So what does it actaully mean when a destination appears on the Amber Travel List
Foreign Office advice remains “the ultimate reference” for consumers and the industry on travel to amber destinations despite government insistence that “people should not travel to amber countries for a holiday”.
That is according to Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer who has said: “The government position and our position is that Foreign Office [FCDO] advice is the ultimate reference for whether or not you can travel. Despite the confusing messages from the government, that is the benchmark.”
The government removed the ban on non-essential overseas travel from Monday, but health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs there must be “an exceptional reason” for travel to a destination designated amber under the traffic light system, insisting: “The government advice is very clear. People should not travel to amber list countries for a holiday.”
The FCDO currently advises against non-essential travel to most countries not on the government’s green-list for travel including Spain and Greece, but it no longer advises against travel to some amber destinations including the Canaries, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos and Zakynthos.
Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade noted: “The regulations don’t say it’s illegal to travel to amber so the government should not be suggesting it is.”
Tui UK confirmed “where borders are open and FCDO advice allows travel, we’ll operate to those destinations” and Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “If a customer comes to the conclusion they want to go, who are we to say no? Amber puts a lot of obligations on the customer. When it is amber you have a choice.”
A senior aviation source described the government message as “confusing and not helpful”, but said: “The government doesn’t want a free for all. The industry view is ‘let the individual decide’. The government is trying to influence that decision.”
Alan Bowen, legal advisor to the Association of Atol Companies (AAC), agreed “it makes life difficult”, but noted: “Travel insurance will be valid if FCDO advice is not against travel. Insurers have always taken the view of the Foreign Office.” However, he warned that if something goes wrong: “Insurers will use every tool in the book to avoid liability.”
Tanzer downplayed the threat of FCDO advice changing overnight as happened repeatedly last summer. He said: “The advice should not change as quickly as last summer when infection rates kept changing.”