Portugal: Expert offers advice to people who have trips booked
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Big changes were made to the travel traffic light system yesterday after a government meeting with health and travel advice officials. Most notably, Portugal was removed from the green list and added to the amber list. Some travel experts have criticised the Government on this move.
Paul Charles is one such travel expert who is not impressed with the Government’s travel traffic light system, calling it “incoherent” and “inconsistent”.
Mr Charles appeared on ITV via video call from Malta this morning. He said: “I’m sad to say there seems to be an incoherent policy from government, and certainly one that’s inconsistent.
“Just three weeks ago they were saying to people book your holiday to Portugal and elsewhere – if it’s on the green list, go for it.
“And now they’re turning round and saying well we’ve spotted a few infections, possible variants in Portugal, now we’ve got to reign back.
“This is obviously a totally inconsistent approach.”
Mr Charles claimed that the change to the green list is bad news for the travel industry.
He said: “It doesn’t help put confidence back in the travel sector which is badly needed.
“And now ministers are not even answering why they’re not adding to the green list when there are so many countries around the world which could be safely added to their green list.”
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Although Portugal will be added to the amber list on Tuesday, June 8, Mr Charles reminded viewers “it’s not illegal to travel to Portugal”.
“You can visit family for example – you can go for weddings or funerals,” the travel consultant said.
“If you’ve already booked you could still do that trip.
“It all depends whether you’re prepared to self-isolate when you come back and indeed pay for the costs of testing, which are pretty expensive as we know.”
Britons wanting to travel to a country on the amber list must quarantine for 10 days on return to the UK, as well as pay £60 or more for a coronavirus test.
However, if you have already booked a holiday to Portugal, Mr Charles recommended not cancelling your booking just yet.
He said: “But do not cancel your trip – wait for your airline, or tour operator, or travel agent to contact you so that you know what’s going to be happening.
“Because if you cancel it, you’re changing the contract and you’re changing the terms.
“So wait for you to be contacted by your agent operator or airline.”
Mr Charles claimed the lack of movement by Britons this summer will seriously affect the travel industry, saying: “Of course, the industry needs bookings to be coming in for the summer.
“We need ministers to be really clear now on what’s going to happen in July and August. Are they going to allow people to go away? Are they going to expand the green list?”
The travel consultant went on to say that he believed Portugal should have been moved “from green to the green watch list” instead of the amber list to “give people more time to work out their plans”.
“It flies in the face of all the advice they were giving and the reason why they set up the travel traffic light system in the first place and I think that system is now seriously under question,” Mr Charles said.
He added: “The travel sector has been pulled from pillar to post for at least 12 months now and dogged by inconsistencies of government policy.
“The sector needs a good summer this summer.
“If it doesn’t get it and the summer is squeezed, then we’re talking tens of thousands of job losses again across the sector.”
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