Hays travel reacts to 'shock' decision to remove Portugal from travel green list as airlines hit out at government
Travel agents across the UK have reacted to the ‘huge blow’ as Portugal is set to be added to the amber travel list, putting summer holiday plans for many in disarray.
Sunderland-based Hays Travel say they are ‘continuing to work hard to assist customers’ after the shock announcement that Portugal is set to be removed from the green travel list.
For many, Portugal was the only viable major tourist destination on the green list however the summer hotspot will be put on the amber list following a meeting between the Westminster and devolved governments, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, according to the BBC.
The removal of the country comes only 17 days since the ban on non-essential leisure travel from Britain was lifted and has left the travel industry reeling.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet has also reacted to the news describing it as ‘a huge blow’.
He said: “This shock decision to add Portugal to the Amber list is a huge blow to those who are currently in Portugal and those who have booked to be reunited with loved ones, or take a well-deserved break this summer. With Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn’t justified by the science.”
People returning to the UK from amber list countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days as part of coronavirus restrictions.
It is expected that many holidaymakers in Portugal face a scramble for flights home before the move is introduced, which is expected to be on Tuesday.
Boris Johnson has urged people to avoid non-essential travel to amber and red countries as Afghanistan, Sudan and Egypt will all be added to the red list, it has also been reported.
Virgin Atlantic boss Shai Weiss commented on the lack of additions to the green list, saying: “UK Government’s risk-based traffic light framework won’t provide the clarity and certainty that consumers, families and businesses need if it does not follow the data."
Portugal’s seven-day rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people stands at 37.2, up from 30.7 a week earlier.
A Hays Travel spokesperson said the firm is working to be return of overseas travel.
They said: “Hays Travel continues to work hard to assist our customers who want to book a holiday for when and where it is safe to go, closely following the government advice.
“Currently our customers are booking for late summer and autumn this year and summer 2022, choosing cruises and destinations across Europe and long haul destinations beyond.
“Many people are treating themselves to upgraded accommodation or exciting destinations they’ve had on their ‘bucket list’ while there are such good prices on offer.
“We are all working together to be ready for the recovery of travel as soon as it’s possible.”