The government must expedite its plans to ease the UK’s quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from amber list destinations, Abta has said.
The association welcomed the announcement by transport secretary Grant Shapps late on Thursday (24 June), but said it was vital the change was made as soon as possible to give the industry a meaningful opportunity to start trading its way of out crisis.
“We’re glad to hear the government intends to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers travelling to amber countries, and this needs to be introduced as quickly as possible," said chief executive Mark Tanzer.
"Other countries are already doing this and we are now entering the peak summer season – crucial weeks which represent two-thirds of travel companies’ income – with thousands of businesses and livelihoods dependent on getting more people travelling safely as soon as possible."
Tanzer also warned it was vital the government continued to explore sector-specific support for travel, and for the industry to continue lobbying for concessions.
“If the government is going to continue to place such tight constraints on the industry’s ability to trade, we need them to commit to a package of tailored financial support for the sector, which recognises that the travel industry’s recovery will be slower than that in other sectors of the economy," said Tanzer.
"Travel companies are facing increased furlough and business rates costs next week and – with travel to the most popular holiday destinations still largely restricted – they will simply not have the money to do so."
On the addition of Malta to the UK’s green list, and 15 other countries and territories to the green watchlist, including the Balearic Islands and Madeira, Tanzer added: “Every addition to the green list is welcome, but in reality – with several of these popular holiday destinations being placed on the green watchlist – this will not on its own deliver the meaningful restart of international travel that the industry desperately needs."
Virginia Messina, World Travel and Tourism Council senior vice-president, said the addition of the majority of new "green" destinations to the government’s green watchlist would cause confusion.
“Adding more destinations to the green list, including the popular Balearic Islands, is positive news and will come as a welcome boost to both holidaymakers and the struggling travel and tourism sector.
“However, all but Malta have been placed on the so-called ‘green watchlist’, which will cause further confusion for holidaymakers and dampen demand.
“We are also disappointed that a date hasn’t been set for quarantine-free travel for double-jabbed Brits returning from amber list holiday hotspots, which would allow the industry time to prepare and travellers time to plan.
"Why are we still waiting and not taking advantage of the UK’s highly-successful vaccine roll-out?”