Summer holidays: when can Brits go abroad?

22 April 2021, 18:34 | Updated: 22 April 2021, 18:57

By Fiona Jones

The Government could introduce vaccine passports as early as next month - but when, realistically, can Brits expect to board a plane?

Providing our Covid status is "likely to become a feature of our lives" while vaccinations continue to be rolled out, the Government has said.

Boris Johnson is aiming for Covid certificates to provide proof of vaccination as early as May 17, reports suggest, which will end the travel ban ahead of the summer holidays.

Meanwhile, European countries, including Spain, Greece and Portugal, are preparing to open their borders to tourists in May, with the Spanish tourism minister announcing today that the country is "desperate" to welcome back British holidaymakers.

But will we be able to travel seamlessly this summer? Eddie Mair put it to travel writer Simon Calder.

Simon told LBC he is confident we will be able to travel this summer and is "hopeful" it will indeed be from 17 May.

However, there are many elements to take into account: " The country has to welcome you in...there is going to be exactly no European unity about this. It's going to be a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest with the backstabbing and politicking that goes on."

"Spain, Greece, Portugal and Croatia want to welcome us into their country...and at the moment, from 17 May I don't think we're going to have a very long list of countries feasible for us to go to without coming back and going into quarantine."

Eddie asked Simon when we could have clarity on the date the British public can board a flight.

"It's certainly not going to be before 1 May. MPs on the Transport Select Committee have said this morning that they hope it will be on that day. The Government has said early May, that might be the first Tuesday after the Bank Holiday so the fourth, other people are saying it will be seventh, some people are saying it will be a week beforehand.

"Either way it doesn't give the travel industry or the traveller much of an opportunity to make plans. That's one reason why the second biggest holiday company Jet2, as soon as they heard what the Government was up to they said we're cancelling everything up to 24 June."

He continued, "It's going to be messy for the first few weeks once we start travelling again. Within maybe six weeks, two months, loads of countries are going to be on that fabled green list and furthermore, the very onerous rules for testing when you come back in are going to be eased quite a lot too.

"We're talking about some time in July, very sadly, for people who are desperate to get away before then."

A Department for Travel spokesperson has said of the Covid passport: “We are working on a solution to enable residents to prove their Covid-19 status, including vaccination status, to other countries on the outbound leg.

"We are working on this as a priority and intend to have the solution ready as soon as possible.”