Ibiza in Spain’s Balearic islands is one popular destination headed for the green ‘watch list’ next week (Image: Getty Images)
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Every new destination added to the UK's green list except Malta will be on a special "watch list", the government has said – so what exactly does that mean?
Today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that 15 of the 16 the countries and territories added to the UK's official travel green list on Friday would be on the "watch list" when it updated on Wednesday, June 30.
This includes a host of popular Mediterranean and Caribbean island destinations, while Israel and Jerusalem are also being added immediately, he noted.
The list signals that a country is at risk of moving back to the amber list – where travellers currently have to isolate upon their return.
Will you book a holiday to a 'green watch list' destination? Share your thoughts in the comments below…
Picturesque St George's in Grenada, a Caribbean holiday spot also about to be added to the watch list
(Image: Getty Images)
Locations on the watch list will be kept under review, with the government prepared to “respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on variants of concern”, if necessary.
It comes as the government announced it would scrap the 10-day isolation rule for return from amber list countries by the end of this summer – for fully vaccinated Brits.
Holiday green list: Mallorca, Ibiza, Malta and Caribbean islands added to travel zone
Doubled-jabbed travellers can now dream of holidays to Greek islands, Paris and Rome without quarantining.
But this means destinations on the watch list could yet pose a potential travel headache for summer holidaymakers if they are moved back onto the amber list before the double-jab rule is ditched, or if a traveller has only had one or no jabs.
The destinations soon to be on the green watch list include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Balearic Islands (including Mallorca and Ibiza)
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Israel and Jerusalem
- Pitcairn Islands
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Destinations like Antigua in the Caribbean could still be moved back to the amber list as they head onto a green 'watch list'
(Image: Getty Images)
That means the following countries and territories are on the green list, without current risk of being moved to amber.
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
While the announcement came as some relief to the beleaguered travel industry, there was disappointment the government had not gone further, with Greece, France, Italy and mainland Spain still on amber.
A travel expert warned holidaymakers to think before they book, as there was no promise that the new additions to the green list would stay there.
Which? travel editor Rory Boland said holidaymakers should be "extremely cautious," after Portugal's example showed countries could be downgraded on the lists quickly and with little warning.
Several European countries have introduced quarantine requirements for UK residents, he warned.
Brits gamble on bargain trips to Malta and Ibiza ahead of green list travel decision
“Restrictions around international travel are changing regularly and when they do, the cost to holidaymakers is significant.
"Most providers will not pay refunds if a country is moved from green to amber, and ‘free’ amendments are often anything but, with many companies requiring significant notice of any changes and bookings for new dates usually costing hundreds of pounds. Travel insurance is also unlikely to pay out in these circumstances."
He advised holidaymakers to book only if they were able to do the isolation period, and were able to be flexible about destinations and dates, with providers that guarantee refunds in the event of traffic light changes or quarantine requirements.
Bermuda is also on the green watch list as we head into the summer travel period
(Image: Getty Images/Westend61)
ABTA Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer, said the updates would not deliver the restart of travel the industry desperately needs.
The industry needed tailored financial support as travel firms facing increased furlough and business rates costs from next.
With trips to the most popular destinations still largely restricted "they will simply not have the money to do so," he said.
UK holiday green list in full as Malta and Ibiza among 16 new places added
Amber list 10-day holiday quarantine will be scrapped for double-jabbed Brits
Mr Tanzer welcomed the plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers to return without quarantining, urging the government to introduce the change as quickly as possible as thousands of businesses and worker livelihoods depended on travel reopening.
Mr Shapps defended the decision not to go further amid criticism from a travel industry struggling with uncertainty.
He said: "It's right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable."