed out that tour operators will be selling trips for future departures, when a country may well then be on the green list.

A spokesperson said:

“Tour operators will follow FCDO advice and if a country is on the amber list and if the FCDO is not advising against travel, then programmes can still go ahead, though many companies are offering flexible booking conditions and rebooking policies.

“Travel companies will also be selling to destinations currently on the amber list for future departures and with the roll out of vaccine programmes in many of our most popular overseas destinations, it is likely that many of these may move onto the green list as the weeks go by, with list reviews scheduled for every three weeks.

Insurance companies also take their lead from the FCDO when deciding whether travel insurance is invalidated rather than other sources.“

07:55 AM

Spain plans to waive PCR tests on entry

Spain plans to waive its PCR testing requirement for British visitors from May 20, if the UK's Covid-19 infection rate allows.

"[British holidaymakers] could come from May 20 onwards without a PCR if the incidence rates are below the range currently under review, which is around 50 [cases per 100,000 people]", Spain's tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Ms Reyes Maroto also said during a visit to Alicante on Monday that she thought Britons would be permitted to visit Spain for a holiday from next week.

Will Britons be able to visit Valencia without the need for a test? - Getty
Will Britons be able to visit Valencia without the need for a test? - Getty

“Spain is exercising a very active role within the European Union and campaigning for the updating of the restrictions on non-essential trips from outside the EU. The changes that are being discussed at the moment are going to mean tourists will be able to travel to Spain from the UK from May 20,” she said.

Spain is not among the 12 destinations on the UK’s quarantine-free 'green list', but could potentially move to 'green' from 'amber' when the UK Government reviews the categories in early June.

07:52 AM

Amber list restriction 'is just advice'

Airlines UK has questioned the point in the amber list if tour operators and airlines will still run trips to those destinatios.

Chief executive Tim Alderslade said:

The advice regarding leisure travel to amber countries is just that – advice. This approach by the Government was not expected, nor discussed during the Global Travel Taskforce engagement with industry, so operators are as much in the dark as passengers.Tour operators will not operate a package holiday against FCDO advice but airlines operating seat-only bookings are not affected and continue to offer flexibility for customers. We reiterate our belief that as green and amber travel is enabled under the Global Travel Taskforce process FCDO advice should align with the tiers system to avoid unnecessary confusion for passengers.

07:41 AM

How does the traffic light system work?

Here is a reminder on who the traffic light system will work when the ban on international travel lifts next week.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said last week that holidaymakers should not visit amber or red countries.

07:36 AM

How Tui intends to run holidays to amber list countries

Tui, Europe's largest operator, will still offer holidays to destinations on the amber list from next week.

It says it will not operate to countries where travellers must quarantine on arrival.

It says the following on its website:

If we know a destination or hotel is asking people to quarantine when they arrive in the country, for any length of time – and there isn’t the option to forgo this quarantine period by providing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test – or if a destination is on the red list meaning you'll need to quarantine in a hotel on your return, we simply won’t go there. If – before you depart – we know you’ll have to quarantine at home on your return home, you’ll have the option to change your holiday, as we don’t expect you to do this, but your booking won’t be cancelled.

A spokesperson told Telegraph Travel:

We want to offer our customers flexibility and choice this summer, so where borders are open and FCDO advice allows travel, we will operate to those destinations. We know some customers may be unsure about travelling this summer, so we’ve offered free changes 14 days before travel for anyone due to travel before the end of August.

07:29 AM

Good morning

Good morning. Here are some of the stories to keep an eye on today, including reaction to news that tour operators will still run trips to amber list countries.

  • Scotland to ease restrictions further from May 17

  • US eases travel advisory for UK

  • NHS app will be ready for use as holiday vaccine passport

  • Jersey to classify England, Scotland and Wales as 'green'

  • Greece to step up island vaccinations

  • Germany to open up as Covid-19 cases fall