Transport secretary Grant Shapps has also said the government will release their ‘green list’ of destinations in the next fortnight
Travellers will be asked to show their vaccination and testing status using the NHS app, the transport secretary has said.
Grant Shapps also said that the government would release the much-anticipated list of possible holiday destinations, known as the ‘green list’, within a fortnight.
However, a government source later told the BBC that the app, which is used to make appointments, would not be ready “imminently”.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast that the NHS’ digital division “are working on making that operationally possible for May 17”, but a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said only that the app was “being considered as part of the digital route”.
On the green list, Shapps told Sky News: “I have to say that, so far, the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.”
He added: “We do need to make sure that we do this very, very carefully… But, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll come back on and I’ll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system – and that green list in particular.”
He said that the green list would consist of “countries where you’ll be able to go to, without needing to quarantine on your return, you will still need to take a pre-departure test, and one test on your return”.
Green arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into the UK, but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests.
Asked how the lists would be decided, Shapps said: “There will be four factors that we will be looking at when we look at a country: we will be looking at their rates of vaccination; we will also want to look at the rates of coronavirus in that country; how many concerns there are about various mutations of the virus in that particular place; and how accurate we believe the reporting to be.”
He added: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application – actually, it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on – to be able to show that you have had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.”
Later he told Times Radio that the public would have to “wait and see” which countries are on the list. “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time,” he said.
Paul Melinis, managing director of APT, on how the luxury sector is planning for a post-pandemic revival
Like all sectors within our industry, luxury travel has been turned upside down over the last year. With the advent of a restart, it’s clear that we’ll be returning to a very different environment once overseas travel gets its long-awaited green light.
So how will the luxury sector look for river cruising and touring post-pandemic? Well, the good news is that the appetite for these holiday styles is huge, and travellers in our core guest demographic – predominantly those aged 65 and over – are, by and large, financially secure. They have money to spend, the time to travel, and aspirations to enjoy their bucket list destinations as soon as possible. Longer-haul APT itineraries to further flung destinations are booking at pace, with luxury river cruises on the Mekong and adventurous trips to Canada, Australia and New Zealand proving extremely popular. Similarly, these guests want every detail to be looked after, and are happy to pay a premium for a more luxurious experience than they might have selected pre-pandemic – it’s safe to say that most of us are tired of doing all of the cooking, cleaning and washing up, and customers just want to be pampered.
An important benefit to choosing river cruising or touring post-pandemic is the care and security that these travel styles offer. To ensure that the highest standards of hygiene are met throughout guests’ holidays, APT’s team of experts will be vetting all elements of the itinerary and doing due diligence with partner hotels, restaurants, attractions and transport providers.
However, while cruising and touring holidays tick many boxes for travellers in the new normal, we are also seeing other luxury trends emerge. Discerning travellers are demanding increased privacy and seclusion, and are happy to pay more to secure it. Since launching a few weeks ago, we have already sold 50 per cent of the capacity on MV Lady Eleganza, our new small ship luxury yacht in Croatia, which has a maximum of 34 guests in 18 cabins. This is a very accessible way of securing a secluded post-pandemic holiday for HNWIs as they reconnect with loved ones.
On land, chauffeur-driven experiences and travelling in smaller, self-selected groups will be more of a focus for the luxury traveller. This allows for more flexibility when it comes to sightseeing, and the opportunity to bypass the crowds, which will be increasingly desirable for post-pandemic travel.
This flexibility is an important theme, and personalisation will be important for the luxury market. At APT we are responding by putting more emphasis on our Tailormade holiday experiences. We have a dedicated team of experts that can help clients with a completely bespoke approach, and create holidays that are every bit as unique as our guests are.
While luxury, as with all travel sectors, will inevitably take some time to rebound, the demand is there. Those who have the means to travel are eager to get away as soon as it is possible to do so, and luxury operators, like all of us at APT, are ready to welcome them for the holiday of a lifetime.