Travel businesses have penned an open letter to the Home Secretary urging the government to lift the 14-day quarantine period to aid the recovery of the sector
Several travel businesses across the UK have signed an open letter to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, asking for the withdrawal of the proposed mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering the UK.
The letter details that the restrictions were not in place in the early stages of the pandemic and the UK allowed flights from infected countries to enter. It goes on to mention that the economic cost of the pandemic is yet to be established. However, estimations have painted a grim picture for the sector.
This comes after it was announced that some UK airports will require people to wear gloves and masks when travelling.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the global travel sector accounts for around 330 million jobs and in the UK alone, almost 4 million. The open letter also details in 2019, the travel industry generated around £200 billion for the UK economy and that these restrictions will have a significant impact on a sector that supports wider communities.
Kerry Golds, MD of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, said:
“We support whatever means necessary to manage and ensure the safety of people around the world.”
“However, a 14-day quarantine will have a dramatic impact on the UK tourism industry, which has already been one of the hardest hit. If this quarantine is to go ahead, the government must act urgently to protect the travel industry, which has been crippled during this pandemic.”
In a recent travel trends report by the luxury travel business and its sister company Cox & Cox, it highlighted that over half of the people polled are already planning a holiday, and 57% of people are looking at European destinations in the next 12 months.
Air bridges being considered
The new 14-day quarantine period will see people arriving after the 8th June subject to the new rule. However, air bridges have been proposed for some countries that have low infection rates. This would mean that anyone flying to and from destinations that are deemed safe would be able to without needing to quarantine.
The Prime Minister said that this would be subject to the country driving down the infection rate. Huw Merriman, chairman of the transport select committee, said:
“that a sensible regime would look at the countries and their R rate and if it’s below ours, then there should be no need for quarantine.”
The air bridges would need to be agreed with other countries said, Mr. Johnson. He explained that the government would need clear evidence that other countries are in a good position to allow entry.
At present, if you are travelling after 8th June, you will be subject to the 14-day quarantine period on return to the UK. On arrival into the UK, contact details will also be taken to ensure compliance with the restrictions. The Home Office said, “People should not leave their accommodation for 14 days.”
This comes after an industry expert has said that the cost of plane tickets could double once lockdown has been lifted, making air travel unaffordable for many UK families.