UK residents could be barred from travelling to the EU come January first

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Come January 1, 2021, travellers from the United Kingdom (UK) could be barred from visiting the European Union (EU).

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU and unrestricted travel to the block will not automatically apply UK residents.

This means entry into the EU would then be based on essential travel only.

Currently only countries with low coronavirus infection rates qualify for non-essential travel.

There are only eight countries with low Covid rates that are on the approved list for free travel and there are currently no plans to add the UK to that list.

With trade talks between the EU and the UK continuing, many observers believe a deal is some way off and a no-deal is increasingly possible.

Travel expert Simon Calder in an interview with the BBC said due to many regions dependence on tourism, there may be some bending of the rules but, “but there’s no obligations to at the moment”.

This despite the UK considered as having the same status by the EU as countries such as Norway and Switzerland who are all members of the European Union Free Trade Area.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency, agreed, saying: “Cool heads need to prevail at this politically difficult time as travel and tourism is such a key contributor to economic growth in Europe.

“I’m sure that individual countries who need UK tourism will be sensible and override any EU-bloc decision which prevents entry. It is so important now for countries to work together globally to create a consistent approach.”