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Government ‘increasingly positive’ on return of summer holidays abroad

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Ministers are ‘increasingly positive’ that foreign summer holidays will be possible this year amid hopes vaccine passports will soon make international travel ‘straightforward’.

There is said to be growing optimism in Whitehall that trips abroad will be allowed in the coming months. 

It is thought some countries could require proof of vaccination as a condition for quarantine-free travel in the future. 

As a result, the Government is working on plans which would allow Brits to ask for a vaccine certificate to show to border officials.  

However, ministers warned this morning that they ‘cannot give guarantees’ and urged the nation to wait for Boris Johnson to unveil his lockdown exit roadmap on Monday next week.   

There is growing optimism in Whitehall that summer holidays abroad could be possible this year. The Greek goverment wants British tourists back from May. Tigaki beach is pictured in Kos, Greece

There is growing optimism in Whitehall that summer holidays abroad could be possible this year. The Greek goverment wants British tourists back from May. Tigaki beach is pictured in Kos, Greece

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil his eagerly-anticipated lockdown exit strategy next Monday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil his eagerly-anticipated lockdown exit strategy next Monday

International travel is banned during the current national lockdown unless it is absolutely essential. 

But a Whitehall source told The Times: ‘It’s looking increasingly positive on summer holidays. 

‘Once the vaccination passport system is set up it should be straightforward. That won’t be easy, but we can see the way ahead.’  

The newspaper said that Mr Johnson’s exit strategy will not include a timeline for the return of holidays abroad. 

It is expected to contain broad aims on how ministers want to get the travel industry back on its feet. 

However, a Government source expressed caution and said it is ‘too early’ to say for certain that foreign holidays will be possible this summer. 

The source said: ‘There are so many variables over the next few weeks – the rollout of the vaccination programme, what that means for transmission, what happens to case numbers as we open up.’ 

The Government is already in talks with countries like Greece about how to resume quarantine-free travel. 

The Greek government wants British tourists to start returning as early as May and it has agreed a trial scheme with Israel which will allow people who have been vaccinated to travel freely.

A senior Greek tourism official said the deal is a ‘prototype and preamble for future deals’ with other countries like the UK. 

They said: ‘Obviously all eyes are on these talks with British authorities as Britons account for the most lucrative market of travellers.’ 

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said it would be ‘wrong’ for him to speculate on whether summer holidays will be allowed this year.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘The Prime Minister will be setting out exactly what restrictions we are able to ease and when in as much detail as he is able.

‘But we cannot give guarantees because that is not how viruses work. Our vaccination programme, our current set of restrictions have been effective, we know that. We are currently assessing how effective and what the implications might be of certain options.

‘But ultimately we want to open up society, the economy as much as we are able but only on the condition that it is safe to do so.’

Airline bosses have urged Mr Johnson to set out a detailed plan for resuming international travel

Airline bosses have urged Mr Johnson to set out a detailed plan for resuming international travel

He added: ‘I get how frustrating this is, it’s completely natural. We all want to get a break from this, I get that. But it would wrong for me to start speculating now.

‘We are assessing the numbers, we are making a judgment based on the science and we will be making an announcement on Monday. I can’t go further than that.’

It comes after bosses from leading UK airlines called on the Prime Minister to outline a recovery road map for the industry so they can plan for the summer.

The chief executives of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic warned that without a clear indication of intent from the Government that aviation will restart in the coming months, the UK faces a year of limited connectivity to the rest of the world, and the economic recovery will be hampered. 

They said that when the Prime Minister makes his announcement on the lockdown next week, a road map would be critical for airlines and consumers to help them plan for the summer and pave the way for the safe reopening of international travel.

DailyMail Online


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