International travel to the U.K. could resume, at the earliest, May 17, 2021, according to a report produced by the U.K.’s Global Travel Taskforce. On Friday, the taskforce released a framework to chart The Safe Return of International Travel to the U.K., deciding on a “traffic light” system, which would categorize countries based on the level of risk.
Key factors, according to the framework, include:
- The percentage of the population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- The prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Restrictions for inbound travelers, such as a quarantine and stringent testing, would remain in place but would apply differently deepening on whether the destination visited is categorized as “green,” “amber” or “red.” Currently, there is a list of countries in the “red” category, which requires a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on Days 2 and 8 (the United States is not on this list), but there is not yet an official list for “green” or “amber” countries. More details would be announced by May, the taskforce said.
In response to the publication of the Global Travel Taskforce Report, Andrew Crawley, American Express Global Business Travel chief commercial officer, said: “After months of work, it is disappointing that the Global Travel Taskforce report fails to set out a clear roadmap for reopening international travel and lacks fundamental detail. The U.K.’s proven success at rolling out a national vaccination program at pace and scale should have enabled the government to give the needed reassurances to restart international travel.
“A continued absence of detail is detrimental to our economic recovery and the millions of jobs supported by the travel industry. With vaccination programs continuing apace around the world, we need the government to turn its attention to the economic health of the U.K.
“The report’s endorsement of a seamless digital travel certification system that is mutually recognized by countries around the world is welcome but intergovernmental cooperation must be escalated and the U.K. should seize the opportunity to use the G7 Summit to finalize and agree a framework.
“We are at a pivotal moment and need a greater sense of urgency from Government to get trade and travel safely moving again. Opening up the U.K.-U.S. travel corridor seems an obvious area to start.”
As mentioned by Crawley, the U.K. government also announced plans to digitize its passenger locator form, integrating it into the U.K. border system and enabling checks to take place at e-gates by autumn 2021.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk.