Tui UK and Ireland’s chief executive has called on the government to “not wait an arbitrary 28 days” to add countries to the quarantine exemption list when they’re deemed safe.
The UK government has said it will review its list of 59 countries exempted from a 14-day quarantine, announced on 3 July, with the first due on 27 July.
Speaking to TTG during a Tui trip to Ibiza over the weekend, chief Andrew Flintham said Cape Verde, Portugal and Bulgaria were the obvious omissions from the list, along with Tunisia and Morocco.
“Clearly the second they can go on the list that’s the second we’ll be able to plan those back into our programme,” he said.
“That could be this year, but that’s dependent on when the list is updated.
“That’s the conversation we’ve had with government: if you’re going to be reviewing this every 28 days, in 28 days we’re going to be starting to miss the summer holiday.
“No one knows when schools will go back to normal but our expectation is they’ll still go back in September, so we’re kind of boxed in.”
He continued: “I think their (government’s) strategy is science-based.
“If those infection rates [in some countries] start to turn negative then they will act and in effect start to take countries off the list, which is science based. And health and safety is the most important thing.
“What we’ve asked for them to do – which is an industry ask – is they add countries when the science dictates.
“Don’t wait an arbitrary 28 days but put it on when it becomes right to put it on.”
Flintham added that “the big question mark” was long-haul.
“Actually a lot of our customers have been very resilient and positive about booking long-haul holidays,” he said.
“But depending on the part of the world, we don’t quite know e.g. Mexico or the US.
“We cancelled Florida partly because we currently can’t go, but also the Disney experience isn’t going to be the normal Disney experience.
“We’re not going to operate somewhere if we don’t think we can deliver what people want.”