The number of countries on the UK Covid travel red list will be cut from 54 to seven, the government says.
South Africa, Brazil and Mexico come off the red list, which requires travellers to quarantine in an approved hotel at their cost for 10 full days.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes begin on Monday and “mark the next step” in opening travel.
This latest move will be seen as a boost to the airline industry and families separated during the pandemic.
Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic remain on the red list.
The government has dramatically slashed the travel red list, removing 47 countries including a host of popular holiday destinations such as South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.
People arriving from those destinations will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.
Only seven countries are staying on the list: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the moves announced on Thursday afternoon, which come into effect at 4am on Monday, were a “major step forward” for the UK travel industry and travellers.
Strict hotel quarantine requirements will be dropped for travellers from dozens of countries after ministers approved plans to cut England’s travel “red list” from 54 to just seven.
Brazil, South Africa and Thailand will be among those removed from the list from 4am next Monday, but those remaining on it will be Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela.
The step means thousands of people hoping to visit England who would have had to undergo an 11-night hotel quarantine at a cost of more than £2,000 may be able to avoid isolation altogether, depending on their vaccine status.
However, a row remains unresolved between Sajid Javid’s Department of Health and Social Care and Grant Shapps’ Department for Transport about when the requirement should be changed from needing a PCR test to a lateral flow test.
South Africa, Mexico and Thailand are among 47 countries coming off the international travel red list from 11 October
The changes – agreed on a four nation basis – leave a smaller red list consisting of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela in place to protect public health.
This is the first review of countries since the traffic light system ended on 4 October.
In addition, vaccine certificates from more countries will be recognised to allow quarantine-free travel to Scotland.
Certificates from a further 37 countries will be recognised, as well as those issued under the United Nations vaccination programme.
An ongoing four nations process will expand the policy to additional countries over coming weeks, where approved vaccines are administered and certificates meet the required standards.
A total of 47 countries are set to be removed from the UK’s red list for travel in the latest government update, including South Africa – leaving just seven destinations subject to Britain’s quarantine rules.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that dozens of destinations, including Argentina, Chile, Thailand and Mexico, would be bumped up to the “rest of world” list, allowing vaccinated arrivals from those countries to bypass quarantine.
It’s great news for holidaymakers, and for people with families in those countries, who previously faced mandatory – and expensive – hotel quarantine packages.