The travel sector has given the government’s move towards a regional quarantine and travel advice regime a cautious welcome.
It comes after the government announced on Monday (7 September) quarantine-free travel to seven Greek islands would end shortly.
However, travel to Greece’s mainland and other islands can continue without quarantine, with Greece retaining its travel corridor.
From Wednesday (9 September), travellers returning from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos will have to self-isolate for 14 days, transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed.
The Foreign Office is now also advising against all but essential travel to these islands, but is not advising those already travelling in these destinations to leave.
Regional quarantine has been a key demand of the travel sector since quarantine was introduced back in June.
Many have questioned why travellers heading to the Canary Islands, for example, should have to quarantine upon their return with the islands hundreds of miles from Covid hotspots in mainland Spain.
Here’s what some of the leading figures and organisations in travel had to say about the decision.
An Abta spokesperson said: "Abta has been calling for the government to take a regionalised approach to quarantine measures and Foreign Office travel advice to provide greater certainty for businesses and consumers.
"The announcement regarding travel from specific islands to England is welcome and the industry hopes that this will in turn lead to a more targeted approach such as that adopted in Germany and the Netherlands, which would also reflect the UK’s domestic strategy of localised lockdowns.
"It also, however, highlights the requirement for a more coordinated approach from the home nations to prevent avoidable confusion.
"The travel industry has long been a powerhouse of economic growth and employment within the economy, yet it has been restricted by government measures which have slowed any recovery.
"With the right policy and regulatory support, such as a testing regime that enables travel to resume to the UK’s major global trading partners, and tailored financial support to get businesses through the crisis, the government can protect many more jobs that are otherwise at risk."
Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of the WTTC, said: "WTTC is encouraged the government is beginning to listen and has now introduced its 'island policy'.
"This move appears to show a more strategic approach and signals a change from its previous blanket country-wide approach. We look forward to seeing how this is going to be communicated to holidaymakers.
"However, this is just scratching the surface. We must abandon wholesale ineffective, destructive and costly quarantines – and replace them with rapid, cost-effective testing on departure at airports. The longer we wait, the more the ailing travel and tourism sector faces collapse.
"Airport testing on departure and a robust testing and tracing programme, could help revive international business travel, particularly on key routes, such as between London and New York, which links two of the world’s biggest financial hubs.
"Testing, in addition measures such social distancing, mask wearing, hand sanitisation, enforced by the airlines, airports and other stakeholders, can reduce risk to a minimum while travelling.
"Unfortunately, the UK has seen community transmission continue to rise, where confusion and lack of enforcement reign about social distancing measures and the wearing of face masks.
"We cannot afford to wait any longer. WTTC has revealed this year a staggering £22 billion looks set to be lost from the UK economy due to the disappearance of international travel.
"Public health should remain the priority, however the UK government must shift its focus to implement a robust testing scheme at airports to tackle the issue head on to restore confidence to travel, bring stability back to the sector, revive the UK’s flagging economy and save millions of jobs."
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: "The news that the government will implement a regionalised quarantine approach to islands is certainly a step in the right direction for the travel industry.
"However, after a brutal five months, our industry is on its knees and the fact that the Canary Islands and the Balearics will not be added on to the safe travel list, and a number of Greek islands will require quarantine as of Wednesday, further deepens the sense of confusion around travelling anywhere overseas and damages consumer confidence.
"If we are to have a hope of salvaging the rest of 2020, we must secure the government’s support on testing at ports of entry.
"Testing on arrival and then again five days later would help to reduce the length of quarantine which is causing so much anxiety for consumers and ultimately cancellations of bookings and loss of revenue for travel agents.
"We are currently looking down the barrel of 39,000 jobs lost or at risk and that is before the majority of businesses have entered redundancy consultation.
"Trial runs have been done, airports like London Heathrow are ready to roll out testing on arrival and we urgently need government support now.
"Testing combined with regionalised quarantine is the only right and reasonable approach. British jobs depend on the government to act swiftly and consider the grave economic impact if the issue of testing is delayed further."
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association, said: "A granular approach to travel corridors is something which we have been seeking since the end of lockdown as one measure to help to save the travel industry.
"However, there needs to be a joined-up, four nations approach to which islands and regions are removed from the quarantine requirement and when. The current disparity between the nations just causes, at best, utter confusion for travellers. Adding layers upon layers of complexity with all UK nations having different layers at different times is not helpful.
"The figures from some of the Spanish islands, such as the Canaries, show low rates of infection and we are once again appealing to the UK and Scottish government to add at least the Spanish Canary islands back to the 'safe list'.
"Winter holidays to the islands could be an important lifeline for the travel sector if the governments can act swiftly and in tandem in placing these islands on the 'safe list'.
"The confused messaging from the government is making for an exceptionally difficult trading environment, and the very real risk of the demise of the Scottish travel sector along with the inherent damage to the economy, which this would undoubtedly cause."
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: "This is a step in the right direction which in time could help open up more markets for international travel and further choice and clarity for passengers.
"That said, a comprehensive testing regime is urgently required to enable connectivity to and from countries like the US, one of our most vital trading and strategic partners.
"The transport secretary has intimated that good progress is being made but it’s critical this is signed off by government and implemented by the end of this month, and as carriers we will work with him on delivering the right solutions.
"As airlines enter what will be an incredibly tough winter period further economic support for the industry, such as an APD waiver, must be considered in addition to these improved travel guidelines."
Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA at Intrepid Travel, said: "The UK government's confusing and haphazard approach to quarantine restrictions have caused huge uncertainty for the travel industry.
"We saw an uplift in trading when the safe list was introduced, but this has been hampered by the constantly changing quarantine rules, with customers often forced to change their plans at the last minute.
"Our customers tell us they want to travel overseas but feel frustrated by the lack of clarity. Airport testing should be brought in to allow the quarantine period to be reduced, while also keeping people safe."