Key business travel destinations – Germany, Austria and Norway – have been moved to the green list for arrivals to England.
Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, and Romania will also move to the green list when the next changes come into force at 4am on Sunday August 8.
In an announcement on Wednesday night, the UK Government also confirmed that arrivals to England from France will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated as France moves back from amber-plus to amber in the traffic light system.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates, India, Qatar and Bahrain will all move from the red list to the amber list.
But Mexico, along with Georgia and the French Indian Ocean islands of La Reunion and Mayotte, have been added to the red list.
Arrivals from these countries will be subject to 10-day hotel quarantine, which will cost more from August 12. The cost of a stay will be £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult.
The Government said data for all countries will be kept under review and that it “will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes”.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “We welcome more low-risk countries being added to the green list but urge the Government to go further, end uncertainty and allow people to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme.
“The UK’s economic recovery is reliant on a thriving travel sector and right now we’re lagging behind Europe, with our more stringent testing requirements and a Red list significantly broader than our European peers.”
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said: “The opening of routes into the Middle East is of particular significance for business travel. It will take some time for business travel to return at scale, but this enables our sector to contribute to UK GDP and the international trading reputation of our country once more.
“We urge the Government to continue to help the travel sector to get back on its feet and to work to create international protocols that boost travellers’ confidence.”
Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said: “We are disappointed that more destinations were not added to the green list but the additions of India, Bahrain, Qatar, and in particular the UAE, will provide a massive boost to travel and tourism businesses over the coming months.
“Once again, we call on the US government to open its borders to fully vaccinated UK visitors, a move that would have a massive economic benefit both here in the UK and across the Atlantic.”
Charlie Cornish, MAG Group CEO, added: “It is encouraging to finally see decisions that reflect the data on the ground in these destinations and close the gap with the approach being taken in other countries.
“Government must now take this opportunity to develop a stable, sustainable and affordable system that gives people the confidence to book ahead through the winter and into next year.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “The removal of France from the newly created amber-plus list is of course a positive step but arguably it should never have been put into its own special category in the first place. Moving the UAE and Qatar – both of which are key international airport hubs particularly important for business travel – added to the amber list is welcomed but it’s important to be mindful of all entry restrictions too.”
Andrew Crawley, American Express Global Business Travel Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The addition of seven countries to the UK’s green list and the removal of France from the amber plus list gives us some more momentum. Simplifying the traffic light system will give travellers more confidence and help expedite the safe return of international travel.
“While the UK and the EU are making thoughtful decisions about travel, the Biden administration must at least provide a timeline for the withdrawal of the Presidential proclamation (212(f)) that prevents Europeans from entering the US. A science-based and data-driven approach can empower governments to ease travel restrictions whilst prioritising public health.
“The US has banned travel from the UK and Europe for more than 500 days. Every day 212(f) remains in place is another day that families remain separated, vital trade routes remain severed and jobs are put at risk.”