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30 Jun 2021

Which countries are on the green watchlist and is it safe to book a holiday?

From Barbados to Madeira, we explain your rights around travelling to a destination on the green watchlist
woman at airport

The government's green watchlist is a subcategory of the destinations that are at risk of moving from the UK's green list to the amber list.

Under the current travel traffic light system, the government advises holidaymakers against travelling for leisure to red list and amber list destinations. It warns, however, that countries or territories may be moved between lists without warning if there is a sudden change in circumstances, such as the identification of a new variant of concern or a spike in infections.

The green watchlist has been introduced to add a level of reassurance for travellers by signalling which destinations are most at risk of removal from the green list.

Which destinations are on the green watchlist?

From 4am on Wednesday 30 June 2021, the following countries will be on the green watchlist:

Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
Antigua and Barbuda
Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca)
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Israel and Jerusalem
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands

What happens if my destination switches from the green watchlist to amber?

While the government advises against leisure travel to any amber list destination, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) doesn't issue specific warnings against travel to many countries and territories that are on the amber list.

This puts consumers in a very difficult situation if their green watchlist holiday turns amber because - unless the FCDO issues a warning against travel to an individual destination - most airlines and holiday companies won't cancel your trip, nor will they curtail your holiday if your destination turns amber while you're away.

Since you're not legally entitled to a refund unless the holiday company or airline cancels your trip, you'll find yourself in the situation where you'll either lose the cost of your holiday or must be prepared to self-isolate for 10 days when you get home. You'll also need to pay for tests on days two and eight of your quarantine, which will likely set you back a few hundred pounds.

If you're already on holiday when your destination changes to the amber list, you'll either have to pay a premium to fly home early or be prepared to quarantine when you return.

Amber list countries: your rights explained

As always, it's important you check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance thoroughly to ensure that you're covered for COVID-19-related disruptions, although most won't cover this scenario.

The best way to protect yourself is to book a package with a holiday provider with a flexible booking policy.

Should I book a trip to a destination on the green watchlist?

If you're willing and able to pay for the tests associated with visiting an amber list country, and if you're in a position to self-isolate when returning from your holiday, then yes, you can go ahead and book your trip to a green watchlist destination.

Since green watchlist counties are at risk of changing to amber at any time during your trip, we'd recommend budgeting and planning for that scenario.

If the extra cost of testing or quarantine requirements would be too prohibitive, then we'd recommend sticking to destinations on the green list.