The green list of countries people can travel to without quarantining is not dependable, according to the CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association.
CEO Pat Dawson said the list provides no security due to its ever changing nature.
“You won’t go on holidays if there’s something hanging over you that could change, and you could have to leave a country in 24 hours,” he said.
Back on September 15, the government agreed to update the list on a weekly basis. They’ll continue to do so until mid-October, after which Ireland will join the EU traffic-light system.
As it stands though, many travel agents are still struggling. Managing Director of Fahy Travel, Maura Fahy, said that business has ground to a halt.
“We haven’t sold a holiday since the green list came out,” she said.
She explained how the list came out with a 14 day expiration date, and after 10 days it was obvious that a number of countries would be taken off of it.
“So unless somebody is travelling within 14 days in and out we just really can’t take risk,” she said. “I assume that [the list] is for people travelling on short notice – it’s certainly not for holiday plans.”
Dale Manning, owner of Manning Travel in Kilkenny, echoed a similar sentiment, and explained how it has made them more cautious.
A few weeks ago, they had received several inquiries about Greece – a country that was taken off the list last week.
“We took the decision here not to take the bookings because we kind of felt that it could all change very quickly,” he said.
Both Mr Manning and Ms Fahy said that much of the day-to-day work they perform now has to do with cancellations and getting refunds from suppliers. For now, not much is set to change.
“Any solutions that they [the government] come up with have to be ones they [customers] can rely on months in advance or else it’s not going to stimulate any activity,” Mr Manning said.
Mr Dawson added that things are unlikely to be different until rapid testing is brought in and the 14 day self-quarantine is removed.
“The recovery time of the country is being delayed by the lack of investment in testing, and that’s for sure,” he said.
As it stands, only seven countries are on the green list: Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. However, some of these countries have their own rules and require people travelling from Ireland to self-quarantine.