Trade are taking bookings for amber destinations, such as the Canary Islands
Some travel agents are continuing to take bookings to amber list countries, including the Canary Islands and some Greek islands, in spite of government ministers saying that Britons should not holiday there.
Paul Waters, director at Premier Travel, said: “It’s down to the client if they want to travel. We’ll provide them with all the information – potential restrictions and testing requirements – and ensure they have a good, valid insurance policy.”
The Advantage Travel Partnership has provided its members with a ‘traffic light toolkit’ to enable them to provide accurate guidance to clients who want to book trips to amber destinations.
Leisure director Kelly Cookes said: “We are seeing bookings for amber destinations for later in the summer.”
“Customers are finding it hard to understand what they can and can’t do. There is frustration from those that have moved their holidays multiple times and definitely a lack of understanding on why they can’t get a full refund if they don’t want to travel.”
Cosmos and Avalon Waterways UK are still operating holidays to amber list countries.
In an open letter, Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos and Avalon wrote: “Our intention is to use UK government advice regarding green and amber destinations to inform our decision-making, recognising that this advice is scheduled to change every three weeks.”
He added: “Our intention will be to operate our tours and cruises, where operationally viable, to destinations on the green and amber lists which are accepting international visitors.”
The government’s contradictory guidance about whether Britons can holiday in the 170 or so countries on the amber list, including popular sunspots France, Spain, Italy and Malta, has come under fire from travel chiefs.
Last week, Boris Johnson told MPs that people should not be going to an amber list destination on holiday and should only visit for “some extreme circumstance such as the serious illness of a family member”.
Advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has caused further confusion.
For Greece, it “advises against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete”, and for Spain it “advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands”.
An ABTA spokesperson said: “It doesn’t make sense for the government to tell people they shouldn’t travel to amber destinations when the government itself has put a plan in place that allows them to do this in a risk managed way, with mitigations such as testing and quarantine. The recent comments and mixed messages from ministers undermine the government’s own system for international travel and further erode consumer confidence.
“While we understand that public health is the priority, the government has moved the goalposts on the return to international travel. In April it laid out a sensible plan to enable people to travel overseas, with a traffic light system of measures and mitigations to help prevent the reimportation of the virus on the return home. This is supported by the Foreign Office advice which manages the risk to people in destination. International travel is now legal again and the traffic light system needs to be allowed to work as originally intended.”
Last week, EU ambassadors supported plans to allow people who have been fully vaccinated to visit countries in the bloc without restrictions.