Shapps announcement ‘does nothing’ for inbound travel

UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft has blasted the government’s decision to ease travel restrictions only for double-jabbed UK residents, saying the announcement “does nothing” for the inbound sector.

He said: “Whilst this may be welcome news for Brits travelling overseas this summer, this decision does nothing for the UK’s inbound visitor economy. By keeping Britain closed, we are losing £70m a day in exports, businesses are on the brink, our cities remain empty and viable businesses are prevented from even beginning their recovery.

“As we approach the 19th our inbound visitor economy remains neglected and forgotten by the government, far from talk of freedom this decision risks being the final nail in the coffin for an industry that will be vital to our national recovery.

“The UK’s fifth largest export sector is dying on its knees, and the government must provide more support, including furlough extension and targeted grants, whilst rapidly implementing vaccination certification reciprocity for inbound, as it has done for outbound.”

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle also called on the government to rapidly extend the easing of restrictions to vaccinated travellers from overseas.

He said: “While the quarantine requirement for ‘amber’ countries is being lifted for fully vaccinated UK travellers, the government needs to quickly extend this to all vaccinated travellers, agree a reciprocal deal with the US, add more countries to the ‘green’ list and reduce the need for unnecessary, expensive tests.

“This will allow the UK to catch up with other countries and send a message that Global Britain is now, finally, open again.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The job isn’t done – to really kickstart the UK’s economic recovery, global Britain needs to get trading again. US business can get to the EU, but the UK remains cut off.

“The UK should open up travel to fully vaccinated people from more countries – particularly our key partners in the US – by the end of July. If the EU can do it, so can the UK.”

Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, said: “It is very important that the government prioritises getting the UK economy back on its feet, especially the tourism and hospitality sectors, who have suffered terribly since the start of the pandemic, losing many months of bookings with no way of recovering them.

“We would like to see conversations happening now with the government about how we fully open up the country to double vaccinated travellers from green and amber countries and encourage more international visitors to come to the UK this summer.”

She added: “Many people from abroad want to visit this country, simply to see their families, relatives and friends that they haven’t seen for many months. And we also need to enable business travellers access to the country so that the UK’s global economic footprint can continue to thrive.

“We agree with the prime minister that now is the time to relax the majority of COVID restrictions and that those should extend to travellers from other countries coming to the UK, not just UK holidaymakers returning home.”

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