As the United Kingdom starts to loosen its lockdown (and by apparently the final lockdown) the question on every traveller's mind is; When can I go on holiday? Although at this moment there are no specific dates by using released data it is possible to take an educated guess as to where will be first on the "Greenlight" list.
The UK "Greenlight" list
On 09/04/2021 the UK government announced a plan to implement a 3 tiered system that will put the decision in the traveller to whether they wish to travel. This will be represented by 3 colours (red, amber, green) with the following taking place:
Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England - but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8
(source: 09.04.2021, Department of transport, Global Travel Taskforce sets out framework to safely reopen international travel, taken from gov.uk)
Defining who will be on the list
Each country will be regularly reviewed for the above criteria which will use the following data to determine which colour group they belong to:
their rate of infection
the prevalence of variants of concern
the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
the percentage of their population that has been vaccinated
Media speculation vs reality
I would say that majority of travellers interested in going abroad will be watching and reading the news every day with the hope of being allowed to go abroad. Naturally, during these unprecedented times and lack of government clarification, it is hard to provide new information. However, it is common for the media to cover travel even if there is no news.
I believe that having experience within the industry abroad, there is a "bide time with false hope" culture within the UK which is nothing like I have ever experienced in any other country. In this instance, I have taken the travel section on the 15/04 from the website of the most popular newspaper in the UK "The Sun" (source: 2021, Statista, Leading newspapers ranked by print and digital reach in the United Kingdom 2019-2020). On most days they release a "Travel yes" article and then another one saying "Don't travel".
This lack of clarity is the "Bide time with false hope" i.e. no definite answer whilst we wait for an answer approach is a waste of time for travellers and suppliers. Perhaps, in the future a more "European" direct approach of "At this moment you cannot travel and we are testing to see if it is safe to go abroad" rather than a British style "we will review if you can go on holiday in May" will give us more clarity.
(Screenshot taken from thesun.co.uk/travel/ on 15/04, 08:30)
Destinations to go within 2021-2022
I truly believe international travel, should the World health organisation allow it will go ahead this year. The UK is performing exceptionally in the vaccine rate (2nd highest % in the world as of 15/04) and similarly for economic and mental health reasons. It will be a completely different experience to how we remember travelling was, for at least 2 years and possibly attract a new type of tourist. The following data in comparison to the criteria set by the government it is possible to see potential destinations that will be allowed on the "Green list"
Although the EU get bad press about their vaccine rollout the reality is that they have a much larger population than the UK and have provided MORE vaccines than the UK has per country within Western Europe. The difference is that because almost every western European country has a higher population in comparison to the UK the % of the population is considerably lower. However, the graph below shows the % of each country of the population within Europe is roughly the same.
I believe that most of Western Europe and Greece will be accessible this year with restrictions. Germany, perhaps being an exception as they are less reliant on the tourism industry than say Spain or France.
I would say with a very high level of confidence that the country to look out for will be Malta. There is a very high amount of vaccinated population there and similarly, there is nowhere near the population numbers as other destinations to spread the virus. This, in my opinion, will be the destination to watch out for and our summer top tip to book and as it is only a small destination it will be sold out quickly. If you are looking for a stay in Malta don't forget to contact us (from 28/04/2021) via https://www.mediterranean-prestige.com/trip-quote
(Malta is the destination to keep an eye out from after a high % of the population vaccinated)
I also predict the following categories to be released before May 2021:
Most of Mediterranean and Western Europe
All of Africa
All of Latin and South America
See https://www.mediterranean-prestige.com/ for more information and updates.
**all views expressed are opinions based on sources cited in the article**