Jet2’s Steve Heapy today called on European politicians to “come together” and work towards creating European-wide safety protocols that would encourage people to travel again.
Speaking at the #MallorcaSafeTourism virtual seminar on Thursday (29 October), the chief executive of Jet2holidays and Jet2.com said: “We need a European framework for quarantine, for measurements of infection levels and for testing from one country to another.”
He slammed the European Union for working “very slowly” on creating these protocols, which he said needed to be put in place urgently.
“I’ve seen glaciers moving more quickly,” he said. “I would urge European politicians to come together and put those measures in place to get travel moving again.”
Heapy added that lack of European-wide protocols could have serious economic implications for destinations. “We could be heading for a European recession – If we don’t move quickly it could be a depression,” he warned.
He also expressed concern that some country’s safety measures were currently too restrictive, which dissuades people from travelling.
“Although we have to have protocols in place, they need to be as lightweight as possible and unrestrictive for customers – it’s important not to take away the holiday enjoyment,” he said.
“Customers will be forgiving for some holiday disruptions and minor processes being put into place, but they must be delivered sensitivity,” he added.
He described some safety measures put in place on beaches in Italy and Spain – such as plastic screens placed between sun loungers and bans on eating food – as more “like prison” than a holiday, and urged beach destinations to try offer as “normal” an experience as possible to entice tourists back.
When asked about the financial implications of an impending Brexit on the UK economy, Heapy replied that travel restrictions due to coronavirus would have a larger financial impact.
“The bigger risk is quarantine and continued severe lockdowns,” said Heapy. “There’s only so far we can continue like this – if we do it will be catastrophic and make Brexit look like nothing.”