When it comes to the summer holidays for 2021, the thought of being able to pack a suitcase and hit the airport for even the shortest of mini-breaks would mean the world to some people.
And while it's been too tricky to plan too far ahead, with the ever-changing state of the world health pandemic making a UK staycation desirable, it's a perfect time for us spur of the moment types to grab our best eReaders and think about where we'd like to jet off to when we get given the green light from the government.
A special traffic light system is being put together that will signal which countries will be open to overseas visitors as early as 17th May. Countries will be categorised as "red", "amber" or "green" depending on the proportion of their population that has been vaccinated, its infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern, and its capacity to sequence their genomes.
And while we get used to the lockdown restrictions lifting come 12th April, the government's official green light list isn't expected to be released until as late as 10th May, travel experts have crunched the numbers to see which countries are expected to be on that travel green list...
A top summer getaway could be this far flung Mediterranean escape. Despite having fewer connections than Italy and Croatia, it is leading the way when it comes to vaccinations - 54.2% are fully vaccinated while a further 58.6% have received their first dose.
It's also likely to be added to the travel green list as it joined Greece in setting up a 'vaccination bubble' in which all arrivals between the countries can benefit from not having to quarantine on arrival with proof of immunity. Something which Cyprus is keen to be involved with.
Gibraltar is paving the way when it comes to getting its people to sign up for the vaccination campaign as almost 100% of its population has received the first dose.
British Airways has just launched flights from London City airport to Gibraltar from 25th June as its bars and restaurants are already open - with face masks only required when travelling on public transport so it's a strong contender to be on the travel green list.
Madeira is already welcoming travellers who can prove they've had their vaccination. So this island could be a top getaway for either a mini-break or a full-blown holiday. Mainland Portugal isn't fairing up when it comes to its vaccination drive making it unlikely to appear on the government's travel green list but the island is still in sights!
The Caribbean has been consistently available to travellers since the pandemic began - with eight Caribbean islands welcoming British travellers ever since the government got rid of its travel corridors in January 2021.
And with Barbados, Cuba, St Lucia, and Antigua just requiring testing prior to departure or on arrival, or both, as a means to escape quarantine.
It's likely that the islands will start accepting a vaccination certificate as an alternative to testing and is likely to be on the travel green list of summer 2021 destinations.
One of the most promising destinations is Iceland because since 18th March, all Britons who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are allowed to travel to the country without being subject to PCR testing and quarantine.
The exemption also applies to UK travellers who can provide valid proof of prior infection.
At the time of the announcement, Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, head of visit Iceland, said, “We are excited to safely reopen our borders to fully vaccinated British citizens, as well as those who are no longer susceptible to the virus."
Malta has pledged to open its boarders to vaccinated British arrivals from 1st June.
This is a result of a strong vaccination drive which has seen a third of its population receive its first dose.
Tolene Van Der Merwe, Malta Tourism Authority director UK and Ireland, said, "The people of Malta are looking forward to tourists returning who have loved our sunshine, culture, food and warm spirit year in year out.
"Malta has implemented its ‘Sunny and Safe’ Covid protocols so visitors can be reassured all restaurants, accommodation and service providers must comply with the highest levels of cleanliness and safety."
A third of all adults in the US have received their first jab and this makes it promising for holidaymakers as the director of the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a watershed report on April 2, indicating that the country’s top scientific health body is preparing to loosen the pandemic-enforced bonds on its US$233 billion international tourism industry.
And with London - New York City flight route one of the busiest in the world for business travel, it's expected that the government will put it on a travel corridor in the coming weeks.
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