3:59 AM 18th September 2021
Industry Response To Revised Travel Plans
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians
Responding to the government's revised travel measures, The Advantage Travel Partnership CEO, Julia Lo Bue-Said commented:
"The announcement by government on revised travel measures will be heartening for the industry. Finally we feel that government has listened to our recommendations. Whilst they’ve not implemented everything we believe necessary to trade our way into recovery, these measures will go some way to making travel for fully vaccinated travellers less stressful and a smoother experience than they’ve had in eighteen months.
"The convoluted and frankly ineffectual testing requirements put thousands of Brits off booking as it was confusing, expensive, and stressful. The scrapping of inbound pre-departure tests and PCR day-two tests will give travellers a boost to book now that some of these barriers have been removed. The simplification of the system to remove the green and amber categories and only have one red list also makes life a lot easier for those double vaccinated passengers and opens up the world to greater opportunities to sell for travel agents and to enjoy for consumers.
"Turkey, Egypt and the Maldives coming off the red list is especially welcome giving the British travelling public more options for a sunny Half Term break. With furlough ceasing in less than two weeks, many travel businesses have been clinging on by a thread and these changes deliver some hope that confidence to travel can be rebuilt. Vital change was required and it is testament to the joined up lobbying behind the scenes by leaders within the industry community that a step change has been announced today. In essence, this is positive news for the industry and brings our travel framework closer aligned to those of our EU counterparts, although they do not insist on any testing for their fully vaccinated citizens.
"We hope to hear more details on the nuances of the review and to continue collaboration with government and across industry as we move forward into hopefully a new and brighter dawn for all of us working in travel, consumers and businesses reliant on international travel."
Also reacting to news of the changes, James Martin, Director of Policy at the BCC, said:
“The decision to simplify the traffic light system will be very welcome news for businesses in the travel sector and beyond.
“Hopefully this new regime will provide everyone with the confidence and clarity needed after so much uncertainty.
“Firms will also be pleased to see the changes in the testing system which should substantially reduce the costs which have been a significant barrier for both business and leisure travellers.
“Overseas market access is key for many firms and these changes should help boost the two-way flow of people and freight which is so vital for commerce. Businesses have been cut off from some overseas customers and suppliers for more than 18 months and they urgently need to reconnect.
“More firms will be able to cultivate new business relationships, which can help power the UK’s economic recovery.
“But it is also vital that government takes steps to protect the country’s airport capacity, so it can begin to flourish again after such a prolonged period of isolation.
“Providing a 12-month Business Rates holiday and reinstating the VAT rebate scheme for the sector should be considered immediately to ensure our airports remain viable.”
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director:
“International travel has been one of the hardest hit sectors during this crisis, and the Government’s change of approach can finally help the industry start to get back on its feet.
“Given the successful roll out of the vaccine programme, it’s only right that international travel rules now reflect that with a new two-tier system. The Government’s decision should make it easier and more cost effective for people who are double-jabbed to travel overseas.
“But for the industry to trade its way back to recovery, more will still need to be done to address the cost and complexity of remaining testing requirements and to open up more countries still-closed to UK travellers.
“The Government must put in place measures to support UK Border Force to ensure more efficient and safe handling of arrivals. It should also push strongly for greater reciprocity between countries with similar levels of vaccination and keep the ‘no go’ list under regular review.”