A clutch of new destinations have been added to the travel corridors list – but most are closed to tourists and none are feasible holiday options.
The weekly review of the green list, announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Twitter, saw the addition of Mongolia, Bhutan, Aruba, Timor-Leste, Samoa, Micronesia, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Bhutan is unlikely to welcome tourists until at least February, Mongolia’s borders are still closed, as are Samoa’s, Vanuatu’s, Kiribati’s, Tonga’s and Micronesia’s.
Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands is quarantining all arrivals for 14 days, and Aruba can only be reached via the Netherlands or the US.
Two countries – Estonia and Latvia, both of which are already quarantining UK arrivals – lost their travel corridors.
The largely useless additions to the green list will infuriate those tour operators which have been calling for more corridors to countries that are actually welcoming British travellers. Costa Rica, Belize, Brazil, Cape Verde, Botswana, Mexico, South Africa, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt, all of which have lower Covid case rates than the UK, remain on the quarantine list but are open to tourists.
Nick Van Gruisen, managing director of The Ultimate Travel Company, said: “I cannot see the rationale or logic of opening corridors to countries that do not allow British visitors nor in many cases presently have no commercial airline services. Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka are all examples, and now we’ve got Mongolia and Bhutan.
“All but six or seven countries in the world have a worse Covid record than the UK, and many have very low infection rates. South Africa, Ecuador and Costa Rica are perfect examples.”