The big holiday hits at the dawn of the green list

The government is expected to reveal next week which countries will open, without quarantine, to British travelers from May 17. As part of its highly controversial traffic light system, a green tag (means go) could finally be added to some 30 destinations. count, including vacation favorites in the Caribbean, Malta and the Portuguese islands of Madeira.

That would mean thousands of British holidaymakers could find their place in the sun this summer, as early as next month, without needing to quarantine on return.

But what about those who are going to be missing?

The orange list, which would mean 10 days of quarantine for returning travelers, could include some of the countries most popular with British holidaymakers, such as France and Spain. The situation is changing rapidly, with data including the case rate and number of vaccines likely to change ahead of the May 7 announcement, not to mention the restart later in the month. Below, we’ve analyzed some of the numbers to assess the condition of those on the Green List cusp and the likelihood that their status may change before May 17th.

As a benchmark, the UK’s case rate per million population, over an average of seven days, is 36.6 and 50.4% of the population has received a first dose.


Case rate: 187.4 (seven-day moving average per million)

Vaccine progression: 22.4% (first dose)

Spain is the most popular country with British holidaymakers, attracting more travelers than Italy, Greece and Portugal combined, in 2019. But the country remains in doubt for the Green List, due to a rate cases five times higher than in the United Kingdom.

On the bright side, Grant Shapps hinted that the islands could be assessed separately from the mainland, meaning the Balearic and Canary Islands, including Ibiza, Mallorca and Tenerife, could still be on the green list. They typically have much lower case rates than the mainland. While that means Barcelona, ​​Madrid and the popular Costa del Sol and Costa Brava will be banned, there will be a plethora of options elsewhere on Spanish soil.

The country’s Minister of Tourism, Fernando Valdés said Spain is gearing up for a summer reboot. He told Sky News: “We are desperate to welcome [the British] this summer. I think we’ll be ready here in Spain and we also think things on the UK vaccination program are going pretty well. So I hope that we will see the resumption of the holidays this summer. But as it stands, mainland Spain is more likely to turn orange before it turns green.


Case rate: 437.3

Vaccine progression: 21.7%

France began easing its lockdown restrictions last week, with domestic travel set to resume next month. Prime Minister Jean Gastex said the country was in its “third wave”. The numbers don’t quite support this claim, with infections on the decline but not outside, and numbers far too high for the green list.

The conversation until recently was whether France would be added to the UK’s red list, so it’s impressive that our Gallic neighbors should even be making amber. This will make the majority of summer vacations prohibitive due to the quarantine rules, and with tour operators unlikely to accept trips where the risk is so high, but it is one step closer to the weeks in Dordogne, city ​​breaks like Paris. , Marseille or Biaritz, or fly and flops on the Côte d’Azur.

It is hoped that Corsica, as an island, will be added to the green list before the mainland.


Case rate: 244.7

Vaccine progression: 18.7%

Greece can’t wait to go. But only its islands could be on the green list.

The country has already announced plans to reopen to British tourists who have been vaccinated or have proof of a negative test from May 17, but it will likely be the Aegean Islands that will welcome guests first.

Greece has launched a major campaign to fully immunize people living on 85 islands with more than 10,000 inhabitants by May so that they are Covid-free when the UK government must lift its ban on non-essential overseas travel. And, with the Transport Secretary’s opinion that the islands could be treated differently, things are looking up for those wishing to visit Santorini, Crete and Mykonos.

In 2019, Greece welcomed nearly 3.5 million Britons.


Case rate: 48.2

Vaccine progression: 20.6%

Portugal has kept its numbers relatively low since March but still seems destined for the Amber List. It may be the mainland destination most likely to go green (case of a fall, two days without Covid deaths and minimal exposure to a variant), but its land border with Spain could keep it orange.

All is not lost, however, with Madeira and the Azores more likely to offer Brits non-quarantine travel.


Case rate: 993.3

Vaccine progression: 20.1%

Cyprus has the highest rate of new infections in Europe, making it an unlikely candidate for the green list. However, according to the latest research from the PC Agency, it could be configured to make amber. It looks like Cyprus’s high infection rate may have peaked, and in real terms it looks so bad, with new cases every day not exceeding 1,000), but the island will have to cut its numbers if it hopes to become green before summer. Just over a million Britons visited Cyprus in 2019 and the island is heavily dependent on its tourism sector.


Case rate: 612.4

Vaccine progression: 15.9%

Turkey announced last week that it was lifting its ban on direct flights from the UK and that visitors would not need proof of vaccination to enter, only a negative PCR test. Good news, but with such a high case rate, the country will likely turn orange before it turns green.

The country’s main tourist sites are not on islands but along its turquoise coast between Antalya and Izmir.


Case rate: 516.3

Vaccine progression: 15.3%

Another country keen to revive tourism, but hampered by rising case rates.

Some islands on the Dalmatian coast, on the Adriatic, have started vaccinating local tourism workers, with a view to welcoming returning visitors from June, but without big hitters like Spain and Portugal, the fate of the Croatian islands is likely. be linked to the continent.


Case rate: 218.7

Vaccine progression: 20.7

Italy did not experience a huge spike for its second wave, but its rates remain too high for the Green List.

The country has started to ease restrictions – which were becoming increasingly unpopular, to the point of protesting – but international visitors are still not allowed in until early May.

Small Italian islands, such as Capri and Ischia, have expressed interest in getting vaccinated before the mainland so they can reopen to visitors, but these plans were not considered viable by larger islands such as Sardinia and Sicily.

United States

Case rate: 175.7

Vaccine progression: 42.2%

Ah, the United States. A favorite of UK travelers and one of the few countries for which a 2020-style travel lane has been discussed. The United States has seen its infection rates drop and the number of vaccinated increase, but there was no question of the country going green for its own merit, but instead being subject to a transatlantic travel deal. in time for summer. Either way, its promising numbers mean it shouldn’t stay orange for long.

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