The one destination that Brits will most likely be able to visit without restriction come 17 May
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Since February when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that international travel could resume this year, our eyes have been set on 17 May. While the date hasn’t yet been confirmed as a mass resumption of international travel, there are indications that some non-essential international travel will be allowed to take place as of that date.
However, where Brits will be allowed to go still remains somewhat of a mystery. We know that when travel does resume, England will use a traffic light system based on the risk category of a destination country: red for high risk, amber for medium risk and green for low risk.
When looking at a summer holiday away, the sweet spot will come in the form of a green list destination that will also allow Britons in. Brits will have to follow the entry requirements to the arrival country, as well as the requirements for travelling back to England. Arrivals into England from green list destinations will not be required to quarantine for 10 days. However, they will still need a pre-departure COVID-19 test, which can be from a lateral flow device, and an additional COVID-19 test on or before two days after arrival, which must be a PCR test.
Since the announcement of the traffic light system and what it will mean for travellers, the government hasn’t yet announced which countries will get which traffic light classification. Much to the frustration of the travel industry, which says that by not publishing the green list, travellers won’t feel confident booking travel abroad, the government has said that it will finally unveil its green list this week. Additionally, while this scheme applies to England at this point, each of the devolved nations will decide their own travel policy, and there’s no guarantee it will be aligned with England’s version.
We’ve taken a look at the destinations we think may make the highly desirable green list, but there is one, in particular, that has the greatest chance of gracing the list — and for allowing Brits in.
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which is located on Spain’s south coast, will almost certainly be on the green list. Most travel experts have predicted that Gibraltar will be on the list, and with a recent announcement from the Gibraltar government, it could be the perfect, nearly restriction-free holiday.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told Sky News on Wednesday that the territory will not require arriving Britons to take a COVID-19 test. Picardo said that Gibraltar does not require a test for travellers arriving by land from Spain, so it wouldn’t make sense to require a test for arriving Brits, as the U.K. has a lower infection rate than Europe.
Picardo didn’t make clear when Gibraltar will fully reopen to British tourists, but it’s likely that it will do so before 17 May. Travellers will presumably still need to fill out Gibaltar’s passenger locator form prior to travel. Currently, only registered Gibraltarians, residents, Spanish nationals who are in transit to Spain and some other exemptions are permitted to enter Gibraltar from the U.K.
According to Reuters, Gibraltar has reported eight infections per 100,000 people in the past seven days — and Picardo says that there are currently zero cases in the territory. Additionally, Gibraltar has administered more than 71,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far — about 105.5% of its population. Only Israel is close to that, though it has vaccinated close to 60% of its population.
Because of the territory’s continued low infection rates and massively successful vaccination programme, which has seen more than 100% of its residents receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s incredibly likely we’ll see Gibraltar grace the green list.
While no COVID-19 test or vaccination status will be required for travel to Gibraltar, Brits heading back to England will still need to abide by arrival requirements. If Gibraltar does, indeed, get green status, travellers will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in Gibraltar before departure to England, as well as a PCR test when they arrive back in the country.
Airlines around the U.K. have already announced they plan to service the overseas territory this summer. British Airways announced last month that it will launch a twice-weekly service from London City (LCY) to Gibraltar (GIB) as of 25 June. Additionally, Eastern Airways plans to launch flights from Southampton (SOU) and Birmingham (BHX) to GIB later this month.
Of course, that Gibraltar will be on the green list is still speculation at this point. We should know this week if the territory will officially be on the green list when the government makes its formal announcement. We will continue to follow this story, but at this time, we believe Gibraltar is your best bet for a nearly restriction-free holiday soon.
Featured photo by Jonathan Powell/EyeEm/Getty Images.
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