EasyJet Holidays has called for a more "targeted" approached to the UK’s travel corridor and quarantine regime, and has urged government to enter into "open dialogue" with the travel sector to avoid a repeat of its Spain travel corridor bungle.
On Saturday (25 July), the government revoked Spain’s travel corridor, effectively ending – with just a few hours notice – quarantine-free travel between the two countries, including travel to and from Spain’s Balearic and Canary islands where there is a lower rate of coronavirus infection.
The Foreign Office has subsequently advised against all but essential travel to all of mainland Spain and its islands, forcing the UK’s two largest tour operators – Tui and Jet2holidays – to suspend their Spain programmes for several weeks with yet no fixed date on when they may yet be able to resume this summer – if at all.
EasyJet Holidays chief executive Garry Wilson said on Wednesday (29 July) the government must now pursue a "more coherent and targeted" approach, and to work more closely with the industry to avoid "the confusion and instability of last-minute changes seen in recent days".
“After months of uncertainty as travel restrictions were lifted, we saw encouraging signs of growing demand for holidays," said Wilson. "Unfortunately the recent unstructured reimposition of quarantine for Spain is creating renewed uncertainty and unpredictability for consumers.
“We encourage the government to work collaboratively with the industry to deliver a more targeted and structured approach. We need targeted quarantine requirements for regions where spikes have occurred rather than [quarantine] applied at a national level.
"In the case of Spain, its islands are hundreds of miles from the mainland and have very low infection rates, with the Canaries, for example, as low as two [infections] per 100,000 in the past seven days, which is significantly lower than the UK."
Wilson said the operator, which as relaunched earlier this year and plans to work with the travel trade, was keen to work with the government to help customers plan breaks with confidence.
"The recent situation with Spain has again demonstrated how difficult it is for both the industry and holidaymakers to plan, along with hotel and destinations partners needing to make challenging decisions about their businesses and employees where they so heavily rely on tourism," Wilson added.
“For these reasons, I urge the government to have an open dialogue with the industry and quickly move to targeted and regional measures so we can all stay safe and enjoy a much-deserved summer holiday.”