Which countries will open to Brits this summer, and when?
13 Apr 2021by James Chapple
The long and painful wait for a much-needed holiday is – hopefully – almost over, with many destinations already well advanced in their plans to reopen to selected markets this summer.
While outbound leisure travel from the UK remains banned, the report of the government’s Global Travel Taskforce – which was tasked with establishing how international travel can be restarted "safely and robustly" – has given hope of travel resuming this summer.
Although the taskforce’s recommendations are yet to come into effect, they lay out a framework for international travel to resume over the coming months under a traffic light system – with some travel potentially being permitted from 17 May, the "at the very earliest" date set by the government.
A number of destinations have already indicated they will be ready to welcome British visitors this summer, albeit with a number of variables still yet to be determined – chiefly, the course of the third wave of Covid infection currently spreading across mainland Europe.
Other factors will include testing and quarantine rules, any vaccination certificate requirements, the scope of the EU’s digital green pass travel certification scheme, the progress of other countries’ vaccination programmes, and various other Covid provisions and mitigations to ensure travel is as safe as it can be.
So what have destinations said so far? What are their plans for the summer? What conditions are they placing on arrivals? And when might British holidaymakers be able to get away to warmer, sunnier climes? Here are the key developments so far.
Note: This guide will be updated periodically. It was last updated at 2.00pm on Tuesday 13 April (addition of Israel).
- When? Now, subject to conditions.
- Says who? Croatia's national tourist office
- Conditions: Arrivals must provide proof of an accommodation booking, and evidence of their negative Covid status. This can be satisfied by a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test result for Covid-19 or negative rapid antigen test result, or a doctor's note confirming recovery from Covid-19 in the past 180 days. Recovery can also be evidenced via tests. Croatia's national tourist office in London said these rules, for non-EU arrivals, would apply to Brits when the UK government lifts restrictions on overseas leisure travel.
- When? Now, subject to conditions.
- Says who? The country's ministry of tourism.
- Conditions: There will be no quarantine requirement for arrivals from 1 April, so long as they test negative for Covid-19 prior to travel. Children under the age of 12 will be exempt from the testing requirement. From 1 May, arrivals who can provide evidence of having received full dosage of a recognised Covid-19 vaccine will not be required to test negative for Covid-19 prior to travel or quarantine on arrival.
- When? 14 May.
- Says who? The country's tourism minister Haris Theoharis.
- Conditions: Theoharis told ITB Berlin 14 May was an "aspirational" date and would yet be subject to rates of Covid infection in Greece. He said the country's tourism sector would reopen on the basis of vaccine certification, proof of recent recovery from Covid-19/immunisation, and testing. Theoharis has also said there will be no quarantine requirement for arrivals so long as they fulfil one of the above Covid mitigations.
- When? 23 May.
- Says who? The Israel Government Tourist Office.
- Conditions: Visitors must be vaccinated against Covid-19. They will have to return a negative PCR test result for Covid-19 before flying to Israel. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, travellers will also have to undergo a serological test to confirm their Covid-19 vaccination status. The country is in talks with various source markets to agree vaccination certificate validation to remove the necessity for the serological test.
- When? 1 June.
- Says who? The Malta Tourism Authority.
- Conditions: Malta will initially reopen to fully vaccinated guests. Travellers will need to show their vaccination card before boarding a flight to the island, which must evidence them having had full dosage of a known Covid-19 vaccine at least 10 days prior to arrival. Vaccinated travellers will not have to provide any kind of negative Covid-19 test certification in advance of travel to Malta.
- When? 17 May.
- Says who? The country's tourism secretary Rita Marques.
- Conditions: Marques told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 18 March that Portugal would reopen to Brits through a combination of vaccination and immunisation certification, and testing. She said the country would welcome arrivals according to the conditions laid down by the EU's digital green pass, and that it would be a "straightforward and simple process". "British holidaymakers can present to the Portuguese authorities a certificate that advises they are vaccinated or that they have immunisation to the virus, or that they have a negative test," said Marques. Portugal was removed from the UK government's Covid "red list" on 19 March.
- When? This summer.
- Says who? Spain’s tourism secretary Fernando Valdes
- Conditions: Britain’s favourite destination has said it will consider a bilateral deal with the UK government to allow tourists to return this summer. This solution could include travel corridors between the two countries to enable tourism to resume. Key destination Majorca is also "hopeful" a corridor with the UK can be opened in time for the peak summer period. The government in Madrid will have to decide whether a negative PCR test would be needed for entry. While some kind of Covid-19 vaccine pass or certificate is unlikely to be mandatory for visitors, it will likely speed up the entry process for holidaymakers at the border.
- When? This summer.
- Says who? Turkey’s minister of culture and tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
- Conditions: Turkey has said it will reopen to British tourists this summer with no vaccination requirement. Those employed in the country's tourism economy will be prioritised for vaccination. Ersoy said Turkey would also review its case numbers from 15 April to determine whether it will continue to require British arrivals to provide evidence of a negative pre-travel test result of Covid-19, although he said such a requirement would be unlikely owing to the UK's vaccination programme.