Holidaymakers will face an insurance nightmare unless the Foreign Office drops its “arbitrary” ban on non-essential travel to 83 amber countries that will be opened to vaccinated Britons from July 19, consumer experts have said.
The Foreign Office is advising against all but essential travel to popular destinations including Italy, the Bahamas, Montenegro, Germany, Austria and Slovenia because of the in-country Covid risks.
Yet from July 19 the Government will drop its amber travel ban to all those six countries – and the 77 others – and allow fully vaccinated Britons and their children to fly to them for holidays without having to quarantine on their return.
However, the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCDO) advice means any holidaymaker visiting them will not be covered by normal travel insurance. Official tour operators will also not take people to them because of the insurance risks.
The disparity stems from the criteria the FCDO applies to its advice, which is based on in-country risks such as the ability of the country’s health service to cope if Britons contract Covid while on holiday, as well as other factors such as terror threats.
By contrast, the Department for Transport’s red, amber and green traffic light system is largely based on the risk of Covid being imported to the UK which is significantly reduced for people who have been fully vaccinated.
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “Getting rid of unnecessary and expensive PCR testing at the upcoming criteria review is a top priority as is ensuring consistency on travel advice.
“Why is it safe to travel to Spain and France but not Italy and Germany, if the risk of importing the virus is mitigated by the vaccines and testing?
“There needs to be proper alignment and transparency instead of the current arbitrary system which just leaves everyone confused, industry included.”
Rory Boland, the Which? Travel Editor, warned that holidaymakers’ travel plans could be further disrupted by other country’s restrictions such as Italy and Cyprus both requiring quarantine for Britons.