Simon Calder talks about new traffic light changes to travel
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Travel expert Simon Calder had some good news for holidaymakers who are on the hunt for somewhere hot, like Turkey. During an appearance on BBC Breakfast on Saturday morning, he spoke about the changes to the international travel traffic list system and what destinations had opened up.
In a government overhaul, the international travel traffic light system is being simplified in England with a single red list.
The new changes come into force from October 4.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also said eight countries would be taken off the red list from Wednesday.
And PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England.
BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty said: “This has been welcomed by the travel industry and I imagine, welcomed by holidaymakers.
“But the idea is to simplify this system but it isn’t completely as clear cut as it might seem.”
Simon explained: “Certainly not, it’s got more complicated in some senses with Scotland and Wales saying they are not having about easing the testing restrictions, Northern Ireland hasn’t yet said anything.
“And furthermore, for a whole cohort of people, for example, unvaccinated travellers previously going to somewhere lovely like Croatia, well, people are talking about scrapping the amber and green lists what’s actually happened, the entire green list has been scrapped, the whole world is now effectively what amber was and that’s going to make life trickier for them.”
“However, the good news that I’m taking away from this is that there is a wider choice of destinations,” he continued.
“Turkey, incredibly popular, 2.5 million British people used to go there every year, it’s been completely off the possibilities all year because it’s been on the red list requiring hotel quarantine.
“That will now open from Wednesday 4am which will give people maybe the last chance to get to the southern coast of Turkey by then.
“Also, Egypt opening up which will be a huge thing for a lot of us who like the dependable sunshine over Christmas, New Year and through the winter.”
Simon added: “Other winter favourites if you’re going further afield, Oman, the Maldives, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
“Plus a couple of destinations, really important because people have family there, Bangladesh and Pakistan, they have been taken off the red list.”
While travel is a devolved matter, the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments have often followed the UK government’s rules during the pandemic, the BBC reports.
Wales said it would follow England in removing Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya from the red list.
It would “carefully consider” the proposed changes on testing but said they are “not without risk”.
Scotland said it would simplify its traffic light system but ruled out removing the requirement for PCR tests, due to “significant concerns at the impact on public health”.
The Transport Secretary said the new travel rules would remain in place “at least until the new year”.
“The purpose is to make it easier to travel without the bureaucracy, without so many tests, and with a greater level of certainty now that we’ve got so many people vaccinated,” he explained.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
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