‘Scrap the test!’: UK travel rules ‘must change’ as Britons ‘look on in envy at Europe’

ABTA's guide for what to do when your holiday goes wrong

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Travel in the UK is not recovering as fast as the rest of Europe, and the industry’s heavy-hitters are now calling on the Government to do more, and faster, to help them survive. The UK travel industry is not doing well, experts have stated.

Confusion around the traffic light system and the cost and inconvenience of restrictions such as PCR tests is hindering recovery, said the industry.

This morning on BBC News, Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents) said: “All the evidence suggests there’s no meaningful difference in positivity between people coming back from low risk countries and people living in the UK.

“Scrap the test for these low risk countries that are the same risk as domestic.”

Graeme Buck, director of communications at ABTA, said: “We must use our collective influence to get the Government to use the strategic review to reopen more destinations and get more people travelling again.”

READ MORE: The three countries at risk of moving to the red list this week

Change was urgently needed, ABTA said.

Mark said: “Our members are 83 percent down on where they were in 2019, so a very long way to go. And of course, these companies have been going for 18 months now without any meaningful revenue.”

He also mentioned “95,000 job losses” and the anticipation of more job loss when furlough ends. 

ABTA’s was not the only call for the scrapping of the current traffic light system.
Heathrow called for an overhaul too, with the airport’s numbers down 71 percent.

The airport was the busiest in Europe in 2019.

It is now tenth, behind Schiphol, Paris and Frankfurt, which are all recovering faster.

Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “The Government has the tools to protect the international competitiveness which will boost the economic recovery and achieve its Global Britain ambitions.”

He continued: “If ministers fail to take this opportunity to streamline the travel rules then the UK will fall further behind as trade and tourists will increasingly by-pass the UK.”

Elsewhere, Manchester Airport also threw its weight behind change, as it was 68 percent down from 2019.

The company operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.

MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: “Fully-vaccinated British residents can only look on in envy as people across Europe enjoy the freedom to travel easily to low-risk holiday destinations.

“With restrictions almost entirely removed across the UK, now is the time to give people back those freedoms to explore, relax and visit loved ones.

“The over-cautious and unnecessarily complex traffic light system is confusing to customers and places needless barriers in the way of them booking travel.

“A simpler, more sensible approach to international travel must be adopted as soon as possible, and government has the opportunity to deliver that in response to proposals put forward by MAG and others in our sector in the weeks ahead.”


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