Travel on the “green list” without a quarantine may not open for the United States or Europe until the end of July, an industry expert has warned.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said ministers had “sacrificed” the reopening of the travel industry “to protect their own careers.”
He said the summer months of June and July would be “lost in terms of travel”.
It was hoped that destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and the United States would be added to the green list before the peak summer vacation season.
But Mr Charles said he had “clearly understood” that ministers “do not intend to open travel to mainland Europe or the United States until the end of July”.
“The ministers have lined up to protect their future careers and potentially benefit from an upcoming cabinet reshuffle,” he said.
“And that means sacrificing the early opening of the overseas travel industry.
“Now thousands of jobs are at risk – as are some airlines and travel agencies – as June and July will be lost in terms of travel.”
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Mr Charles was among the industry figures who expressed outrage when Portugal was moved to the Amber List last week because it meant that no viable major tourist destination was in the green box.
People arriving in the UK from a green tier country are not required to self-isolate, while amber arrivals are required to quarantine at home for 10 days.
Mr Charles says Portugal and other countries such as Malta, Morocco and Grenada should be on the green list, but decisions on restrictions are “highly political and not based on data at all”.
He said some ministers, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, were “in favor of opening trips earlier” but were “passed” by Matt Hancock, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Minister by Michael Gove.
He said members of government had now “united to focus on reopening the UK by mid-July” once the vaccine rollout reaches final cohorts.
“Once the UK has almost fully opened up, overseas travel will be back on the agenda for the end of July,” he said.
The government has not confirmed a date for the second travel review, but has previously said the reviews will take place every three weeks.
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That means the next one is expected on Thursday, June 24, with changes likely to take effect at the start of the following week.
The Department of Transport previously said the assessments would be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a population that had been vaccinated, infection rates, new variants emerging, and access to reliable scientific data and to genomic sequencing.