Abta has warned that so long as blanket quarantine remains the government’s main Covid containment strategy, the travel industry will continue to suffer.
The association’s latest plea for a regional quarantine regime comes after it was announced on Thursday (27 August) that Jamaica, Switzerland and the Czech Republic are to be removed from the UK’s "safe travel" list.
All three countries will have their quarantine-free travel corridors revoked at 4am on Saturday morning (29 August), as well as their exemptions from the Foreign Office’s global no-travel advisory.
They join the UK’s no-go list along with Spain, France, Malta, Croatia, the Netherlands, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago, among others.
Cuba, meanwhile, had been added to the UK’s travel corridor list, joining Portugal which was added last week.
“Today’s [Thursday’s] addition of the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland to the government’s quarantine list, and the Foreign Office advisories against all but essential travel to those countries, will have upset the travel plans of many customers, and added to the difficulties of their travel organisers," said Abta.
"As long as quarantine remains the principal strategy in the Government’s containment of Covid-19, the travel industry will continue to suffer.
"Given the rapid change in infection rates in different areas, it is vital the government moves as quickly as possible to assess risk on a regionalised, not whole-country basis.
"Only by doing this will we be able to minimise the impact on consumer confidence to book and to travel, and minimise the impact on an industry that has already seen 90,000 livelihoods affected.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said the continual "stop-start" quarantine announcements had "disastrous consequences" for consumer confidence and in the case of Switzerland, would have a big impact on business travel.
In a statement, Lo Bue-Said made the case for an airport Covid testing regime to combat spread of the infection while allowing the UK to open up its borders more widely.
"Rather than blanket quarantine measures, which is damaging the travel industry, now is the perfect opportunity for the government to introduce testing at airports to instil some confidence back into travellers as time spent in quarantine may be reduced, and it will assist in the prevention of transmission of Covid-19," she said.
"For leisure travellers, it would help ease the worry of the re-introduction of unexpected quarantine announcements like we’ve seen in various other European destinations and make people less concerned about booking future trips.
"For business travellers, it would definitely help to kick-start the sector which needs to begin operating again.”