Iceland is already allowing unrestricted access to Brits who have been vaccinated against Covid and Cyprus says it will do the same from May.
Other countries are looking at doing the same.
Greece says it’s possible that British tourists who’ve had the Covid vaccine will be allowed to enter this summer without a Covid test. It says it’s also looking at accepting British holidaymakers back from May.
Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis says Greece is discussing this with the British Government, which is now known to be looking at introducing a vaccine certificate for international travel.
Israel is also understood to be discussing quarantine-free travel with the UK Government for vaccinated holidaymakers.
But, crucially, neither Cyprus, Greece or Israel have said they won’t allow tourists who haven’t been vaccinated. Greece and Cyprus are expected to insist on non-vaccinated tourists providing a negative Covid test instead. Egypt is also allowing tourists with a negative PCR test.
So far, Mauritius is the only country I’m aware of to insist on tourists being vaccinated against Covid-19, although Iceland might follow suit.
It’s unlikely, but other countries could insist on tourists being vaccination against Covid even though there is no proof as yet that the jab prevents you from spreading the virus.
This could pose problems for young holidaymakers who are low down on the waitlist for the vaccine and families with children who aren’t expected to be vaccinated at all.
It could even be problematic for those who have been vaccinated since the Government hasn’t yet confirmed how holidaymakers will prove they’ve had the Covid jab.
Will travel companies insist we’ve had the Covid vaccine?
Over-50s travel firm Saga became the first in the UK to anounce in January that it will ban customers who haven’t been vaccinated.
P&O Cruises, Virgin Voyages and Crystal Cruises have since followed Saga in announcing that its clients must also be fully vaccinated when they resumescruising in the summer.
The cruise lines say clients must have had the second dose of the Covid vaccine at least 14 days before they travel.
So far I’m not aware of any other UK companies that insist on customers being vaccinated before they travel.
TUI, the biggest holiday company, has said it won’t require customers to be inoculated against Covid.
However, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Globus (all owned by the same company) say customers will have to provide proof they’ve had the vaccine OR produce a negative Covid test OR prove they’ve recovered from Covid within the previous three months.
Will airlines tell customers to have the Covid vaccine?
Australian airline Qantas indicated late last year that it won’t carry passengers who haven’t had the vaccine, but this hasn’t been confirmed. It could become policy by the time it re-launches flights from the UK later this year.
It’s possible but unlikely that other airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will require passengers to have the Covid vaccine before they fly.
Unlike Saga and other tour operators, airlines simply carry passengers from A to B and aren’t responsible for them if they get sick after the flight, so they probably don’t have the same concerns.
Also, there’s no proof, as yet, that someone who has had the vaccine can’t still catch Covid and spread it to others.
Already many air passengers have to provide proof of a negative Covid test before boarding, but that’s because this is an entry requirement of the country they’re flying to.
Will more countries insist on holidaymakers being vaccinated?
It’s possible countries, including Spain, could ban visitors who haven’t been inoculated against Covid-19, but this seems unlikely for two reasons:
First of all, there is no proof that the vaccine prevents the spread of Covid.
Secondly, countries are more likely to keep entry restrictions in place until they have vaccinated their own populations – which seems to be Spain’s policy – and then insist on arrivals being screened.