Govt travel advice in a nutshell; “You can go to these countries, no you can’t..oh hang on, maybe just go and then quarantine when you get back. Erm if you’ve had the vaccine then get a test anyway…wear a mask on the beach too.”
Enter the TSSA trade union, who has warned of travel chaos ahead and lambasted the government for failing to support “struggling” travel agencies as Portugal comes off the green list.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said “We were all hoping to see more holiday destinations moving into the green list and none more so than the High Street travel agencies who have suffered the hardest 16 months in living memory thanks to this Covid-19 pandemic.
“Of course, beating the virus is the most important, and moving Portugal to the amber list is the right thing to do if that’s what the science says. But the way this Tory government has bungled the decision means travel chaos as holidaymakers who went abroad in good faith, realise they’re at risk of an unexpected 10-day quarantine when they come back and many will now scramble to come back early.
“This is the last thing our struggling High Street travel agencies needed. Summer 2020 was a nightmare of holidays cancelled at the last minute, the “safe” list changing daily and sometimes hourly. Sadly it seems like the Tory government hasn’t learned their lesson as Portugal has been abruptly moved to the amber list with almost no warning.
“The government needs to sit up and pay attention. Travel agencies cannot go on booking and cancelling holidays without support. If the industry is to survive then the government needs to step in and offer travel agents bespoke support as it has done with other industries such as hospitality and rail. Otherwise there’s a very real risk we will not have a travel industry left when this pandemic is done.”
Commenting on Portugal being moved onto the UK’s amber travel list Kevin Pratt, personal finance expert at Forbes Advisor UK, the personal finance insights and comparison website, said:
“If you’ve booked a holiday to Portugal or to any other destination that moves from green to amber on the government’s list, your holiday provider should allow you to change your booking.
“You might not be willing or able to change straight away given the lack of green destinations, but you should have a grace period where you remain in credit with the company. If you decide to go ahead with your trip, assuming it is possible, remember that doing so could invalidate your travel insurance – you’d need to check with your insurer.
“But if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice is not to travel, your policy is very unlikely to provide protection. Wherever you are planning or hoping to travel this year, having travel insurance with Covid-19 cover built-in is crucial – this will cover you if you or a family member fall ill with the virus before you depart, and may provide extra funds to pay for the costs you incur if you are obliged to stay in quarantine while you’re abroad.”