Thousands of delighted Britons have now arrived in sunny holiday destinations such as Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca after the tourist hotspots moved onto the green list on Wednesday morning at 4am.
The British tourists piled onto coaches outside airports in the green-listed countries today and headed for the beaches.
Two women cheered as they landed in Ibiza this morning after travelling on the first TUI flight from Edinburgh to the Balearic Island.
They are among thousands of Britons who now do not have to quarantine for 10 days when arriving back in the UK.
On Thursday, UK Transport Grant Shapps announced that Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca – along with Madeira, Grenada, Barbados and Bermuda – have all been added to the green list after being downgraded from amber.
Within minutes, flight prices to the popular holiday destinations had sky rocketed.
But some Brits have thought the extra expense was worth it, as they were pictured smiling as they arrived at airports in Mallorca and Ibiza on Wednesday.
Two women cheered as they landed in Ibiza this morning after travelling on the first TUI flight from Edinburgh to the Balearic Island
Hellen and David from London smile as they arrive at Palma Airport in Mallorca as Balearic Islands are on the UK ‘green list’
Thousands of delighted Britons have now arrived in sunny holiday destinations such as Ibiza (pictured), Mallorca and Menorca after the tourist hotspots moved onto the green list on Wednesday morning at 4am
They are among thousands of Britons who now do not have to quarantine for 10 days when arriving back in the UK. Pictured: British tourists arrive in Mallorca on Wednesday
On Thursday, UK Transport Grant Shapps announced that Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca – along with Madeira, Grenada, Barbados and Bermuda – have all been added to the green list after being downgraded from amber. Pictured: British tourists wait for a bus at Ibiza Airport on Wednesday
IN FULL: The UK’s new travel green list
All changes came into effect from Wednesday, June 30 at 4am:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Balearic Islands
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Israel and Jerusalem – to be moved to the Green Watch List
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- Turks and Caicos Islands
The UK Government will move the following countries to the red list from June 30:
- Dominican Republic
Meanwhile, thousands more Britons are set to touch down on the holiday destinations in the coming days.
A spokesperson for Jet2 and Jet2Holidays told MailOnline that the airline has 26 flights departing to Green List destinations on Thursday and bookings to the destinations are ‘looking strong, particularly in July and August’.
‘We have experienced a surge in demand to all destinations on the Green List, with bookings to the Balearics soaring by 3,000% at one point,’ the spokesperson added. ‘We know our customers are thrilled too, and we continue to urge the UK Government to do more to reopen international travel.’
Meanwhile, more holidaymakers are set to travel to the green list destinations tomorrow as Jet2 said they would be restarting flights and holidays to the countries from Thursday.
Flights with TUI to the Balearics will resume from July 2, a spokesperson said, adding that there was one Ibiza flight today. Their flights to Malta will resume from July 6.
While it is good news for Brits who have been stuck in the UK for over a year for extra countries to be added to the green list, travel experts warn that it will still be a ‘rollercoaster ride’ for travellers in the coming weeks as governments can alter their border entry requirements at short notice.
But Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI, told MailOnline that they have seen have seen holiday bookings to the Balearics surging.
He said: ‘We always see an immediate uptick in searches and bookings when destinations are added to the green list, which demonstrates there’s still a huge appetite to travel overseas.
‘The latest announcement and additions are no exception, with our customers instantly feeling more confident that a summer holiday is possible, in particular to the Balearics, with web search and bookings both up.
‘It’s a small step in the right direction until other popular destinations move from amber to green, and we’re doing all we can to help our customers get away with our flexible policy, Covid cover and subsidised testing packages.’
It comes as British holiday makers with trips booked to Malta, which is now on the green list as of Wednesday, have seen their plans thrown into chaos after the country announced it is not accepting the NHS app as proof of vaccination.
From Wednesday, travellers from the UK aged 12 and above are only permitted to enter Malta if they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
But authorities in the central Mediterranean archipelago revealed on Monday that they will only accept printed letters sent by the NHS as proof.
That means tourists planning to use the NHS app to demonstrate their status face being turned away at UK airports or the border in Malta, even if they are fully vaccinated.
To request an NHS vaccine letter, you have to fill out a form online, which you can only do two weeks after your second jab.
The UK Government’s website states that letters then take ‘up to five working days’ to be delivered.
This means that Britons hoping to go on holiday in the next few days will be unable to go to Malta – even if they have booked flights.
The reason for the rule change is unclear, though travel websites suggest the Maltese government fear the QR code on the NHS app can be easily forged.
Speaking of the easing of restrictions and governments changing their entry requirements at short notice, Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘While it’s encouraging to see more destinations added to the pure green and green watchlist, it’s still going to be a rollercoaster ride for travellers in the coming weeks.
‘Governments are altering rules for border entry at short notice and so consumers are going to need to be travel detectives, doing their research on what’s truly accessible without having to quarantine.
‘We need to see many more destinations added to the green list before consumers regain their confidence to book en masse.
‘The prospect of quarantine and high costs of testing are putting off many people so it’s vital that more countries are opened up safely.
‘The government have to signal as soon as possible when they are going to allow fully-jabbed British citizens to be exempt from quarantine when they return to the UK. This would inject much-needed confidence to book and to travel.’
The British tourists (pictured in Ibiza) piled onto coaches outside airports in the green-listed countries today and headed for the beaches
Some Brits have thought the extra expense was worth it, as they were pictured smiling as they arrived at airports in Mallorca and Ibiza on Wednesday. Pictured: British tourists outside Ibiza airport on Wednesday
For those who have booked holidays to Malta, they now face having to change their holiday plans.
Several affected people have sent Twitter messages to the British High Commission for Malta stating that the policy means their trips cannot go ahead as planned.
Mark Holland, of Hove, East Sussex, wrote: ‘I travel in under three days, and have no time to request a letter.’
Children aged five to 11 can travel if they are accompanying their fully vaccinated parents or legal guardian, and must show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.
No test is required for those aged under five.
The requirement for UK arrivals for those aged 12 to 17 to be fully vaccinated is effectively an outright ban, as the UK is not vaccinating under-18s.
Katie Crookshank, of London, wrote to the High Commission: ‘We have a 12-year-old girl who is distraught as she now can’t be a bridesmaid in August.’
She continued: ‘The reputation of Malta being a family friendly island is being damaged. Why can’t they be PCR tested?’
British High Commissioner to Malta, Cathy Ward, replied that she was ‘so sorry to hear this’.
She added that the Maltese authorities have said ‘the guidance on teenagers is due to the virus now spreading fastest in this age group and they are worried about the spread of the Delta variant’.
The Spanish authorities are also introducing new restrictions on UK visitors to the Balearic Islands, which include Ibiza and Mallorca.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told radio network Cadena SER that travellers who were not fully vaccinated must have taken a recent negative PCR test. The change would be enforced within 72 hours, he said on Monday morning.
This means it will be in place when the Balearic Islands are added to the UK’s green list on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, there was a surge in demand for holidays in Malta, Spain’s Balearic Islands, Portugal’s Madeira and a number of Caribbean destinations after the UK Government announced last week they would be moved to the green travel list on Wednesday at 4am.
Around 100 Brits also touched down on the Caribbean island of Antigua after setting off from London on a Virgin Atlantic flight on Wednesday at midday, a spokesperson for the airline told MailOnline.
The spokesperson said one flight took off from Heathrow airport today, adding that website searches for flights to Barbados have increased by 400% overnight.
The airline has also increased the number of flights from the UK to Antigua, Barbados and Grenada after it was announced they would be placed on the green list.
Price comparison website TravelSupermarket said Malta went from being its 17th most popular country among package holiday customers to number five following the announcement.
Within minutes, flight prices to the popular holiday destinations had tripled, with tickets for a return flight to Ibiza on July 3 and July 10 leaped from £149 to £314 while journeys on the same days to Majorca leaped from £153 to £478.
The cost of heading to Ibiza (pictured), Majorca, Menorca and Malta surged by up to 200 per cent after they were added to the quarantine free areas
The hugely popular Balearic islands – Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca – along with Madeira, Grenada, Barbados (pictured), and Bermuda have all been downgraded from amber to green, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed tonight
Mallorca (pictured: Beach El Arenal) is one of the top holiday hotspots to be put on the UK’s green travel list by Grant Shapps
People with two jabs ‘won’t have to isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with Covid sufferers from July 19’
People who are fully vaccinated won’t have to isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with Covid sufferers from July 19, reports claim.
Under current Covid rules, those alerted by Test and Trace that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus must self-isolate for 10 days.
However, Downing Street is reportedly hoping to overhaul this measure and instead require those with two jabs to take lateral flow tests each day for the same period.
This follows a successful pilot scheme which has been in place since April, the Sun reported.
From July 19 – the long-awaited ‘Freedom Day’ – those who test negative during the 10 days will reportedly be able to leave the house.
The Transport Secretary also said the Government will allow those who are double-jabbed to holiday in amber list countries without having to quarantine on their return – but this is still weeks away, with the rule not likely to come in until July at the earliest.
But the announcements drew criticism from some airlines, with easyJet saying it ‘simply isn’t ambitious enough’, while Virgin Atlantic chief Shai Weiss also criticised the decision to leave the US on the UK’s amber list, saying: ‘Today’s announcement fails to go far enough.’
Meanwhile, Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, told the BBC: ‘We cannot afford another missed summer. There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot afford to allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted.’
It came as others across the beleaguered travel sector voiced similar concerns. The Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said the Government’s ‘overly cautious’ approach would continue to have ‘major financial impacts’ on the sector.
‘Any extension of the green list is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic,’ she said.
CBI chief UK policy director Matthew Fell added: ‘While welcome, these limited movements on green list countries won’t be enough to salvage the summer season for the international travel sector.
‘International connectivity extends far beyond tourism and underpins our whole economy. The UK’s successful vaccine rollout means we should be in the vanguard of safely restarting international travel.’
Meanwhile, the holiday company On the Beach said it would not be taking new bookings for July and August while so much uncertainty remained about countries on the watchlist.
Chief executive Simon Cooper said: ‘Booking a holiday to these destinations is not a guarantee that you won’t have to self-isolate when you return home.
‘While this uncertainty continues, we will continue to not sell holidays for July and August until we have greater confidence these holidays will go ahead with minimal disruptions.’
It comes as six countries including Tunisia and Haiti will be put on the UK’s travel red list – meaning only UK citizens and those with residency status can travel from here and must stay in quarantine hotels for 10 days.
Israel and Jerusalem, which have been on the UK’s travel green list since its inception, will be added to the ‘green watch list’.
Others in this category – which signals that a country might be moved to the amber list in the near future – include Antigua, the Balearic Islands, Barbados and Grenada.
And in another blow France and Germany launched a joint push to make Britons quarantine on arrival in the EU despite Boris Johnson hailing the ‘real opportunity’ of opening travel to double-jabbed holidaymakers.
It comes as Boris Johnson faces mounting pressure to speed up the nation’s exit from lockdown as Tory MPs, businesses and teachers call on the Prime Minister to ‘go quicker’.
The PM said at PMQs at lunchtime that he ‘devoutly hopes’ that ‘freedom day’ will go ahead as planned on July 19.
He told MPs the UK’s vaccine rollout means ‘we have a higher wall of vaccination than virtually any other country in the world’ and that means the Government can proceed ‘with our cautious but we hope irreversible unlocking of the UK economy’.
What is the UK’s green ‘watch list’ for travel
The green ‘watch list’ is the Government’s new section of the travel traffic light system.
Introduced earlier this month, the watch list is for countries that are on the green list for travel, but are seeing concerning Covid numbers. The Government says it can and will move countries between its red, amber and red lists if there are concerns about case figures.
But it came under fire from holiday groups and passengers after dramatically dropping countries from its green list – leaving passengers facing a fight to get their money back or rearrange their holiday plans at short notice. The watch list, therefore, is meant to act as a warning to travellers that a country may soon be put on the amber list.
However the quarantine rules remain the same on the green and green watch list – in that passengers who arrive in the UK from these countries do not have to quarantine on their return. Israel and Jerusalem, which have been on the green list since its inception, are now heading for the watch list.
And 15 out of the 16 additions to the green list will be placed on the watch list instead of straight on the green list. Malta will be the only country from the new green list nations not to be on the watch list.
However, the PM is facing demands to bring forward the easing of rules, especially after it emerged Chris Whitty backed the July 19 date, telling the Cabinet it should aim to ‘get as much open this summer as possible before winter’.
The Chief Medical Officer reportedly signalled his support for lifting the remaining coronavirus curbs next month as he briefed Cabinet ministers on Monday.
Mr Whitty said the winter period is likely to be ‘much more difficult’ but sources claimed he had been ‘cautiously optimistic’.
Anti-lockdown Tory MPs are adamant that the Government should have relaxed all remaining rules on the original June 21 date for the final stage of the PM’s lockdown exit roadmap.
One Conservative MP told MailOnline: ‘I think we should be going quicker. The data were good enough to open up completely on June 21 and nothing I have seen has shifted that opinion.
‘Most people are vaccinated now and those who are younger have a much lower risk of anything untoward happening. It is time to open up the economy. There are so many other harms that we have heard about, particularly for younger people.’
Another Tory MP echoed a similar sentiment as they said the data showed vaccines have ‘had the effect of breaking the link’ between infections and hospitalisations so the picture now looks ‘very positive’.
The Government has insisted delaying ‘freedom day’ to July 19 will give the vaccine rollout more time to administer life-saving jabs to all UK adults.
Ministers have struck a significantly more bullish tone in recent days on ending restrictions with senior Government figures stressing the nation must now learn to live with coronavirus.
Hopes of a return to normal life have further increased after it was revealed that ministers are set to shelve plans for the mandatory use of ‘Covid certification’ after July 19.
Meanwhile, it has been claimed that fully-vaccinated Brits will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days after contact with a positive Covid case, with the quarantine requirement replaced with daily testing.
And in a third piece of good news, school ‘bubbles’ are to be scrapped in a bid to stop a surge in Covid-related pupil absences.
However, that change is not due to come into force until the start of the next school year in September.