21 Feb

Australia joins five other top ten travel destinations in relaxing restrictions, as ABTA stresses benefits of booking with a professional

ABTA – The Travel Association is encouraging holidaymakers to seek the expertise of a travel professional when booking their holidays this year, as Australia becomes the latest popular holiday destination to relax travel restrictions for international arrivals.

Today (Monday 21 February), Australia has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists for the first time in almost two years. With 1 in 20 people planning to travel there this year, Australia is the eighth most popular destination for UK holidaymakers in 2022 and joins five others in the top ten[i] that have announced relaxed travel rules this month.

Spain, the UK’s number one travel destination, recently announced that children aged 12-17 can enter with proof of a negative test rather than needing to be fully vaccinated, while France (3rd), Greece (5th) and Portugal (6th) have dropped all testing for those who are fully vaccinated.

From 28 February, Canada (9th) is also set to give fully vaccinated travellers the option to do a cheaper lateral flow test for entry, instead of a PCR test.
ABTA says that these changes, along with the UK relaxing its travel requirements on 11 February, are making it easier for people to set off on their long-awaited holidays abroad, particularly for those who enlist the help of a travel professional.

Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA said:

“With so many of the most popular holiday destinations relaxing travel restrictions this month, many people now have the confidence they need to finally turn their dreams of an overseas holiday this year into reality.

“Now is a great time to start planning a trip abroad and we’re seeing increasing numbers of people turning to travel professionals for extra peace of mind – in fact people with children under 16 say they are now 50% more likely to do so. Not only are travel agents and tour operators experts at finding the best destination for their customers’ particular needs, they’ll also keep them up to date on any changes and package the holiday at a competitive price.”

The remaining countries in ABTA’s top ten are also open to UK holidaymakers. Germany (7th) and Turkey (10th) already allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter with proof of vaccination instead of a negative test, while the USA (2nd) and Italy (4th) currently require fully vaccinated travellers to present a negative PCR or antigen test as well as proof of vaccination.

As travel continues to open up, ABTA is advising holidaymakers to regularly check the latest requirements for their destination at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and to book with an ABTA Member for expert help and advice.

ABTA’s 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. Regularly check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice for your destination and sign up to email alerts.
  4. Take out travel insurance as soon as you book and check its cover for Coronavirus.
  5. Check your travel documents are in order, e.g. your passport validity meets entry requirements and you’ve applied for the visas you need.
  6. Note that many companies offer flexible cancellation and booking policies.
  7. Make sure you know how your vaccination status affects what you need to do on return to the UK.
  8. With your holiday booked, sit back and look forward to heading off on your well-deserved break!

ABTA has comprehensive advice for travelling during the pandemic at www.abta.com/readysteadytravel.

[i] The top 10 overseas destinations people plan to travel to in 2022 are:

  1. Spain (29.3%)
  2. USA (18.1%)
  3. France (17.8%)
  4. Italy (16.4%)
  5. Greece (10.1%)
  6. Portugal (8.7%)
  7. Germany (8.2%)
  8. Australia (5.1%)
  9. Canada (4.5%)
  10. Turkey (4.0%) 

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 around 4,000 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined pre-pandemic annual UK turnover of £40 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the UK public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com