UK holidaymakers have faced 50 changes in the rules for international travel since the first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020.
Research from the Press Association revealed the scale of changes that travellers have faced in England since the coronavirus crisis started last year.
The number of changes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also been at a similar level as the three devolved administrations have largely followed the same rules as England for international travel.
The PA study found that the UK government’s list of quarantine-free travel corridors changed nearly every week from July 2020 to January 2021, with the changes usually communicated through transport secretary Grant Shapps’ Twitter account.
Since reopening international travel in May 2021, the government has tried to provide “more certainty” by reviewing the traffic light destination lists every three weeks.
But there have also been high-profile unscheduled changes to the status of key destinations, particularly Portugal (from green to amber) and France (from amber to amber plus), causing more disruption to travel plans in recent months as UK travellers rushed home early to avoid being caught out by quarantine restrictions.
The travel industry has criticised these unscheduled moves for “undermining” public confidence in the traffic light system, particularly when it emerged that France’s move to a short-lived “amber plus” category was mainly due to the number of Covid cases on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
But Shapps and other ministers have insisted that they have had to “act quickly” in some cases, particularly when there has been data about variants “of concern”.