UAE, Chile and Iceland are added to list, as majority of Greece is removed
Greece has been removed from the travel corridors list – but the islands of Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos remain.
On Thursday, the government made swathes of changes to the list despite travel abroad currently being banned in the UK.
Grant Shapps said he was adding Bahrain, Chile, Cambodia, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turks & Caicos Islands to the list. Iceland, which was removed in September, has now been re-added. If you arrive from these countries after 4am on Saturday November 14 you will not need to self-isolate.
The transport secretary also added that the the travel ban on Denmark will also be extended for a further 14 days.
It is the third month in a row when changes have been made to Greece. In September, the Greek islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos were removed from the travel corridors list. But, in early October, all of these islands, aside from Mykonos and Crete, were added. Mykonos and Crete were then added, separately, later in October.
Lisa McAuley, managing director B2B tour operations at Dnata Travel Europe, said: “The announcement of a travel corridor to the UAE is fantastic news, and opens up the opportunity for agents to make some much needed winter sun bookings.
“Our knowledge of and scale in the region is unrivalled so the team has swung in to action and will be supporting trade partners in the coming days to enable them to make the most of the opportunity that has emerged. After so many challenges this year it is wonderful to get this boost – it’ll be a ‘Dubai December’.”
An ABTA spokesperson said: “It is good that the government is continuing to review and add destinations to the travel corridor list. This at least makes some progress ready for when people are able to travel again after lockdown in England and opens up more routes for those parts of the UK where international travel is still allowed.
“But today’s announcement is also a reminder that the government needs to move to a fully regionalised approach, so that restrictions can be applied to isolated areas as opposed to whole mainlands or countries. We also can’t stress enough the urgent need for the government’s Global Travel Taskforce to have an effective testing regime ready to go for when lockdown is lifted.”
It comes as ABTA said the travel industry has had no opportunity to recover since the start of the pandemic as new figures reveal that nine in ten holidays in July and August were changed or cancelled due to restrictions.
Research found that despite the opening of travel corridors, 91 per cent of holidays were affected in this period. The lack of an opportunity to recover means that in the current trading conditions businesses expect to end the year 93 per cent down on bookings compared to this time last year.
Even before the latest lockdown, redundancies are estimated to have almost doubled over a three-month period – with 164,000 people either losing their jobs or having their jobs at risk in the travel and wider industries, up from 90,000 in August 2020.
The new findings are from a survey of ABTA Members carried out at the end of October before the latest lockdown measures were announced. They also reveal that a third of businesses (36 per cent) have not yet resumed active operations since the UK-wide national lockdown – demonstrating the constraints on the sector.
ABTA has renewed its calls to government to deliver a plan which provides tailored support for the industry and put measures in place to ensure a swift return to travel and boost consumer confidence after the lockdown has lifted.