To Book Or Not To Book...That Is The Question...
Following the official announcement of the traffic light system in England on May 10th, we would like to clarify and update you on the current situation for holidays this summer.
Greece & Croatia are both open to tourists from May onwards, although they have both unfortunately been placed in the UK’s Amber category, everything points towards them changing to Green by some point in June. With infection rates coming down and good recent progress with their vaccination roll-out, we are confident of this.
There has been much confusion created by the Government’s ambiguous stance over whether leisure travel is allowed to amber countries. In common with other tour operators and airlines we have made the decision to commence holiday operations to Greece and Croatia in line with our cruise operator partners and local government regulations. To be clear on the matter, leisure travel to amber countries is not illegal. The Government announcement on this by the transport minister in his written statement to parliament was very clear (read here). The Global Travel Taskforce deliberated over this for several weeks on behalf of the government and came up with the amber category as a way of limiting numbers travelling to these countries, since the requirement to quarantine on return and pay for PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 limits the number of people who are willing and able to undertake all this. That is why the category was introduced in the first place. As for the science, it is actually the case that the infection rates in our key destinations in the Greek Isles and the Dalmatian islands in Croatia are well within the criteria for inclusion within the Green category. In our view, everything else said on the matter is nothing more than playing politics. For those already booked, if quarantine is not an issue for you on return and you are happy to do so, then you will be able to travel. If it is an issue, then you will be covered under our flexible booking terms allowing deferral of your holiday. (See this link).
The issues that appear to be worrying people are what tests are needed and what this will cost. We have put together this useful table below for what tests you will need. Prices for packs of tests have started to come right down, with discounted packages bookable through various airlines. We also have negotiated a discounted test package through selected suppliers for our guests with details of these provided with departure documents.
|REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL FROM & TO THE UK||GREEN COUNTRY||AMBER COUNTRY||RED COUNTRY HOLIDAYS WILL NOT OPERATE|
|Complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) from your destination country 2-3 days pre-departure, Complete a UK PLF 48 hours before you’re due to return. |
We will provide links to these in your departure pack.
|Take an antigen (rapid flow) test before you begin your journey home||Yes, this should be no more than three days before your return date.||Yes, no more than three days before your return date.||Yes, no more than three days before your return date.|
|Take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure and a test /tests after you get home.||Yes, one before you depart on your holiday (unless you have a vaccination certificate) and one within the first two days of your return||Yes, one before you depart on your holiday |
(unless you have a vaccination certificate)
and further tests on days 2 and 8 after your return.
|Yes, on days 2 and 8 after your return.|
|Self-isolate at home||NO||Yes, for 10 days, unless you opt into the Test to Release scheme.||N/A|
|Quarantine in a hotel||NO||NO||Yes, for ten days after arrival - your arrival day counts as ’day 0’|
|Test to release option - take a second PCR test early||Not applicable||Yes, on day 5 after your return - if this test comes back negative, you’ll be able to end your self-isolation.||NO|
|Is my holiday going ahead?||Yes holidays to Green countries operate as normal||Holidays to Amber countries can go ahead. |
If you are unable to self-isolate at home on your return, you have the option to change your booking to another date or a different destination with no admin charges.
|No - Holidays will not be operating to countries classified in the Red category|
What is a safe assumption given the vaccination roll out and stringent testing regime being applied, is that the latter half of the season will be without restrictions in our main destinations. Our advice is therefore to book now if that’s when you plan to go as availability is already quite tight. The same applies to certain popular dates like the half term or school holidays next summer, so the advice is to get in early to ensure you secure your first choice of holiday for summer 2022. What’s more, you can still book summer 2022 at 2021 prices (…less your repeat booker’s discount) and since prices have to go up next year, it’s another good reason to act now. For this choosing to travel whilst destinations remain amber, there are some great special offers with big savings available which more than cover the costs of testing and more.
I have already sampled the procedure having travelled to Greece and will travelling again soon doing my rounds, so I hope to see you there.