The announcement of new travel corridors to destinations in South America, Africa and Asia has been welcomed by regional travel associations.
Africa has been granted its first travel corridors with the UK after Namibia and Rwanda were added to the list in transport secretary Grant Shapps’ weekly update on Thursday (19 November).
Uruguay also became the second South American destination to be put on the travel corridor list after Chile’s inclusion earlier this month. The key Indian Ocean destination of Sri Lanka has also been granted a corridor, which means those returning to the UK from the destination do not have to quarantine for 14 days.
Atta (African Travel & Tourism Association) has been running the Open Africa Travel petition to encourage the UK government to introduce travel corridors to the continent.
Chris Mears, Atta’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted that finally the government has granted travel corridors to both Namibia and Rwanda, and this news has been welcomed by both our members in Africa and here in the UK.
“While this is very much a step in the right direction, it is however bittersweet, as there are currently no direct flights from Namibia to the UK.
“We are very hopeful that many more countries across Africa with similarly low rates of Covid infection will now be reviewed and further air corridors implemented in the very near future, and we will be continuing our campaign to get this done.”
Danny Callaghan, chief executive of the Latin American Travel Association (Lata), said Uruguay’s inclusion was “another big step in the right direction for Latin America’s tourism recovery”.
“I hasten to add that, while Uruguay has been added to the UK travel corridor’s list, at present there are restrictions in place for non-Uruguayan nationals or non-legal residents entering the country,” added Callaghan.
“Lata is delighted to see this trend towards Latin American destinations being deemed safe by the British authorities and hopes for the trend to continue.
“We highlighted last week that many other destinations in Latin America have similar and, indeed in some cases, lower infection rates than Uruguay and Chile so we remain confident that we will see more countries joining the list.
“News such as this instils great confidence in us and our members that a recovery is on the horizon and that we will once again be able to welcome British tourists in 2021 after what has been a torrid year for the global travel industry.”
Jean-Marc Flambert, who is a UK & Ireland committee member at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata), said they were delighted that Sri Lanka had been added to the corridors list.
“The key message is that Sri Lanka is very much ready to welcome tourists again once borders reopen to international tourism,” he added.
“The domestic market is open so many of the hotels are running at good occupancy and fine-tuning their Covid procedures ready for international tourists.
“Sri Lanka hotels and DMCs are putting together some really strong packages to support the UK industry as they return to selling; we encourage the trade to take bookings for Q2 2021 onwards, not just for Sri Lanka but all destinations on the travel corridor list in Asia Pacific.
“The British market is resilient so this is another step in boosting consumer confidence in travel to the region.”