Simon Calder says he’s ‘holding off’ booking a holiday
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While the UK has scrapped its red list, British tourists still face travel restrictions around the world. France has a ban on Britons.
Many British tourists are also put off by the expensive price of tests. Currently, Britons need to take a pre-departure test before arriving in the UK.
They must then take a PCR test on or before day two after arrival in the UK and self-isolate until they receive a result.
The tests can add hundreds of pounds to the price of a family holiday and have made travel unaffordable for some Britons.
Virgin Atlantic has called for testing to be scrapped and said there is ‘no justification’ for it.
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “With the Omicron variant now representing 90 percent of Covid cases in the UK, there is no justification for pre-departure tests before travel to the UK, nor costly PCR testing upon arrival.
“New modelling, conducted by Oxera and Edge Health on behalf of Manchester Airport Group, shows that the introduction of these measures did very little to protect the UK against Omicron transmission and that the removal of all travel testing in January would have no impact on the prevalence of the variant in the community, but would deny the British public the opportunity to connect with loved ones and for business to grow.
“Two years into the pandemic, the travel industry has demonstrated how international travel can operate safely, taking full advantage of our world leading vaccine rollout.
“Unnecessary testing requirements will only result in confusion for millions, damaging customer confidence and economic recovery.
“We urge the UK Government to act now and lead the way for the return of travel at scale.”
Travel expert and CEO of the PC Agency, Paul Charles, tweeted: “I can take a train from London to Edinburgh, mixing with lots of people, and not have to take any tests.
“Why should it be different if I take a train from Brussels to London? Pre-departure and arrivals tests should be dropped.”
There have been reports that pre-departure testing could be scrapped as early as this week as Omicron is now the dominant variant in the UK.
However, even if British tourists can save on tests to enter the UK, they may still face testing restrictions overseas.
Graeme Buck of ABTA, told the BBC: “Many people have seen testing for travel as really costly and quite inconvenient.
“And it has put a lot of people off travel. We’d seen before the Omicron variant emerged that income for travel was down 80 percent. And it will only have got worse.”
Travel expert, Simon Calder, advised cautious British tourists to book with a travel agent.
If a tourist is unable to travel, a package holiday provider should offer either a refund or a chance to change the date of the holiday.
It’s also very important to have good travel insurance in case things change and to check all the terms and conditions before booking.
British tourists who are prepared to take the risk and book a holiday could snap up a January deal.
Many major airlines and holiday companies have huge deals available for trips throughout 2022.
Britons who don’t want to go on a package holiday could try using a website such as Airbnb and Booking.com which sometimes offer free cancellation.
UK tourists should check the UK Government FCO advice before booking or travelling as restrictions can change rapidly.
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