29 Sep

ABTA welcomes the removal of Foreign Office advice against travel for Egypt, Maldives and Sri Lanka

ABTA – The Travel Association has welcomed the news that the Foreign office has lifted its advice against all but essential travel to the popular winter sun destinations of Egypt, Maldives and Sri Lanka, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks with immediate effect.

As these destinations were removed from the Government’s red list on 22 September, those looking to swap the dull British weather for beautiful beaches, glorious sunshine and warm temperatures this winter have even more options to choose from.

The best time of year to visit Egypt’s Red Sea riviera is October to April, when holidaymakers can enjoy great value cosmopolitan resorts, beautiful beaches and world-class water sports at balmy average highs of at least 25 degrees.

Slightly further afield, the Maldives enters its dry season over the winter months, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy picture-perfect white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and colourful reefs under hours of sunshine and blue skies. In Sri Lanka, the winter months are a great time to visit the west and south coasts and the country’s famous Cultural Triangle.

Holidaymakers should still regularly check the travel advice pages for the country they are visiting at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest entry requirements and local rules relating to Coronavirus. The Foreign Office does still advise against travel to some parts of Egypt for non-COVID reasons, so it is important people check before booking.

Travelling abroad will also be simpler from 4 October, as the traffic light system will be replaced with a single ‘red list’ of countries and territories and fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test in the three days before their return to the UK. From the end of October in England and Scotland, the day two PCR test will also be replaced with a cheaper lateral flow for fully vaccinated travellers.

To help holidaymakers book and travel with confidence this year, ABTA has a hub of essential information and guidance at abta.com/readysteadytravel. This includes a new webpage which explains how the simpler approach to travel and reduced testing requirements will affect holidaymakers from October, a step-by-step guide to help travellers prepare for their next trip, and a Q&A to answer the most common questions about travelling during the pandemic.

Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA said:

“With more destinations to choose from and a simpler system for international travel from October, people have many more reasons to get excited about taking an overseas holiday. There are some great destinations that holidaymakers can travel to this winter, from those that have recently become accessible like Egypt, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, to holiday favourites like Spain, France and Italy.

“We’re encouraging anyone who is thinking of booking a foreign holiday to speak to an ABTA Member, who can explain what the latest advice means for their travel plans and find the best holiday to suit their customers’ preferences. Further guidance and information is also available on our dedicated hub at www.abta.com/readysteadytravel”.
ABTA’s ten top tips for booking and travelling with confidence this year are:

  1. Use the expertise of an ABTA Member to help plan your trip and navigate the latest advice.
  2. Book a package holiday for the greatest level of protection.
  3. Check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice for your destination and sign up to email alerts.
  4. Check what you need to do for your journey back to the UK.
  5. Note that many companies offer flexible cancellation and booking policies.
  6. Take out travel insurance as soon as you book and check its cover for Coronavirus.
  7. Make sure all your travel documents are in order, e.g. your passport validity meets entry requirements and you’ve applied for the visas you need.
  8. If you’re travelling to Europe, there may be extra steps you need to take ahead of your trip. Visit abta.com/Brexit
  9. Research the new measures that will be in place on your journey and in-destination, e.g. the rules around face coverings and social distancing.
  10. With your holiday booked, you can sit back and look forward to heading off on your well-deserved break!

ABTA’s advice on travelling during the pandemic can be found at www.abta.com/readysteadytravel.
Notes to editors
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 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.