UK could split on approach to foreign holiday restart

edinburgh airport - Getty

edinburgh airport – Getty

British holidaymakers may face different rules when travelling overseas, with Scotland set to take a slightly different approach to the resumption of foreign holidays.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce the further lifting of lockdown restrictions today, with rules on holidays abroad to be eased from May 24, The Telegraph understands.

The change should permit those in Scotland to travel to some overseas destinations without needing to self-isolate on their return. As it stands, all arrivals to Scottish airports are subject to a stay in a quarantine hotel.

Britons travelling from England will see holidays restart under the traffic light system from May 17, so the later date for Scotland will see the two nations diverge. Wales and Northern Ireland are still to confirm whether they will follow the approach of the UK Government. Scotland is also set to classify countries as green, amber and red, but will review these categories every four weeks, whereas the UK Government review will take place every three weeks.

Joss Croft, the chief executive of UKinbound, the trade body that represents inbound tourism businesses, told Telegraph Travel: “A four nations approach to the re-opening of international travel is absolutely critical to the recovery of the UK’s inbound industry, worth £2.54 billion in exports to Scotland annually. A united approach will ultimately help businesses, secure jobs and speed up our economic recovery.”

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

08:00 AM

What the lockdown rule changes mean for spas reopening

Spas in England can reopen fully from May 17, after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed that step three of the roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned.

They were able to reopen partially from April 12, but without saunas and steam rooms, and hotels have not been able to open to leisure guests for overnight stays; this will change from May 17.

Charlotte Johnstone explains what you can look forward to.

07:52 AM

Hancock: Govt taking ‘cautious approach’ to easing travel rules

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the Government is taking a “cautious approach” to easing travel restrictions to ensure the progress in combating coronavirus was not jeopardised by new variants from overseas.

Mr Hancock told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We have some degree of confidence that the vaccine works effectively against the so-called Indian variant, and then against the South African variant we are a little bit more worried, but we don’t have full data on those yet.

“These are reasons to take a cautious approach at the borders in order to protect the progress that we have made at home.

“People would be loath to see us put that at risk by going too fast at the borders. But on the other hand we are seeing countries get this virus under control in the same way we appear to be able to get it under control.”

07:47 AM

NHS app will be ready for use as holiday vaccine passport

There are reports this morning on confirmation that the NHS app will be ready to be used as a digital vaccine passport (for those who have received both jabs) in time for passengers to go on their summer holidays from May 17.

However, this was first confirmed by Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, on May 7.

Here’s our guide to the digital vaccine passports and what they mean for your holiday.

07:38 AM

May 17 reopening: everything you need to know about hotel stays

Hotels in England can reopen fully to leisure guests on May 17, after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed that step three of the roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned.

Some hotel facilities such as outdoor dining and certain spa amenities were able to reopen from April 12, but overnight stays will now be possible as hospitality is able to reopen indoors.

Britons returning to the UK from ‘red-list’ countries (including Turkey and the Maldives, from May 12) must continue to pay for hotel quarantine in a bid to prevent new Covid variants reaching this country, though travel to ‘green-list’ destinations such as Portugal and Iceland will also be possible from May 17.

Here we look at look at the key questions on the reopening of hotels.

07:27 AM

US eases travel advisory for UK

The US State Department said on Monday it has eased travel advisory ratings for the UK and Israel after raising both countries to its highest warning level last month.

The State Department lowered the UK to a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” rating and lowered Israel to “Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution.” It was the second reduction in Israel’s rating in recent weeks.

Last month, the State Department boosted the ratings of about 120 countries to “Level 4: Do Not Travel” to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ratings. About 150 of 209 destinations rated by the State Department are listed at Level 4.

A coalition of US and European travel, airline, union, business and airport groups called in a letter last week for a full reopening of the US-UK air travel market “as soon as safely possible.”

Read out guide to travel to the US.

07:16 AM

Heathrow passenger numbers down 92pc

Heathrow airport lost nearly 6.3 million passengers in April compared with the same month in 2019.

Just 536,000 people travelled through the London airport last month, a 92 per cent reduction on the total for April 2019.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow said: “The Government’s green list is very welcome but the
y need to expand it massively in the next few weeks to include other low-risk markets such as the United States, and remove the need for fully-vaccinated passengers to take two expensive PCR tests.

“Border Force’s claims that ‘long queues in immigration are inevitable’ smack of complacency. They are completely avoidable if ministers ensure that all desks are staffed at peak times.”

07:13 AM

The destinations set to be added to the travel ‘green list’

The British Virgin Islands and a clutch of Caribbean countries are among a limited number of destinations likely be added to the “green list” for holidays, The Telegraph understands.

Hopes of a major expansion including popular destinations in France, Spain, Greece or Italy are, however, likely to be dashed when the Government reviews its current list for quarantine-free travel in three weeks.

It means any big summer holiday getaway to the continent for Britons is likely to be delayed until July or even August.

The nations that could be added next month are the “near misses” for Friday’s list, which was restricted to 12 countries and territories of which only Portugal, Israel, Iceland and Gibraltar could be described as holiday destinations. Most of the others were remote islands or shut to tourists.

Read the full story.

07:05 AM

What happened yesterday?

A recap of Monday’s stories:

  • Travel traffic light list to be reviewed in June

  • Hotels and b&bs in England to reopen on May 17

  • Wizz Air resumes flights to green list destinations

  • Portugal to assess tourism reopening on May 13

  • Algarve tourism boss: ‘There is plenty of availability for this summer’

  • Free lateral flow tests may not be approved for departing green list holidaymakers

Now onto today’s travel news.