Holidaymakers ridicule addition of remote Tristan da Cunha on travel 'green list'

7 May 2021, 19:31

Tristan da Cunha can only be reached via a six-day boat ride from Cape Town
Tristan da Cunha can only be reached via a six-day boat ride from Cape Town. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The government's list of 'green list' countries for travel this summer has sparked ridicule online after remote Tristan da Cunha was named as one of the locations people could visit without needing to quarantine.

Tristan da Cunha is the world's most remote inhabited archipelago 1,732 miles off Cape Town. Visits need to be planned a year in advance, and hopeful visitors need special permission to visit in writing from the Island's council or administration.

The island, colloquially known simply as Tristan, can only be reached by a six-day trip by cargo boat or cruise ship from Cape Town. South Africa is currently on the government's travel red list.

The current schedule shows only one eligible departure for the remainder of 2021, on June 25.

The island’s website advises would-be visitors: “You can't just turn up in Cape Town and jump on a ship to Tristan da Cunha.

Tristan da Cunha is nearly 2,000 miles off Cape Town
Tristan da Cunha is nearly 2,000 miles off Cape Town. Picture: PA

"All visitors need the prior approval of the Administrator / Island Council, and should be prepared upon request to obtain a local Police Certificate in advance.”

It goes on to state: “You may need to plan more than a year in advance and 'pencil in' an approximate ship, assuming similar schedules in the future.

"Investigate flights to Cape Town to connect with your ship to Tristan.

"You should aim to arrive in Cape Town at least two days before the ship sails, and you may also need to wait in Cape Town for your flight home.

"Embarkation and disembarkation dates at Cape Town cannot be guaranteed, and occasionally passages have to be cancelled at short notice."

One person wrote online: "My boss went to Tristan da Cunha. It takes a week on a ferry from Cape Town (is that on the list?), there’s no bank or post office, and the social highlight of the year is the rat-hunting festival."

Teacher Lee Pickover posted on Twitter: "Love that Tristan da Cunha made the green list for travel. An island so remote that you can only get there via a 6 day boat journey from South Africa."

Another posted: "Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory with its own constitution. There is no airstrip on the main island; the only way of travelling in and out of Tristan is by boat, a six-day trip from South Africa."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this afternoon revealed the destinations on the 'green list' that holidaymakers can visit this summer without needing to quarantine on their return.

Mr Shapps said the key summer holiday destinations people can visit from May 17 include: Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar, but the plans were met with a backlash and were described as a "very small step" by travel firms.

The full green list includes the following countries: Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira); Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Falkland Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha; and Israel.

France, Spain and Greece are not yet included but a review will take place every three weeks, Grant Shapps said.