Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Réunion have become the latest countries removed from the quarantine safe list.
As a result, travellers arriving in England from 04:00 tomorrow morning will be expected to self-isolate for 14-days.
Portugal was only added to the safe list three weeks ago, causing further confusion among holidaymakers and anger in the hospitality trade.
However, using the new ‘islands policy ,’ implemented by the government earlier this month, Madeira and the Azores have avoided being added to the quarantine list.
At the same time, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to mainland Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Réunion.
However, the body is no longer advising against non-essential travel to Sweden.
People currently in the countries impacted are encouraged to follow the local rules and check the FCDO travel advice for further information.
Commenting on the decision, an ABTA spokesperson said: “Every country, mainland or island that is taken off the travel lists lessens the ability of travel businesses to operate and increases the necessity for the government to provide tailored industry support.
“There are travel agents and tour operators based in every region of the UK that are viable businesses, which are unable to trade because of the measures to control the pandemic, and tens of thousands of livelihoods are at risk until we are able to move beyond widespread travel restrictions.”
Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said the move would add further confusion to an already challenging situation.
“Taking Portugal and Hungary off the exception list has left families and in a race against time to find flights and get home to avoid going into 14-days of isolation or cancel their already made plans.
“This depressingly familiar situation is a major body blow to consumer confidence to travel,” she explained.
“For, while Madeira and the Azores will be excluded from the quarantine list under the new ‘island policy,” it will come as little comfort to the vast majority of holidaymakers, and the embattled tourism sector, which has seen the 2020 summer holiday season effectively crushed.
“All of this chaos could be avoided if only the government took decisive action to ditch damaging and disruptive quarantines in favour of a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective airport test and trace programme.
“Until then, the disruption will continue, and the economic recovery will become ever harder to restart.”
Image: Marc Vorwerk/SULUPRESS.DE/DPA/PA Images
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