Not enough to ‘save summer’: business leaders say travel is changing too cautious | Economic news
Changes to the travel green list and plans to open more vacation hotspots at the double hit are not enough to save summer for the travel industry, they told ministers.
Business leaders have lined up to accuse the government of an overly cautious approach as destinations such as Spain’s Balearic Islands, Malta, Madeira and Barbados were added to list allowing trips without quarantine from next Wednesday.
The government has also confirmed its intention to allow non-quarantine travel for those who have been fully vaccinated in Amber List countries – which currently include France, Spain, Italy and the United States – but without give date.
Tour operators have been pushing for an earlier lifting of restrictions on vacation destinations as well as the extension of government measures to help it get through the period – and save thousands of jobs – as they continue.
Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren welcomed the addition of some countries to the green list.
But he added: “It is still not the safe and sustainable reopening of travel promised by the government.
“With two-thirds of UK adults set to take a double hit by July 19, now is the time to let UK citizens benefit from the success of the vaccination program.
“The timetable set by the government is simply not ambitious enough. What are we waiting for?
“The apps are in place and the airlines are ready to go, so we are urging the government to act faster and end both quarantine and testing for fully vaccinated people. “
Matthew Fell, CBI’s chief political director in the UK, said: “While welcome, these limited movements on Green List countries will not be enough to save the summer season for the international travel industry.
“International connectivity extends far beyond tourism and underpins our entire economy.
“The successful rollout of the vaccine in the UK means we should be at the forefront of safely restarting international travel.
“Other countries are already moving forward to allow travel for fully vaccinated people.
“The government needs to be more urgent in putting in place a truly risk-based system.
“In addition, urgent support is now needed for the travel industry to prevent the loss of skilled jobs and protect the UK’s long-term global competitiveness.”
Karen Dee, CEO of the Airport Operators Association, said: “Any extension of the green list is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart that the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.”
Ms Dee urged the government to implement its non-quarantine travel plans for those who had been completely stung as soon as possible “to save what is left of the summer season.”
She added that without specific support for the aviation sector, the government’s “overly cautious approach” would mean that many jobs would be at risk.
ABTA, the industry body representing travel agents and tour operators, previously estimated that 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to the latest changes, ABTA Managing Director Mark Tanzer said: “If the government is to continue to impose such stringent constraints on the industry’s ability to trade, we need it to engage. in a tailor-made financial support package for the sector, which recognizes that the recovery of the travel industry will be slower than that of other sectors of the economy. “
At the same time, travel agencies face a withdrawal of leave assistance from next week, when they start contributing to pay temporarily laid-off workers.
“With travel to the most popular vacation destinations still largely limited, they just won’t have the money to do it,” Tanzer said.
A number of airlines have said they are taking legal action on the government’s approach.
Several hundred people, including pilots, cabin crew and travel agents, gathered to protest outside the Houses of Parliament earlier this week.
Following the latest announcement, union Unite called on the government to extend support for the travel industry beyond the current deadline in September – or risk the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
Unite Deputy General Secretary Diana Holland said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that due to policies in the UK and in destination countries, international air travel will not return to normal this year.
“As a result, the government must stop procrastinating and quickly introduce measures that will ensure the UK will still have a functioning aviation industry in the future.”
Brian Strutton, Acting General Secretary of the BALPA Pilots Union, said: “The government did not go as far as it could have opened up safe travel, but it clearly heard the voice of the industry yesterday and replied.
“It’s not good enough to survive and the lack of American roads is a big blow.”