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Travel stocks surge as UK to review COVID traffic light rules

·2-min read
Travel bosses are also calling for an exemption to quarantine for fully-vaccinated people from amber countries. Photo: Getty Images
Travel bosses are also calling for an exemption to quarantine for fully-vaccinated people from amber countries. Photo: Getty Images

Travel stocks have been boosted amid hopes that the UK will relax some of its strict travel regulations.

The government, which said it will re-evaluate its travel traffic light rules every three weeks, is said to be ready to announce the latest changes later on Thursday.

Travel agency TUI (TUI.L) was up about 1%. Budget airline Ryanair (RYA.L) gained 1.8% and Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ.L) was up 0.7%. British Airways parent IAG (IAG.L) ticked up 0.3%. In Europe, Lufthansa (LHA.DE) rose 1.3% and Air France (AF.PA) was up 0.8%.

The UK system divides countries into three zones: red, amber and green. Those travelling to red list countries need to quarantine in a hotel for ten days, which they must pay for themselves, upon return to the UK.

Those coming back from amber list nations need to quarantine at home, while those returning from green list countries don’t need to quarantine at all.

Read more: Bank of England set to ignore rising inflation at Andy Haldane's final MPC meeting

There are currently 11 countries on the green list, and the travel industry has urged the government to add more. Portugal was initially on the list, but was removed in the last review.

The travel industry held protests earlier this week calling on the government to safely reopen travel and provide financial support to help the sector get through the crisis. The industry also wants more countries on the green list.

Ryanair's stock was up on Thursday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Ryanair's stock was up on Thursday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

Travel bosses are also calling for an exemption to quarantine for fully-vaccinated people from amber countries.

"The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end," said ABTA, an association of travel agents and tour operators, which backed the protests.

Data from ABTA estimates that as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry.

"Although travel is no longer illegal the industry says the government has failed to deliver a restart to international travel as promised, by undermining the risk-based system ministers established for a safe return to travel," ABTA said.

It added that in comparison, other countries "are forging ahead with pragmatic, risk-based schemes that allow safe travel".

But UK travellers could face another hurdle: German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested EU members should make Britons quarantine on arrival to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?

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