The industry’s verdict on the 17 May restart was almost unanimously that it did not go far enough.
The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said Shapps, needed to go further to reconnect the UK “to its most important markets”.
Bar UK chief executive Dale Keller said: “This tepid reopening marks an important first phase but the very limited number of countries initially allocated as ‘green for go’ from 17 May will leave a lot of people disappointed and aircraft and jobs grounded.
“The majority of countries remain in the amber category with arrival restrictions unchanged from today regardless of vaccination status, so there is little prospect of business or leisure traffic building significantly on these routes in the first phase.”
Virgin Atlantic also said the measures failed to go far enough “given that economic recovery and 500,000 jobs are at stake”.
“The lack of action now will result in the UK falling behind the EU’s reopening,” it said.
“There is no reason for the US to be absent from the ‘Green’ list. This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the UK’s successful vaccination programme.
“Further, travel to and from Green countries should be free of testing and quarantine. Vaccinated passengers travelling to Amber destinations should also be free from testing and quarantine, consistent with the approach to vaccinated passengers taken by the US and the EU.”
Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee branded it a "missed opportunity" and said it was “disappointing that so few countries are on the green list”.
“This is not yet the meaningful, four-nation restart UK airports and the economy need.”
“Pre-pandemic around a million UK jobs were supported by UK aviation, so a full recovery must be a priority for government. Ministers need to use the upcoming reviews to reduce restrictions for fully vaccinated people, just as the EU and the US are planning. This is particularly important for restarting the UK’s inbound tourism sector.”
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said 17 May was a “positive step forward and will be celebrated across the sector”,but said the industry “cannot afford another false dawn and a stop-start recovery”.
“The sparsity of countries on the green list and notable absence of the US and much of Europe, along with the cost of testing and the continuation of quarantine measures, present further devastating barriers to business for the inbound tourism industry, which sustains over 500,000 jobs and would normally generate £28.4 billion annually for the UK economy.
“This is not job done, the important task of removing restrictions at our borders is not complete and it will therefore be many more months until recovery can really begin.”
SPAA president Joanne Dooey was more positive: “Grant Shapps’ announcement today is a positive first step for travellers and travel agents alike and is to be welcomed," she said.
“However, we now await Scotland’s position on this before we can be confident of the restart of international travel for the Scottish travel sector.”