A group of 40 MPs have written to prime minister Boris Johnson urging him not to delay lifting the UK’s ban on overseas leisure travel, claiming foreign holidays will be essential to the UK’s economic recovery.
The cross-party letter, signed by former cabinet minister Karen Bradley as well as chair of the government’s transport committee Huw Merriman and ex-aviation minister Paul Maynard, detailed the value of tourism, travel and aviation to the economy, the Daily Mail reports.
It comes after Johnson, speaking at the government’s latest Covid briefing on Monday (29 March), promised the travel industry an update on the work of the Global Travel Taskforce by 5 April.
The taskforce, which is exploring how international travel can resume safely and robustly from 17 May "at the very earliest", is due to publish its findings in full on 12 April.
In their letter, the MPs said it was "paramount that the restart of international travel provides the opportunity for businesses in the aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin their long journey back to recovery".
Together, they advocate a "risk-based approach" to a resumption of international travel, which would allow travel to resume to perceived low-risk destinations, while reserving tougher measures for destinations travel to which could give rise to the import of new variants of concern.
Their demands, which include the introduction of cheaper rapid testing for arrivals and shorter quarantine periods, mirror those of the aviation sector, notably the Oxera/Edge Health research commissioned by a coalition involving British Airways owner IAG, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow, Manchester Airports Group and Iata.
Henry Smith, chair of the all-party Future of Aviation Group, added the country’s economic recovery could not begin if UK airspace was effectively shut over the summer.