The government’s “confusing” list of countries exempt from quarantine has placed “a lot of extra weight on agent shoulders”, according to Deben Travel boss Lee Hunt.
Hunt said the way in which the Department for Transport published its selection of "air corridors” on Friday (3 July), alongside a relaxing of travel restrictions to other destinations by the Foreign Office, had offered “a little bit of clarity” but admitted he was “still certainly cautious” about sending clients overseas.
He said he stood by his decision last week not to book clients on holidays departing in July and August.
“It was a huge frustration the announcement was pushed back until Friday… [and] digging into it a little more this week, we’re finding out it may not be as straightforward as we thought it would be,” Hunt told TTG’s One Week At A Time series on Monday (6 July).
“The list baffles me a bit. I pictured someone in the Foreign Office throwing darts at a board - it’s total confusion. Travel agents are used to dealing with that but it’s very confusing for the travelling public,” he said, querying why the government’s proposed traffic light system had been dropped.
“Ask countries: can British citizens enter without any quarantine? If the answer is no, they go on the red list – if it’s yes – they go on the green list. That would be so much more straightforward."
“As it stands we’ve got what looks like a lengthy list [of countries] but customers can’t actually go to that many as there are restrictions on arrival.”
Hunt said he was also concerned agents could be left picking up the pieces should clients accidentally be booked to a country with hitherto unknown entry restrictions.
“If we book someone to a destination, not realising quarantine or additional checks are required, and the customer gets sent back home – whose expense is that at?
“Are they [the customer] going to be knocking on our door the day after arriving back complaining or wanting a refund? It puts a lot of extra weight on our shoulders as agents.”