Fully vaccinated tourists could be exempted from quarantine and testing when they return from amber list countries.
It would mean amber list destinations, which include most of Europe, as well as the US, could effectively go green for the double-jabbed.
However, the options to be considered by ministers are in their infancy and are unlikely to be in place before August.
Currently, Britons are advised not to travel to amber list countries unless it is essential although there is no legal sanction for doing so, provided travellers quarantine at home for ten days after returning and take two Covid tests.
It has not yet been decided whether the proposals will be restricted to people returning to the UK, or those visiting here. It is also not clear whether there will be an exemption for children – or those who are unable to be vaccinated.
The plans will be discussed before June 28, the date on which ministers are due to announce the results of a wider review of the traffic light system for testing and quarantining travellers.
Asked about the plans yesterday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Absolutely no decisions have been made on that.’ A government spokesman said: ‘Recognising the strong strategic rationale and success of the vaccine programme, we have commenced work to consider the role of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel.’
Tory MPs and travel chiefs have long been demanding a system to allow Britain to exploit the success of its vaccine programme for international travel. The EU has agreed no quarantine and testing schemes with key trading partners including the US and Hong Kong.
At least 33 countries including Germany, France, Spain and Greece exempt vaccinated passengers from quarantine.
Henry Smith, Tory chairman of the all-party Future of Aviation group, said Britain would be an ‘outlier’ if it did not adopt the same approach. ‘If we don’t do it, we will be at a significant disadvantage to our international competitors. Public health paranoia will have trumped common sense,’ he said.
Steve Heapy, boss of airline Jet2.com and tour operator Jet2holidays, described the prospect to exempt the fully-jabbed from quarantine as ‘very welcome news’.
‘The vaccination programme was designed to protect people from coronavirus so that they can enjoy their freedoms once again,’ he said. ‘If people have received two doses of the vaccine and are still not allowed to travel overseas to enjoy their holidays, what is the purpose of the vaccination programme?
‘At present, the UK remains largely grounded and our customers are left to look on with envy whilst the rest of Europe opens up.’
Yesterday, Professor Neil Ferguson told the Royal Society of Medicine that current travel restrictions were ‘ineffective window dressing’. He said measures including the mandatory ten-day quarantine were ineffective at reducing the spread of Covid.
The epidemiologist, from Imperial College London, pointed to the rapid spread of the Indian variant as evidence that the quarantine policy ‘doesn’t work’.
He also hinted that vaccinated Britons would be able to go on holiday in the ‘coming weeks’.
He added: ‘Certainly from an epidemiological perspective, having fully vaccinated people travel pose less of a risk than having people who haven’t been vaccinated travel. I suspect we will see something along those lines, evolve in the coming weeks.’