Abta has launched an “FCO exempt countries” guide and customer information leaflet for members and their customers.
As the landscape regarding country access and restrictions looks set to remain complex for the immediate future, Abta has introduced two new resources to help members and their customers understand the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office (FCO) and guide them through what to expect from their holidays.
The FCO exempt countries guide illustrates the various mandatory Covid-19 entry requirements, health checks, and quarantine rules for the countries that are exempt from the FCO’s global advisory against all but essential travel.
It details the countries in alphabetical order, uses six different icons to illustrate the mandatory destination entry restrictions and sets out whether travellers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempt from quarantine on their return to the UK.
The six icons indicate whether British nationals are currently permitted to enter that country, whether a negative Covid-19 test is required on entry, what quarantine rules and booking information are required on arrival, any transit rules regarding connecting flights, and other restrictions to consider such the rules regarding face coverings and closed borders between neighbouring countries.
Developed by Abta’s destinations team, the FCO exempt countries guide will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the mandatory Covid-19 related changes to the travel advice, with new countries added or removed as per the latest advice from the FCO.
However “given the fluid nature of the situation” Abta continues to advise its members to refer to the FCO travel advice, destination and UK border control requirements as their primary source of current and specific travel advice and update their customers accordingly.
The guide is complemented by a new customer information leaflet entitled “Get ready for travel: customer tips and information for going on holiday or travelling abroad” which provides tips and considerations for anyone who is preparing to travel overseas for either business or leisure, from the research stage through to their return to the UK.
Hosted on the consumer advice page on Abta’s website, the leaflet includes the importance of reading the FCO’s travel advice pages for their intended destination for the latest Covid-19 related requirements, as well as taking out comprehensive travel insurance and checking that their passport will be valid for their travel dates.
Other new considerations include packing a sufficient supply of face coverings and hand sanitiser for the trip, researching any changes to check-in procedures, meal services onboard flights or new measures in the airport terminal, as well as being aware of local policies regarding social distancing or face coverings once on holiday.
For their return to the UK, holidaymakers are advised that they will need to complete a Public Health passenger locator form and have an electronic or paper copy on them ready for inspection.
Members are encouraged to share the leaflet with their customers, which is available as a printable A5 leaflet or as a PDF that has been optimised to view on a mobile phone and can be embedded into eTickets.
Angela Hills, Abta’s head of destinations, said: “In these unique circumstances, it’s important that we continue to support our members with the required resources to guide them and their customers through the changing travel experience.
“The varying rules, regulations and restrictions for overseas destinations can seem quite complicated, and we hope that these new tools will help our Members to answer questions from customers so they can book with confidence and look forward to their holidays.”
The FCO exempt countries guide is a free resource for all Abta members and is hosted in the Member Zone. The new customer information leaflet is available for Abta members to share with their customers.