The government has revealed its ‘green list' of 12 countries that will form travel corridors with England when international travel resumes on 17 May.
Passengers arriving or returning from destinations including Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Brunei and Iceland will not have to quarantine when they reach the UK.
Australia, New Zealand, St Helena, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands complete the 'green list'.
The changes mean it will no longer be illegal for people in England to travel abroad for leisure, though they will be required to take a Covid test before and after their trip.
Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal have joined the ‘red list' of countries, meaning returning travellers will have to quarantine in a UK hotel for 10 days. Visitors from ‘red' destinations who are not UK residents will be unable to enter the country.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that from 17 May English residents will be able to use the NHS health app to gain access to vaccine records or request papers to verify vaccine status if required for travel.
The list of ‘green' countries will be reviewed every three weeks from 17 May, but travel trade association UKinbound warned the industry could not afford another stop-start recovery.
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: "The sparsity of countries on the green list and notable absence of the US and much of Europe, along with the cost of testing and the continuation of quarantine measures, present further devastating barriers to business for the inbound tourism industry, which sustains over 500,000 jobs and would normally generate £28.4b annually for the UK economy. "This is not job done, the important task of removing restrictions at our borders is not complete and it will therefore be many more months until recovery can really begin."
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said levels of travel would be "limited" compared to before the pandemic and called on the government to provide targeted support for businesses reliant on tourism.
"The key positive is that the UK is in a position to open up tourism, thanks to the vaccine rollout and testing capacities, and we look forward – in the hope that Covid cases can remain low - to the green list growing and the hospitality and tourism sectors being empowered to drive national economic recovery further," said Nicholls.
Image Shutterstock: Abdul N Quraishi