Travel traffic lights and the possibility of some sun: Your questions answered by Henbury Travel

  Posted: 06.04.21 at 16:45 by Richard Slater

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It's been a busy weekend in the media for travel, and you may have seen our local travel expert Richard Slater on BBC Breakfast & BBC News.

We were hoping that Boris Johnson would give a little more detail on the re-opening of overseas travel yesterday, but no news is good news, and his next update will be Monday 12th.

Richard Slater, Managing Director of Henbury Travel & North West Chair of ABTA explains.

Here’s what we do know and we’ll try to put a balanced opinion the subject, but as we all know from the last 12 months things can change.

Here's some answers to the questions you may have.

1) No travel will take place until 17th May at the earliest. Whilst it would be great to go on holiday in May, we’ve been of the opinion that this date may not be feasible.

2) The government will be introducing a traffic light system in order to get travel going again.

Red will be for known problem areas where high cases and variants are a problem, for instance China, Brazil, South Africa. A red zone will mean travel is banned, but anyone coming in from these countries will be quarantined in a UK airport hotel.

Green will be for countries that have a certain percentage of their population vaccinated and their cumulative infection rates over a set period are going in the right direction. Quarantine will NOT apply to these countries.

Amber will be for countries in between and would consist of quarantine at home, with an optional PCR test to cut short the period of isolation.

Therefore as long as you book a green destination then you’ll be free and more importantly safe to travel, your travel agent will have all the latest information and will guide you through this process.

Where is green?

Currently nowhere, however what we envisage is that once countries increase the percentage of vaccination, they will go on the green list. What we can learn from ourselves in the UK and say Israel is that once vaccinations increase, cases and deaths rates reduce consistently, the threat of repeating last years quarantine fiasco will be much less.

When do you think countries will become green destinations?

Whilst we are way ahead of other countries, they have started vaccinating. If you look at where the UK was 3 months ago, by early July we should be seeing many countries in the green zone. However, that’s not to say May & June holidays won’t depart.

Certainly for the later part of 2021, from September onwards we are seeing strong demand for bookings, and since Christmas over 50% of bookings made through travel agencies are new customers who previously booked online or bought their holiday elements separately.

Will testing still be required?

We think so but we’ve no definite information yet, but The Prime Minister has hinted at allowing travel to resume using cheaper, more readily available testing options.

Which countries do we think will be the first to be green?

Again this can change but we expect Malta, The UAE, The Maldives and potentially The USA.

In terms of Europe we think islands will be the safest as they’ll have a larger percentage of their population vaccinated.

Can I book a holiday?

Yes, despite many Ministers saying don't book a holiday, it is not illegal, and many are taking advantage of booking early, and as mentioned above boking through an independent travel agent is on trend.

What if my holiday is cancelled?

Simple, if you have booked a proper package (flights, accommodation and transfers together through an ABTA member, you'll get a refund or the opportunity to rebook. ABTA members follow the package travel regulations 2018.

As always we are here to answer any questions or concerns, but things are certainly starting to look more positive.

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