A HOLIDAY to Dubai may not return in time for the summer, it is feared, as it could remain on the UK's red list when travel opens up.
The UAE, which has given the first vaccine jab to more than half of the population ahead of the UK, was put onto the list back in January.
A jump in Covid cases and the threat of the South African variant meant the country was taken off the UK's safe list, when it was one of the most popular holiday destinations particularly with influencers.
However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps previously warned that the Covid levels are not a factor, meaning even if cases continue to improve, it may not open up the country to Brits.
He explained: "We are not restricting UAE because of levels of coronavirus in the UAE.
“The specific issue in the UAE is one of transit. It’s because they are a major transit hub.
“And that is specific issue we have with the UAE as opposed to prevalence or some other reason.”
A petition has been launched to remove the UAE from the rest list by the summer, and has had more than 10,000 signatures.
However, Emirates’ President Tim Clark slammed the decision, saying: "Leaving us on the ‘red list’ for reasons of transit doesn’t make any sense because [passengers] can just go through other hubs.
"It compromises our UK operation for Emirates. It’s a real pity if they keep us on the red list."
Economist Corporate Network director Rob Willock told CNBC: "Considering the UAE and UK are second and third respectively on the global vaccination league table, both having administered at least one vaccine to more than half of their population, one might imagine this is a travel corridor worth reopening."
Travel corridors could open up to some of the European islands before the mainland, Mr Shapps also suggested.
When asked about whether he would introduce a similar travel corridor scheme like last summer, he said: "The simple answer is yes. I want to do that again."
With holidays abroad hoping to resume from May 17, a traffic light system could open up low-risk destinations, although is feared most of Europe could be off the list.
Some experts hope that up to 30 countries could be on the green list, although others fear it could include just eight, with only Malta, Portugal Gibraltar for Europe.
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