The government’s decision to disband its short-lived Global Travel Taskforce has been branded "beyond a joke" by the TSSA union.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said the government had effectively "pulled the plug" on the body that should have led travel out of Covid crisis.
It comes after TTG on Tuesday (26 January) learned the taskforce had been wound down just three months after it was established last October.
The taskforce featured no travel industry stakeholders, and appears to have been primarily – and ultimately exclusively – convened to devise the government’s test to release scheme, which was designed to cut the length of returning travellers’ mandatory self-isolation period from 10 days to five through testing.
The scheme, though, was beset with issues from the outset; the full list of testing providers was published just a few hours before the scheme came into effect on 15 December, with one provider pulling out the same day owing to massive demand.
Two other providers were reportedly unable to offer test to release capacity at launch owing to existing testing backlogs, while no clear standard of testing was defined before the scheme went live.
Travellers criticised the rollout, citing limited capacity and confusing gov.uk guidance on the testing providers.
Several days later, the World Travel and Tourism Council said the scheme was "hindering rather than helping" travellers.