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Traffic-light system stopped two thirds of Brits from going overseas

The travel industry finally meets again at WTM London
The travel industry finally meets again at WTM London
Written by Harry Johnson

With the removal of the amber tier, leaving just red and green. It remains to be seen whether this move will instill confidence among Brits who want to travel abroad on holiday.

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Two-thirds of Brits blame the traffic-light system for their decision not to take an overseas holiday in the past year, reveals research released today (Monday 1 November) by WTM London.

Of those who didn’t travel abroad on holiday in the past 12 months, 66% replied ‘yes’ to the question: Has the traffic light system introduced by the UK government for overseas travel put you off travelling overseas over the last year?

When it was introduced, the traffic-light system was hailed as an easy-to-understand way for the Government to grade destinations according to Covid statistics, and determine whether or not people entering the UK would have to quarantine.

However, there were several instances of destinations being relegated to amber or red, causing chaos among holidaymakers who were often given just 48 or 72 hours to get home, or who had to cancel their plans. In addition, the Government introduced an extra level – the ‘green watch’ list, of destinations in danger of turning to amber.

Respondents told the WTM Industry Report traffic-light uncertainty had put them off travelling in the past 12 months.

“Boris Johnson cannot make his mind up from one minute to the next what countries are in what color. It is just not worth travelling abroad at the moment,” said one respondent.

Another explained: “I don’t want to pay a fortune for a COVID test and be stuck indoors to quarantine.”

“It changes at a moment’s notice and is very confusing – the Government is shambolic and doesn’t know what it is doing.  Boris flip-flops from one ill-thought-out decision to another,” another respondent said.

A fourth explained they were put off by the traffic-light system: “Because they change the system without any notice at all so you could potentially have to isolate with no notice.”

Among the remaining one in three Brits who didn’t holiday overseas in the past 12 months, some said they just did not feel safe about travelling.

“It’s just too high risk so have chosen to wait. It’s not the traffic light system, it’s Covid that has stopped us,” said one.

WTM London takes place over the next three days (Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 November)  at ExCeL – London.

WTM London Exhibition Director Simon Press said: “The traffic-light system was intended as a simplified version of 2020’s travel corridor system – but in reality, turned out to be just as complicated, perhaps more so.

“Airlines, operators and destinations were constantly dismayed at the lack of countries on the green list and had to act quickly when countries moved up or down the traffic light grades, often at short notice.

“In addition, the traffic-light list is different to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) guidance on travel to a particular destination, so travelers needed to check both. To add a further complication, green-list countries aren’t, or weren’t, necessarily open to Brits, so the whole system proved incredibly confusing.

“With the removal of the amber tier, leaving just red and green. It remains to be seen whether this move will instil confidence among Brits who want to travel abroad on holiday.”

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for almost 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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