Consumers keen to get their long-anticipated summer holidays booked in should wait a little longer for the full categorisation of countries under the government’s new traffic light system.
That was the message from aviation and maritime minister Robert Courts when pressed on his advice during an appearance before the government’s transport committee on Wednesday (14 April).
East Devon MP, Simon Jupp, asked Courts directly for his advice to consumers about booking an overseas holiday this summer, with the government hoping to restore some international travel from 17 May following publication last week of the Global Travel Taskforce’s report on how this can be achieved safely.
A key aspect of the taskforce’s recommendations is a traffic light system, which will grade countries on the basis of four key Covid risk factors; their categorisation under the system will then determine what testing and quarantine rules those returning to the UK from individual destinations will be subject to.
"Many people will want to holiday abroad this year, following the publication of the GTT report – what is your advice to them about booking an overseas holiday this summer?" Jupp asked Courts.
The minister said he was "absolutely passionate" about the travel industry, and wanted to see people "moving around and going away as quickly as we safely can do".
"Now that we’ve published this framework, we’re now in the position where we can say for the first time... people should be looking to book," said Courts.
"I would advise people, certainly for now, to wait until they know which category each country falls into, because of course there is still that risk of disappointment."