Abta has produced a guide of countries exempt from the Foreign Office’s advice against non-essential travel, and a customer information leaflet to help its members navigate ongoing changes.

The two new resources aim to help members understand the latest advice and guide their customers through what to expect on holiday.

The FCO exempt countries guide illustrates various mandatory Covid-19 entry requirements, health checks, and quarantine rules for countries exempt from the FCO’s global advisory against all but essential travel.

Designed as an ‘easy-to-digest snapshot of the current travel landscape’, it lists exempt countries in alphabetical order, uses six different icons to illustrate the entry restrictions and sets out whether travellers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempt from quarantine on return to the UK.


Icons indicate whether British nationals are currently permitted to enter, whether a negative Covid-19 test is required on entry, quarantine rules and booking information required on arrival, transit rules regarding connecting flights, and other restrictions such face coverings and closed borders between neighbouring countries.

Developed by Abta’s Destinations team, the guide will continue to be updated as advice changes, with countries added or removed as per the latest FCO advice. Abta still advises members to refer to the FCO travel advice, destination and UK border control requirements.

The guide is complemented by a customer information leaflet called Get ready for travel: customer tips and information for going on holiday or travelling abroad, which provides tips and considerations for those preparing to travel overseas for either business or leisure, from the research stage through to their return to the UK.

Hosted on the consumer advice page on Aba’s website, the leaflet includes advice on the latest ovid-19 requirements, travel insurance passport validity, face coverings and hand sanitiser, changes to check-in procedures and airline service, social distancing policies and when holidaymakers must complete public health forms.

Members are encouraged to share the leaflet with their customers. It can be printed, viewed on a smartphone, or embedded into eTickets.

Abta’s head of destinations, Angela Hills, said: “In these unique circumstances, it’s important that we continue to support our members with the required resources to guide them and their customers through the changing travel experience. The varying rules, regulations and restrictions for overseas destinations can seem quite complicated, and we hope that these new tools will help our members to answer questions from customers so they can book with confidence and look forward to their holidays.”

Speaking to Travel Weekly, she added: “We appreciate it’s been quite challenging for the industry to navigate the changes to the travel advice. This guide will provide travel agents with a snapshot of what destinations are open and summarises it in a user-friendly way.”

Hills stressed that the tool “does not absolve agents or customers from reading the full FCO advice”, but said the “bitesize” resource was designed to “give the fundamentals”.

“Agents can use it to explain the situation in destinations to customers, and guide conversations. They can give them confidence or perhaps divert them to a different destination,” she explained.

The new resources are in addition to Abta’s Post Pandemic Recovery Guide, launched last month, which Hills said was designed to offer a broader picture of how travel is to restart, and complement Abta’s Tourism Accommodation Health and Safety Technical Guide.

Hills said the Recovery Guide could be used to answer wider questions on how travel would be in a post-Covid world, but would not offer specific information on suppliers or destinations.

It can also be used by Abta’s supplier members to implement changes in how they work as travel resumes.

“The restart of travel has been quite complicated, with lots of different countries and lots of different rules and regulations,” said Hills. “It was important to put some guidance together for our members and destinations so they can respond quickly and accordingly to key parameters such as local laws and regulations.”

Hills noted that the Post Pandemic Recovery Gudie may help some members find ways of implementing more sustainable health and safety measures. She said: “We were concerned that some of the key measures included introducing throw-away plastics – but that isn’t necessarily the right way to go about things.”