Government AffairsThe UK government’s decision to revamp its traffic light system addresses international concerns and raises anticipation over the outcome.

What’s on the wish list for UK’s new travel system?

Flying over the River Thames in London.
Flying over the River Thames in London. Photo Credit: Getty Images/NORRIE3699

UK is looking at overhauling the traffic light system for entry requirements. It’s a move that will be widely welcomed internationally. Since its implementation, the system has been widely criticised for its complicated approach and uncertainty posed to travellers.

In the recent announcement, the UK government shared that the current green and amber categories will be removed. The new system will allow vaccinated travellers to visit countries with similar levels of vaccination protection as the UK. However, arrivals from the red list must still go to a government-approved quarantine facility, and is still restricted for outbound travellers.

Ease of travel

To simplify the travel planning process, countries will be labelled either red or green but with fewer reds. This will take away much of the distress faced by travellers over last-minute changes.

Increase international arrivals

Heathrow Airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye has been reported to have raised concerns over economic recovery with the current system. According to Holland-Kaye, August traffic was 71% down on pre-pandemic levels and Heathrow has now fallen behind Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris and Frankfurt airports.

Better service across borders

Holland-Kaye also called upon the UK’s Border Force to adopt a standard procedure and sufficient resources to facilitate arrivals in a timely manner. Recent border situations highlighted the need to drastically address the hours-long waiting time for processing arrivals. With a new system in place, travellers will ideally receive a smooth welcome.

Convenience for vaccinated travellers

Among the feedback brought up to the UK government was the need to address the colour listing of countries and to adopt a risk-focused approach instead. This would mean allowing vaccinated travellers ease of entry and departure. Those who are fully vaccinated should not be required to take a test, while those who are not vaccinated should continue to take a pre-departure and arrival test and follow up with a PCR test if positive.

Source: Business Travel News

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