30 Jul

ABTA launches an FCO exempt countries guide and customer information leaflet to help Members and their customers through the changing travel experience

As the landscape regarding country access and restrictions looks set to remain complex for the immediate future, ABTA has introduced two new resources to help Members and their customers to understand the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and guide them through what to expect from their holidays.

To help Members navigate the FCO’s travel advice revisions for British travellers, ABTA has created a new FCO exempt countries guide which illustrates the various mandatory COVID-19 entry requirements, health checks, and quarantine rules for the countries that are exempt from the FCO’s global advisory against all but essential travel.

Designed as an easy-to-digest snapshot of the current travel landscape, the guide details the FCO exempt countries in alphabetical order, uses six different icons to illustrate the mandatory destination entry restrictions and sets out whether travellers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempt from quarantine on their return to the UK.

The six icons indicate whether British nationals are currently permitted to enter that country, whether a negative COVID-19 test is required on entry, what quarantine rules and booking information are required on arrival, any transit rules regarding connecting flights, and other restrictions to consider such the rules regarding face coverings and closed borders between neighbouring countries.

Developed by ABTA’s Destinations team, the FCO exempt countries guide will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the mandatory COVID-19 related changes to the travel advice, with new countries added or removed as per the latest advice from the FCO. Given the fluid nature of the situation, ABTA continues to advise its Members to refer to the FCO travel advice, destination and UK border control requirements as their primary source of current and specific travel advice and update their customers accordingly. 

The guide is complemented by a new customer information leaflet entitled “Get ready for travel: customer tips and information for going on holiday or travelling abroad” which provides handy tips and considerations for anyone who is preparing to travel overseas for either business or leisure, from the research stage through to their return to the UK. 

Hosted on the consumer advice page on ABTA’s website at abta.com/restartingtravel, the leaflet includes the importance of reading the FCO’s travel advice pages for their intended destination for the latest Covid-19 related requirements, as well as taking out comprehensive travel insurance and checking that their passport will be valid for their travel dates.

Other new considerations include packing a sufficient supply of face coverings and hand sanitiser for the trip, researching any changes to check-in procedures, meal services onboard flights or new measures in the airport terminal, as well as being aware of local policies regarding social distancing or face coverings once on holiday. For their return to the UK, holidaymakers are advised that they will need to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator form and have an electronic or paper copy on them ready for inspection.

Members are encouraged to share the leaflet with their customers, which is available as a printable A5 leaflet or as a PDF that has been optimised to view on a mobile phone and can be embedded into eTickets. 

Angela Hills, ABTA’s Head of Destinations, says: “In these unique circumstances, it’s important that we continue to support our Members with the required resources to guide them and their customers through the changing travel experience. The varying rules, regulations and restrictions for overseas destinations can seem quite complicated, and we hope that these new tools will help our Members to answer questions from customers so they can book with confidence and look forward to their holidays.”

The FCO exempt countries guide is a free resource for all ABTA Members and is hosted in the Member Zone at www.abta.com/fco-exempt-countries. The new customer information leaflet is available for ABTA Members to share with their customers and can be downloaded at abta.com/restartingtravel.

Notes to editors

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 
The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.