People in England can start thinking about booking foreign holidays again this summer, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
But he said the cost of the Covid tests required needed to be driven down, amid criticism from the travel industry.
Mr Shapps has also given more detail on the traffic light system which will see countries graded on their risk.
Passengers will have to take the tests before leaving and on returning – even from low-risk “green” countries.
There will also be a watch list for countries most at risk of going from green to amber to provide greater assurance for those looking to travel abroad.
Announcing the findings of the Global Travel Taskforce set up by the government to examine how leisure travel could be reopened safely after lockdown, Mr Shapps said foreign holidays would resume on 17 May at the earliest.
He told the BBC: “This is the first time I’m able to come on and say I’m not advising against booking foreign holidays.
“Yes, you’ll want to check what the situation is in two or three weeks’ time when that list – the green, amber, red, is produced – you’ll want to know that you’ve got good holiday insurance and flexible flights and the rest of it.
“But for the first time I think there is light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll be able to restart international travel, including cruises by the way, in a safe and secure way, knowing about the vaccinations, everything we know about the disease this year, and of course that abundance of caution – having the tests in place.”