Mark Bibby Jackson is passionate about travel and the joys of visiting new places.
He is founder and group editor of websites Travel Begins at 40 and London Begins at 40, as well as the award-winning author of three thrillers.
He is the former editor of AsiaLIFE Cambodia.
Alongside the slightly confusing traffic light system and various restrictions, the world of travel is slowly beginning to open up. A question you may well be pondering is which countries you might plan to visit for your long overdue holiday?
Pre-Covid there was much talk of over-tourism. Destinations that had traditionally welcomed visitors with open arms, such as Barcelona, Lisbon and Venice had almost declared war on the international traveller, imposing tourist taxes, barring cruise ships and day-trippers, while locals adorned walls with graffiti making it abundantly clear that tourists were not welcome in their neighbourhoods.
Now countries are once more turning towards tourism revenue to stoke their economic recovery and provide much-needed income for those very same communities. The past 18 months has shown us how vital tourism revenue is to local economies.
So, which destinations might you put on your travel list? Let’s take a look.
Changing traffic lights
The first question is, of course, where can we travel?
It is important to remember that even when the UK Government is content for us to return home without entering quarantine, this does not mean the destination nation is equally as welcoming. My key advice to you is that before you commit to any international travel you choose travel insurance to cover such an eventuality.
The following five destinations, all of which are currently on the UK Government Green list apart from Ireland, are ones you might consider visiting this summer:
Taking one example, at the time of writing Croatia is on the green list. This is a beautiful country with a wonderful coastline as well as plenty of historic sites to visit – an affordable destination for a family holiday that is well worth considering. It currently requires proof of vaccination for entry from the UK as well as a test upon arrival. You can keep up with the precise requirements on the UK Government’s website.
This might be the ideal time for you to visit the Rock of Gibraltar, one of the few places where you can get some sun without strenuous testing and quarantine regimens. Apart from the great weather you can go on a cycle tour of Gibraltar or visit the museums and art galleries. As of writing all arrivals need to take a Lateral Flow Test upon arrival, which can be booked at https://www.covidrapidtest.gi
Alternatively take the short hop across the Irish Sea to Ireland and explore the wonderful history, amazing landscapes and great food. You might not be guaranteed the best of weather, but so long as you have been vaccinated you will not need to be tested either before or upon arrival. If you have not been tested you will have to be tested prior to your flight, and also quarantine at home upon arrival.
If it is sun that you are seeking then Malta could be your best – and easiest – option, so long as you are fully vaccinated. The Mediterranean island has a wonderful collection of archaeological sites and ancient ruins in addition to the great cuisine and climate. Explore the capital Valetta or just chill on the beach. Unfortunately, if you are not vaccinated then you will have to turn another leaf. Further details can be found on the Foreign Office website.
Barbados or Bermuda
Although long-haul options are extremely limited at the moment, if you are prepared to take a test upon arrival, both Barbados and Bermuda are great options, although as both are on the green watch list, they might turn amber while you are on holiday. Fully vaccinated travellers can take a test upon arrival. Those not vaccinated will need to isolate at a government-approved hotel, which really is not the way to start your holiday.
The list of green list countries can be found at www.gov.uk
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