Travel: Experts slam taskforce report on summer holidays
Turkey saw 2.5 million Britons visit in 2019 and has over the years become one of the most popular tourist destinations. With the pandemic preventing travel, many are itching to head abroad and soak up the sunshine – but just how likely will it be for Brits to visit Turkey this year?
International travel has been subject to intense restrictions since the outbreak of coronavirus more than a year ago, with Britons foregoing summer holidays.
With restrictions easing under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap, many may be wondering when they can book that long-awaited trip abroad.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is reviewing countries and placing them in a traffic light system based on a series of criteria.
Green listed countries will be free to visit, however, Covid testing may need to be done before and after your trip, anyone visiting amber countries will need to isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK, and red countries will face strict restrictions on travel.
Turkey holidays: Is TUI taking bookings? Is Turkey on the red list?
The criteria the Government is examining to determine which countries are in which category are:
- Vaccination rates
- COVID-19 prevalence
- Extent of variants
- Capacity for genome sequencing of the virus
However economic and political factors are also likely to be in play when the Government categorises countries.
So what does this mean for those wanting to visit Turkey?
Turkey holidays: The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is reviewing countries and placing them in a traffic light system
Is Turkey on the red list?
At the time of writing, only a few high-risk countries have been classified under the Government’s new travel scheme.
One of these is India, which has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks – resulting in Mr Johnson cancelling a trip to the country.
Turkey is not on the red list, however, Britons will learn more in early May.
Aviation minister Robert Courts told the Commons Transport Select Committee countries will be categorised in “the early part of May”, he added it “wouldn’t be right for me to speculate” on the lists.
The earliest date foreign holidays could be permitted for people in England is May 17.
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Is TUI taking bookings?
TUI is one of the UK’s biggest travel agents, and is currently allowing customers to book holidays to Turkey from May 17 onwards.
You can book for destinations like Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, the Maldives and Portugal, among others.
Currently, on TUI’s site, you can’t book to travel to Albania, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Japan, Oman, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago or Uzbekistan.
However, for those wanting to take a trip to Turkey, there are restrictions in place across the country.
Turkey holidays: Turkey is a popular summer holiday destination for millions of Britons
Turkey is under a Covid-risk “tier” system, with four tiers based on risk.
The FCDO explains: “Provinces in Turkey are split into four tiers by COVID-19 risk: low, medium, high and very high.
“A map of Turkey illustrating these tiers is available from the Ministry of Health.”
Currently across Turkey, facemasks are mandatory “at all times” when “outside the home”.
If you book a trip to Turkey and cannot visit due to Covid restrictions, most travel agents are offering free rescheduling.
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If Turkey is placed in the green tier, holidaymakers will need to take Covid tests both before and after travel – however, will not need to isolate on return.
New research has shown 61 percent of Brits believe under the traffic light travel system, the Green tier should mean restriction-free travel this summer.
Currently, countries on the green list will require Brits to take a PCR Covid test before they fly there, at additional expense.
In total 55 percent of Brits say they will not be able to go on holiday this summer if expensive PCR Covid tests, currently costing up to £150, are imposed on passengers to low-risk ‘green’ tier countries.
easyJet polled 2,000 British holidaymakers and found almost three-quarters (74 percent) of Brits believe if tests do remain a requirement for travel to low-risk green tier countries, they should be in line with the lateral flow testing being used for the reopening of the rest of the UK economy rather than the more complex and expensive PCR tests.
Turkey holidays: Coronavirus restrictions are likely to remain in place across Turkey for the foreseeable future
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “The UK government need to come out as early as possible with final details of the testing regime and let the public know the tiers countries will be put into and the criteria it will use to decide those tiers.
“We believe that most European countries should be in the green tier based on the protection the NHS provided Brits through our vaccination roll-out and the low presence of variants of concern in most European countries“easyJet was founded to make travel affordable for all. Before the pandemic, we were flying around 100 million customers paying £50 per flight on average.
“At the current costs, even low-risk, green destinations look likely to make travelling for a well-deserved holiday or the chance to see family out of reach for many – and the preserve of the rich – this is unfair.
“We are not pushing for the reopening of travel at any cost – we need to protect the NHS and vaccination programme, but we have worked with expert scientists to understand what would be needed to safely restart travel.
“Passenger health and safety remains our absolute priority and strongly believe that with vaccination, travel to a low-risk government approved destination should not be placed prohibitively out of place by unnecessary, costly PCR testing.
“The public recognise that green tier travelling should mean safe travel without exorbitant costs.
“We urge the Government to make good on its promise to bring the cost of testing down and make travelling to safe green-light destinations affordable and possible for all.”
Published at Tue, 20 Apr 2021 13:10:49 +0000