Another week, another round of last-minute quarantine announcements. “It’s like Whac-A-Mole,” one BBC journalist quipped. It’s hard to disagree.
There is, of course, positive news: Portugal has finally been added to the UK’s travel corridor list, and Jet2 and Tui have already confirmed their programmes will restart this week, providing a much-needed boost for the beleaguered industry.
But while Portugal is now included, Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago are out, meaning another headache for overstretched agents and operators.
The frustration of the industry is palpable. “The constant changes made to this list is causing confusion and denting consumer confidence even further; Europe is rapidly becoming smaller,” points out Advantage Travel Partnership chief Julia Lo Bue-Said.
Rubbing salt into the wound is the growing concern that Passenger Locator Forms are not being checked.
This week, travel bosses vent their frustration as they recount their own experiences: “The system is pointless and open to abuse,” argues Sunvil’s Chris Wright.
Many in the sector believe the solution to reducing quarantine and boosting consumer confidence lies in airport testing, with Heathrow’s boss insisting such a move would end the “quarantine roulette”.
Ministers will this week meet to decide whether to give the airport’s testing facility the go ahead. If they do, it will be a crucial sign the government is finally listening to the industry’s pleas.
It will be too late to save summer, but could it perhaps help to #SaveTravel?
With destinations being switched off with little notice, several airlines refusing refunds, and some holidaymakers seeking to circumvent the rules, TTG asks: Can we still trust the FCO on travel advice?
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