LONDON – In an interview with the BBC, the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told viewers that he is “not advising against booking foreign holidays” in an effort to improve booking confidence.
This comes following the government’s decision to remove the Declaration to Travel Form, with it being welcomed by those in the industry.
However, the sector is still calling for the international restart to happen by May and more support should be given to countries that will end up in the green list via the proposed traffic light system.
CEO of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss has stated that countries that end up in the green list shouldn’t require a PCR test or any form of quarantine.
“For travel between green countries it should be absent quarantine and absent testing. There are better ways of doing what the government has set out to do.”Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic CEO in an interview to BBC Radio
Weiss also mentioned in this interview that PCR tests are expensive as it is and that if this is required for travel, then it would put off some customers from booking a holiday in time for the Summer.
This is a recent development, especially with the news that the United States could be open for UK travellers by next month as well, but there has been considerable focus around European destinations more, as most of the UK carriers operate into that area.
Data from The PC Agency has shown that countries such as Malta, Israel and Portugal will be likely to be placed into the green list from May due to the low and dropping rates of COVID-19 cases.
Spain is currently in the Amber, which is a big market for UK carriers such as easyJet, TUI, Jet2 and others.
This indication from Shapps may have been something brought up in substance, with the general belief that by May, more European countries may be added to the Green.
The next few weeks will be vital, not just for the UK travel sector, but for the rest of Europe in particular, as it aims to get as many people vaccinated to make enough of an impact on such a traffic-light system.
All eyes will be on the UK Government to see how they can help this sector thrive as much as possible, especially with the travel and tourism sector collapsing over the last 12 months, with £148 billion wiped from the UK Economy, which is a drop of 62.3%.