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Travel update: Green and amber travel list could go

Green and amber listed categories could be removed and replaced with a new system.

The Government created the travel traffic light system to limit the spread of Covid-19 from overseas and protect the population against any new variants entering the UK.

The potential new system would allow fully vaccinated travellers to go to countries with similar levels of vaccination as the UK, without the need to quarantine.

However, the red category, meaning countries which should not be visited, will remain in place.

The next Government review of international travel is due to take place on 1 October.

Patricia Yates, deputy chief executive, VisitBritain, said: “Tourism is an extremely competitive global industry and we have already forecast a slow recovery with overseas visitor spending in the UK this year of £5.3bn compared to £28.4bn in 2019, so being able to welcome more international visitors back by safely reducing barriers to travel is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”

Jane Longhurst, chief executive, mia, commented: “In 2019 it was estimated that conferences and business meetings and events were worth £19.4bn to the UK economy. While we recognise this level of contribution won’t come back immediately, if the current travel restrictions remain in place there will be is a serious long-term risk to our international competitiveness and the rapid economic recovery of our cities.

“It is estimated in ‘The Importance of International Conferences and Business Events to Restarting City Economies’ report that inbound international delegates are worth six times more per head, than domestic delegates. It is therefore essential that we create a level playing field with our other European neighbours so that we can maximise the immediate and longer-term inbound opportunities."

Longhurst added: “What we need is a competitive strategic approach to building confidence and bringing international events back with an entry scheme that is consistent and, at the very least, commensurate with other worldwide conference destinations. “Until the requirement for testing is removed for double-vaccinated travellers, then business travel is unlikely to recover at the pace we need, because for most business travellers – particularly those attending conferences for just a few days – it will simply be far too complex and expensive to make the journey worthwhile.”