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Travel UK news – live: Seven countries go green, France sheds ‘amber plus’ status and four countries go red

Seven more countries have been added to the UK government’s green travel list.

From 4am on Sunday, anyone returning from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.

There are now 36 countries on the green list – but 16 of them, including Caribbean islands, Croatia, Malta, Israel and Taiwan are on the “green watchlist”, meaning they could be suddenly be moved to amber.

Australia and New Zealand are both green – but neither are currently welcoming British travellers.

France has also lost its confusing “amber plus” status, which had meant that all travellers and not just those who are not fully vaccinated had to self-isolate for 10 days upon return. It was the only country in that category.

India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been downgraded from the red to the amber list, meaning arrivals will no longer have to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel.

Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte are joining the red list.

The government has also hiked the price of hotel quarantine required on return from a red list country. It will be increased from £1,750 to £2,285 from 12 August. The charge for an adult sharing a room will increase from £650 to £1,430.

Despite prior speculation, Spain will remain on the amber list, enabling travellers who are fully vaccinated to continue to enjoy a quarantine-free return. There were fears in the travel industry that Spain could be added to the red list.

PM Boris Johnson said earlier this week that he wanted to keep a “simple”, “user-friendly” system for foreign travel.

Plans for an “amber watchlist” have been dropped along with the “amber plus” category, but the “green watchlist” still remains.

Follow the latest travel news below:

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‘Travel remains in a government armlock,’ says commentator

The government has been accused of having the travel industry in an “armlock”, following the moving around of some countries in its “traffic-light” system.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said that more countries should have been put on the green list.

“Travel remains in a government armlock.”

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 23:08
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Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 22:49
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India and some Middle Eastern countries join amber list

India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been downgraded from the red to the amber list, meaning arrivals from these countries will no longer have to fork out an eye-watering £2,285 to stay at a quarantine hotel.

But amber list arrivals still have to quarantine at home and undertake tests on the second and eighth day of isolation.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 22:28
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Mexico, Georgia, and two French overseas territories on red list

Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte are joining the red list.

The government has also hiked the price of hotel quarantine required on return from a red list country, from £1,750 to £2,285 from 12 August. The charge for an adult sharing a room will increase from £650 to £1,430.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 22:25
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France no longer in the ‘amber plus’ category

France has shed its confusing “amber plus” status.

The category meant that travellers returning to the UK from France had to self-isolate and undertake tests, regardless of their vaccination status against the Covid virus.

France was the only country in that category, and the UK government said it was over concerns of the virus’ Beta variant in the country.

But France hit back saying that the UK’s decision was “politically motivated”, adding that the variant was only prevalent in the French overseas territory of La Reunion, which is located between Madagascar and Mauritius.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 22:21
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Seven countries added to UK travel ‘green list’

Seven countries will be added to England’s travel “green list” from 4am on Sunday.

There are currently 24 countries on the green list, including the Barbados, Croatia and Malta – but 16 of these countries are on the “green watch list” meaning they could be suddenly be moved to amber.

Although Australia and New Zealand are on the green list, neither are welcoming British travellers at the moment.

Anyone returning from a green list country need only have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travel, fill in a passenger locator form and take a test on day two after arrival.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 21:59
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Doubts cast over bookings for new UK-France ferry

A new £100 million ferry has completed its maiden voyage between Calais and Dover.

The Côte d’Opale vessel, owned by ferry and logistics company DFDS, has capacity for 1,000 passengers.

The company believes its new ship, which replaces the Calais Seaways vessel, could capitalise on the return of duty free shopping as its 1,100 square metre retail space is the largest on the English channel.

Duty-free shopping ended in 1999 for passengers travelling between two EU countries. From 1 January 2021, after Brexit, duty-free shopping returned on journeys to and from the UK and mainland Europe.

But there are doubts over whether many people will be booking tickets for the ferry’s journeys during the summer.

Chris Parker, DFDS’s Director of Capacity and Performance, told ITV that people visiting their website “haven’t necessarily been booking or when they are booking they are it’s for the next few days.”

France is currently on the “amber-plus” list, meaning that travellers arriving in the UK from France need to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their Covid vaccination status.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 21:08
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Which? releases ‘red list’ of package holiday firms over refund concerns

A watchdog has released a “red list” of 20 package holiday providers that it has advised people against booking with.

Which? has issued the advice based on the companies’ “shortcomings” in fulfilling refund promises after travellers’ plans are disrupted by Covid.

The watchdog’s “traffic light” system of rating more than 70 companies is based on the UK government’s green, amber, and red listing of countries for international travel during the pandemic.

Those that did not provide clear information on their booking policies were also rated as red for a lack of transparency.

The list includes major operators Lastminute.com, On The Beach, Love Holidays and Teletext.

Companies that committed to offering refunds in most scenarios put to them by Which? included British Airways Holidays, First Choice, Hays Travel, Jet2 Holidays, Trailfinders and Tui.

Only three providers – Exodus, Explore and Discover Egypt – have guaranteed customers refunds in scenarios such as the event of someone having to self-isolate at a time they are meant to travel.

The Which? Holiday Checker Tool can be found here.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 20:45
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Petrol prices reach eight-year-high amid oil shortage

The cost of petrol is at an eight-year high after nine successive months of price hikes, latest RAC figures show.

Prices are only set to increase further as demand for oil outstrips supply during the pandemic, the motoring organisation has warned.

Costs of staycations – which have become a popular option for UK holidaymakers who cannot travel abroad during the pandemic – will also increase due to the petrol price hike.

The rise in prices saw 3.4p and 2.7p added to a litre of petrol and diesel respectively in July.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Right now it’s hard to see what it will take for prices to start falling again.”

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 20:15
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Holiday parks merge as staycation sector booms

Two holiday park firms have agreed to merge in order to meet “unprecedented” demand for staycations.

Away Resorts is set to buy rival Aria Resorts in a deal that would create a £600 million operator.

Staycations have become popular as pandemic travel restrictions continue to frustrate plans for overseas travel.

Both companies agreed that they have seen “unprecedented” demand in 2021 for domestic holidays.

Away Resorts said it saw a 41 per cent rise in annual bookings.

As many as 750,000 people stay in resorts hosted by the newly-merged group, across more than 20 holiday park resorts and a luxury hotel.

Other operators, including Park Holidays and Park Leisure, are also expected to put themselves up for sale in the coming months, according to Sky News.

Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 19:45