Abta and Airlines UK have called on the Foreign Office (FCDO) to reintroduce its “islands policy” for travel advice that was used last summer.
FCDO issued different advice for islands within destinations, such as Greece and Spain, last year rather than just blanket advice covering an entire country.
Abta and Airlines UK have written to FCDO minister Nigel Adams stressing that it is “critically important” to reinstate the islands advice for this summer.
They highlighted the difference in Covid-19 infection rates often seen between islands and their mainlands in some countries. For example, this led to the FCDO advice against non-essential travel being lifted to the Canary islands while remaining in place for mainland Spain at times last year.
The travel bodies also want to see a regional approach to FCDO advice for countries with “large land mass”, as well as “co-ordination” between travel advice and the traffic light system, which is managed by the Department for Transport (DFT) and is due to be updated on Friday by transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “Reintroducing the islands policy and adopting a regional approach to travel advice for large countries, which is informed by the health data around infection and vaccination rates, is a risk-based and pragmatic way of opening up international travel.
“It would help to enable the safe return of travel to more destinations while continuing to manage the risk to individuals.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, urged more “clarity” on the use of FCDO advice when international resumes.
“That advice needs to be used for its intended purpose, to assess the risk to individuals travelling to a particular destination, and it should also be consistent and co-ordinated with the traffic light system – providing clarity for the industry and travellers,” he added.