Top European resorts are unlikely to be added to the green list ‘before August’, foreign tourism chiefs have reportedly been told, leaving millions of Britons facing another summer without a holiday abroad.
UK ambassadors are said to have warned foreign tourism bosses that the return of British travellers to traditional holiday hot-spots such as Spain and Turkey will be pushed back until later this summer.
It comes as holiday firm TUI announced yesterday that it was axing more of its trips to top European holiday destinations up until July.
And one travel expert warned that July was now being regarded as a ‘white-wash’ for industry bosses.
Despite this, some firms are reporting a spike in demand for flights to Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland – which are all currently on the UK’s green list.
The latest travel set-back will be a particular blow to traditional holiday destinations – including the likes of Portugal, Greece France – which are currently on the UK’s amber list.
Toni Mayor, head of the Hosbec association of Valencia region hoteliers, said he did not expect to see the bulk of UK tourism take off until August, according to the Telegraph.
His comments come after a meeting with Hugh Elliott, who has been the UK’s Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra since 2019.
Meanwhile, tourism chiefs in Turkey are also understood to have received a similar message, after a meeting with UK Foreign Office officials, the Telegraph adds.
The news has sparked concern within the industry. Some now fear July – one of the busiest and most profitable months of the summer holiday season – will now be a blow-out for the travel industy.
Travel expert Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, said travel firms have already written off July as a return for summer holidays.
‘July is a white-wash,’ he told MailOnline.
‘Most firms are now looking beyond that, so it will be August that they will be looking at for the restart.’
Mr Charles said the decision to push back green-listing countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal at one of the busiest points of the summer holiday season could result in ‘billions of pounds in losses’ for the industry.
He said: ‘The travel industry does around half of its business in summer.
‘So I would say the losses will run into the billions, when you take into account refunds and loss of sales. You’ve also got the cost of moving the planes to be parked and the cost of staff and running the business itself.’
Mr Charles called on the Government to set a firm date for the full return of international travel.
‘They have set July 19 as the date for ending of domestic restrictions, the Government needs to set a date, perhaps July 31, when travel will be restored.
‘It needs to give confidence in the sector or there will be more companies that go under and job losses.’
Meanwhile, figures from Skyscanner, and reported in the Times, show how holidaymakers are rushing to book flights to holiday destinations on the green list.
Flights to Gibraltar have seen a 115 per cent increase in seats sold at the beginning of July, compared to the previous week.
EasyJet, Wizz Air, British Airways and Eastern Airways have all reportedly put on extra flights to Gibraltar to meet the demand.
There has also been a 40 per cent increase in demand for flights to Iceland.
Both are currently on the UK’s travel green list, meaning tourists can return from these countries without having to quarantine.
Those returning from amber list countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and America, all face a 10-day period of self-isolation and two negative PCR-tests on arrival in the UK.