Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the plans will be introduced later this summer, with details to be set out this month
Fully vaccinated people in England will be able to travel to an amber list country without having to quarantine on their return, under new plans set to be introduced this summer.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said more details will be set out in July as the government explores options.
“Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the summer UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries,” he said.
“There are a number of questions that still need to be answered, but what we did want to do is let people know that this is something that we are actively looking at – but it won’t be until later in the summer.”
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the aviation sector will work with the government to ensure the policy is introduced “as soon as possible”.
“It is very positive news that ministers are following the science and that fully vaccinated people will be able to travel safely without quarantine later this summer,” he said.
“We are a cosmopolitan country, a small island with strong links to the rest of the world. Exporters want to get out and sell their goods to the world, families want to reconnect after a year of separation. We will work with the government to make this happen as soon as possible.”
Previously, Tui’s UK managing director argued that a person’s vaccination status should aid their ability to travel more freely, as it does in Europe.
Andrew Flintham said: “In the short term we need transparency from government about how they’ll get international travel open for business again. We need to understand the methodology and data they’re using when applying the Global Travel Taskforce framework – and to then actually stick with the framework that the industry and Department for Transport agreed to.
“As a country we have over 50 per cent of adults vaccinated with two doses and yet we’re not taking advantage of this; by doing so it also removes the complexity and expense of testing for those fully vaccinated.”
Speaking to ABTA Magazine, Garry Wilson, chief executive officer, easyJet holidays, said “consumer confidence is key” to travel’s recovery in the short term.
“For that to be successful we need really clear information and guidelines from our government, applied with some certainty and stability, so that everyone knows what’s expected and required to be able to travel this summer,” he said. “We also continue to push for travel to be as affordable and accessible as possible and are still waiting to see what else the government can do to bring down the cost of testing. The industry, as a whole, also needs some real and very targeted and tailored financial support as it continues to be so impacted. So while we’ve taken decisive action, and within holidays specifically we have really low fixed costs, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners and peers and want to see much more to support our combined recovery.”
The ABTA chief executive and others had some strong words for the government at this year’s Travel Matters conference
Mark Tanzer said that the travel industry is a “political orphan” during his opening remarks at the ABTA Travel Matters conference last month.
The chief executive of ABTA also revealed that the association is investigating legal options to challenge the government.
Tanzer said: “Outbound travel is, by its nature, complex and involves our interacting with many government departments – Transport, Treasury, Business, Home Office, FCDO, DCMS. We accept this and are happy to put the resources into widespread engagement. But that does not mean we are content to be a political orphan. Clear accountability for the welfare of the outbound travel sector needs to be given to a designated minister. Our economic contribution is weighty – more money is spent in the UK by British citizens prior to travelling abroad than is spent by international visitors! – and the job creation (or destruction) potential is huge.”
The ABTA boss was speaking at the annual Travel Matters conference, watched by more than 600 industry professionals. He also revealed that the aviation minister, Robert Courts, had pulled out of speaking at the event.
“We come together at the darkest hour in recent travel history. You don’t need me to tell you of the carnage wrought by the pandemic and the devastating impact it continues to have on travel businesses and travel lives. At ABTA we see this up front and close with long-established members failing or choosing to shut up shop, and heartbreaking stories of personal loss. They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn. This dawn has been a long time coming and we desperately need to see day breaking soon.”
Other speakers at the event included Andrew Flintham, the UK boss of Tui, who blasted the Prime Minister and Chancellor for not granting the industry a single meeting.
The industry had reached the “end of its tether”, he said.
“We are all fighting for one common goal – and that’s to safely reopen international travel. However, as an industry worth £37 billion a year to the UK economy, accounting for nearly two per cent of GDP, and supporting over half a million jobs across the UK, we have not managed to get even one meeting with our Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer.”
Prior to the event, Tanzer said how the government must finally deliver a “package of tailored financial support to see the industry through to recovery, in recognition that the unlocking of international travel, and hence businesses’ ability to trade and generate income, will be much slower than first anticipated”.
“This includes extending existing furlough and self-employed income support, extending full business rates relief and creating a new sector-specific ‘recovery grants’ regime for travel agents, tour operators and travel management companies,” he said. “This is particularly critical now, as furlough contributions are due to rise at the end of June and business rates relief will be tapered, and many travel businesses will not have the money to cover these costs.”
His comments came as ABTA revealed that almost 200,000 jobs have been lost in travel as a result of the pandemic.
“In the long term, we need a coherent, consistent and cost-effective system to facilitate international travel that returns some much-needed stability to the travel industry,” he said. “The virus isn’t going to disappear, so we need to learn how best to manage it so public health is protected, travel businesses can run smoothly and consumers can feel confident about booking and travelling once again.”