The UK must lead efforts to restore and rebuild international travel by championing global standards for Covid-19 testing and health certification, the Business Travel Association (BTA) has said.
The BTA on Friday (26 March) detailed its submission to the government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which is due to report to prime minister Boris Johnson imminently on how international travel can be restarted safely and robustly.
The taskforce’s report is due to be published on 12 April, although Johnson hinted earlier this week he would be able to provide details of the taskforce’s findings a week earlier.
It is expected the taskforce will recommend an initially limited resumption of international travel based vaccine certification and testing, and a traffic light system to categorise destinations by perceived Covid risk.
The BTA’s key asks include: implementation of global standards for testing and health certification; removal of all quarantine requirements for business travellers; creation of bilateral travel corridors exclusively for business travellers; coverage of "red list" countries under Foreign Office “all but essential travel” advice; and a 72-hour window before any introduction of a country to a red list.
"The UK’s advanced vaccination programme, highly skilled travel industry and position as an international transport hub make it ideally placed to lead the recovery in international travel," said BTA chief executive Clive Wratten.
"We urge the government to take a leadership position in developing robust and enduring standards, and practical and transparent measures, that will get global business travelling again."
The BTA wants the limited exemptions for business travellers introduced in December to be widened to include all business travel activity.
BTA chair Suzanne Horner added: “Business travel is a lifeblood of the UK economy and the government must treat it as the necessity that it is, rather than a nice to have.
"The recommendations we have made in our submission reflect the business travel industry’s skills and experience, and we stand ready to work hand in hand with government to quickly and effectively implement them."