A Lichfield travel agent has branded the Government’s latest traffic light system update as a “kick in the teeth” for the industry.

Picture: Ken H / @chippyho, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Portugal will be moved from the green list into amber, meaning travellers must isolate for ten days when they return – a move which will cut off one of the few overseas summer holiday locations available to people across England.

There had been suggestions before the announcement that some holiday hotspots could move on to the green list, including Greek and Spanish islands.

But the decision not to add any destinations into the quarantine-free status means people hoping to get away face continued disappointment.

Oliver Broad, joint managing director of Lichfield-based RB Collection, said the announcement was “a real shock”.

“Today’s announcement that no further destinations will be added to the green travel list, and Portugal will be moved from green to amber is devastating news for all local travel agents and their employees.

“It’s a real shock, especially after the Government lifted the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the Canary Islands, Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete early last month.

“The traffic light system focuses on requirements when you return to the UK, while the FCDO advice is relevant for outbound travel.

“Unfortunately, the Government doesn’t keep the two aligned, so even though they say it is safe to visit Corfu for example as Greece is on the amber list, you are forced to home quarantine when you return.

“The fact they have used traffic lights which are of course associated with the starting line has caused total confusion with the public.

“Since 17th May, Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel were all on the green list so no quarantine when you get home – today’s announcement takes Portugal off that list which means you will now have to quarantine when you get home.

“However, the FCDO advice still says it is okay to go there.”

Oliver Broad

“Concern is for the future of our industry”

The travel industry had hoped for some respite after a year of challenges posed by coronavirus.

But Mr Broad said today’s decision had been another “kick in the teeth”.

Nathan and Oliver from RB Collection

“We are now in month 14 of Government travel restrictions which have significantly impacted our family business and no doubt our local colleagues too.

“While we appreciate travel needs to be safe; airlines, airports, destinations and hoteliers have all put significant protocols in place to keep us safe.

“My concern is for the future of our industry, all those whom it employs and local businesses that benefit by selling holiday clothes, sun-tan lotion, beach towels and all the other items we stock up on before we escape on a well-deserved break.

“Local retailers have suffered long enough, this is another kick in the teeth.

“The Office of National Statistics has confirmed travel is the worst hit industry so the Government are fully aware of the financial impact and yet we have received zero sector specific support.

“We have repeatedly appealed to Michael Fabricant MP for assistance with a variety of campaigns backed by ABTA and AITO and we are yet to see any serious support.”

Oliver Broad

Mr Broad said that while his own company had faced challenges, others may not survive the coronavirus crisis.

“Last year was our company’s 35th year on Boley Park and we’ve had a great amount of support from clients and local residents and continued to keep in touch with everyone.

“We have many, many holidays booked for clients for later this year, 2022 and even 2023 so we know things will eventually turn around.

“I hope others will be able to weather the storm as securely as we do and we can once again help support and service the local economy to help it prosper.”

Oliver Broad

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5 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I understand the “confusion” mentioned above. We’re currently in the midst of a global pandemic, with new variants of the virus popping up all over the place. Portugal now has confirmed cases of the Nepal variant – so its absolutely correct to move it from the green list.

    Listen – green, amber, red…..people choosing to go abroad at the moment do so in the full realisation that, things may change during their holiday abroad. People currently in Portugal have been given approx a week to return to the UK without needing to isolate. What else can we practically do?

    People moaning about it is just sour grapes and totally unhelpful.

  2. When your mp michael fabricant tweets: what is the new normal? The new normal which I see ouselves returning to= not commuting every day to the office job but using video conferencing instead, not buying everything from a physical shop but otherwise, through being vaccinated, living a ‘normal life. This globalist ideology is being thrust at us. ALL small local businesses are being thrown under the globalist bus.

  3. “Another kick in the teeth”?? What a load of self absorbed rubbish!!

    What is the UK Gov supposed to do in the wake of a rising variant in Portugal?? Ignore it because it may be inconvenient for a Lichfield travel agent?? Ignore it because they’d said (at the time) it was safe to travel to Portugal? This entire pandemic is a VERY fluid and fast changing situation.

    It staggers me just how stupid and small minded some people are. It’s all about THIER world, isn’t it???

  4. @Lucy – I am shocked and concerned to find myself agreeing with something our local MP has said, but even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day! His description of the ‘new normal’ is exactly what I intend to do. Everyone has their own experience, of course, but my pre-pandemic life involved spending 15 hours a week commuting on dirty, late and frequently overcrowded trains, then traipsing around Aldi, Tesco or Morrisons when I got back because everything else in Lichfield was shut. It wasn’t supporting local businesses and it did nothing to resist globalisation. I think many people were living similarly and don’t want to go back to it, I’m damned if I will!

    I try to do my bit: I haven’t used Amazon in 7 years due to their treatment of their workforce, I only buy crockery produced in Stoke and I am looking forward to returning to the great micro-pubs of Tamworth Street. I don’t want local businesses to be ‘thrown under the bus’ but some aspects of life need to change, for me and others like me. As hard as it is for travel agents, holidaying abroad in the middle of a global pandemic is irresponsible and shouldn’t be encouraged.

  5. Who is policing this self isolation on returning holiday makers from Spain ? When a bronzed woman does her shopping in Tesco having returned to an empty fridge after a trip to Spain ? The shop assistant wasn’t impressed

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