Travel Network Group chief Gary Lewis has called on government to engage with the outbound travel and tourism sector to create a "long-term, practical plan" to rebuild consumer confidence.
Lewis said ministers must now consider alternatives to blanket quarantine measures, such as regional quarantines, airport testing and better track and trace procedures in lieu of simply enforcing country-wide restrictions at short-notice.
It comes after Spain’s quarantine-free travel corridor was revoked with just a few hours notice last month, followed by France, Malta and the Netherlands earlier in August.
On Thursday (20 August), transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed in a tweet issued shortly after 5pm that Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago’s travel corridors would be revoked, effective from 4am on Saturday (22 August) – giving the trade and consumers less than a day and a half’s notice.
Lewis said the latest quarantine update was another blow to consumer confidence, and a further setback to the travel industry, which he said was "fighting hard to get back on its feet".
“We understand public health must be paramount," said Lewis. "But it is clear we will be dealing with the pandemic for some time to come, so long-term, practical steps need to be made to ensure people can travel for leisure and business safely and confidently again."
"There are measures we have seen being used successfully overseas like track and trace, testing at airports and local quarantines, which we urge the government to consider in place of national-level quarantines and short-notice travel restrictions."
Lewis added that while news of Portugal being added to the UK’s travel corridor list was a boost, it did not detract from the argument for a better regime in respect of international travel.
TTNG is preparing communications and guidance for its 1,000-plus members to provide assistance on the impact of the latest travel restrictions; these will include lobbying materials, which will help the group’s members tequest support from their local MP.