//Countries close borders to the UK

Countries close borders to the UK

Introduction of Tier 4 restrictions see countries ban travel from the UK

The likes of Argentina, Canada, Chile and Turkey have joined a host of European Union countries in banning air travel from the UK after new Tier 4 restrictions were introduced.

Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands were among 11 European countries to close their borders – including for flights and most freight lorries, trains and ferries – over the weekend.

On Monday, the EU will hold an emergency meeting to discuss a blanket ban of travel from the UK.

It comes after many parts of South East England were put into a new Tier 4 alert level, which also means that people living in these areas are not allowed to travel abroad.

The decision has been attributed a rise in infections because of a new variant of Covid-19, which has seen the curtailing of plans for a relaxation of rules over Chrismas.

More: Sign up to our Weekly Digest newsletter
More: Keep up to date with our travel advice series

As of Saturday December 19, the following areas have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 4:

  • Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings;
  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London); and
  • the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

On Monday, Boris Johnson is set to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “The latest restrictions on UK travellers entering some foreign countries shows the ongoing uncertainty around travel and the extremely difficult operating environment for UK travel businesses. Not only do the latest developments affect people’s ability to travel but also consumer confidence to plan and book future holidays.

“The government must step in and provide tailored support for the travel sector – in recognition of the number of jobs at risk and the important role the UK travel industry will play in supporting the UK’s wider economic recovery. The Scottish government has already pledged tailored support for the travel industry, the UK government and other devolved nations must follow suit without delay. We are writing to the Prime Minister today to raise this as a matter of urgency.”

On the new Tier 4 restrictions, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “Following today’s announcement that Christmas rules will be tightened across the UK and the introduction of Tier 4, it is unclear from the rules what travel agents should be advising their customers who are due to travel.

“We’ve already seen some operators and airlines making cancellations from London airports who we understand are in  Tier 4 on the back of the Prime Minister announcing  that travel abroad will not be allowed. We don’t know if this means that all flights from London airports in Tier 4 will be cancelled or what position this leaves travellers in if their flight is still operating but they choose not to travel.”

UKinbound, a travel trade association representing more than 300 tourism businesses, has released projections that show that the collapse in international visitors could cost the UK economy up to £2.5 billion over the Christmas period.