08 Apr

Traffic-light announcement leaves questions unanswered

As I write, we are between Government announcements. Monday saw confirmation that a traffic-light system will come in to help restart travel, but details were scant. More information is expected in the Global Travel Taskforce report to be published either later this week or early next.
In the absence of the detail, there are some substantial questions. Not least is the indication that pre-departure and post-arrival Covid tests will be required even for visits to low-risk ‘green’ countries.  In our submission to the Taskforce, we stated that UK nationals who have been vaccinated should not also have to undergo testing or self-isolation unless evidence around variants of concern dictates otherwise.  Ultimately, travel to and from green countries should be unrestricted but – if testing is to be used in the meantime – it must be at lowest possible cost so as not to deter people from booking a holiday. The Prime Minister has said he is looking at this and we urgently need to understand the outcome.  
We were on the BBC and Sky this week countering the Government line that people should not book a holiday yet, and making the case again that consumers can book with confidence, now. We have also written to Government officials to protest at and understand why retail travel agents, who cannot immediately start making money again when lockdown is eased next week, are eligible only for a lower level of grant funding than others – such as hairdressers – who can immediately start generating income from Monday, and we continue to highlight how tour operators are shut out of the restart grants altogether. It seems entirely illogical.
Once we have the final report from the Global Travel Taskforce, we will review and respond on behalf of all our Members. 

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive