Suffolk travel agents' despair as Portugal removed from green travel list

Portugal has been removed from the green Covid travel list

Portugal has been removed from the green Covid travel list - Credit: PA

Suffolk travel agents have said the government's decision not to add countries to the green Covid travel list "defies logic".

Portugal has been moved from the green to the amber list, meaning travellers face a 10-day quarantine on their return to the UK.

Those returning from green list countries or regions do not need to self-isolate upon return, but are still required to take Covid tests.

Travel firms had previously hoped more areas - such as the Spanish and Greek islands - would be added to the green list.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government is taking a "safety first attitude" towards possible mutations of the virus while the vaccination roll-out is ongoing.

He added: "Europe is probably 10 weeks behind but they will catch up and I don’t know exactly what that will mean in terms of the summer but the decisive action today is designed to protect the future, to make sure that we can do a domestic unlock or give ourselves the best possible chance of doing so and that will also help us to unlock international travel given time."

But the decision to cut the list has come under fire from Suffolk-based providers, who say low infection rates in certain areas mean tourists should not face self-isolation if they travel.

Bridget Keevil, founder of Travel Stop, which has branches in Elmswell, Claydon and Hadleigh, said: "It will mean that it will all come to a stop for travel this year - especially for those looking to go to Portugal.

Bridget Keevil, owner of Travel Stop travel agency. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bridget Keevil, owner of Travel Stop travel agency - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"It will take all the confidence people had for booking holidays.

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"With this, it looks like we won't take any money for months and months. There's going to be a lot of good businesses going under."

Lee Hunt, managing director of Deben Travel, said: "It just defies logic. I can't imagine why the list isn't being expanded.

Lee Hunt, managing director of Deben Travel

Lee Hunt, managing director of Deben Travel - Credit: Lee Hunt

"Why have they all of a sudden stopped following the scientific advice? We've been at our wits' end for months now.

"It's just a disaster. We haven't made any money since March last year.

"We have people waiting for places to be on the list, but that won't happen now. There are going to ge a lot of people giving up on going on holiday this year.

"We're in survival mode now."

Julia Croucher, who runs Travel With Jules, added: "People are cancelling bookings - testing is too expensive.

Julie Croucher, director of independent firm Travel With Jules

Julie Croucher, director of independent firm Travel With Jules - Credit: Travel With Jules

"To be honest, I've given up hope of getting support from the government. They seem to be ignoring long-haul travel.

"What they fail to explain is that if a country is amber, the government says you shouldn't go - but that isn't true. If you are willing to pay for tests, you can go to an amber destination.

"We've been down this road so many times, and when it comes its a damp squib."

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