Boris Johnson is facing a fierce backlash from travel industry chiefs after his gloomy warning that this year would be a ‘difficult year for travel’.
Inews reports that tourism bosses have told the Government “enough is enough” and that the travel industry is being “destroyed” because there are so few countries on the green list.
Boris Johnson is facing a fierce backlash from travel industry chiefs after his gloomy warning that this year would be a “difficult year for travel”. In a further blow to summer holidays, the Prime Minister said: “There will be hassle, there will be delays I am afraid, because the priority has got to be to keep the country safe and stop the virus coming back in.”
Noel Josephides, chairman of travel agency Sunvil and former chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said: “Our partners don’t trust anything the UK government says because it changes all the time. “Europe’s moving ahead of us. We’re being left behind and our whole industry is being destroyed.”
And Chris Rowles, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said: “They need to open up travel, and quickly. Enough is enough, especially with the successful vaccination programme and the fact that we are all well used to measures such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitising.”
Their remarks also come after new figures showed that fewer than one in 200 amber list arrivals are testing positive for coronavirus. Eighty-nine out of 23,465 people – or 0.4 per cent of travellers – tested positive for the virus on their return from 167 amber list countries, NHS Test and Trace figures for 20 May to 9 June show.
Reacting to the new data, Mr Rowles said: “It proves that there is no need to have so many countries barred from the green list, and that there is no need for quarantine or self-isolation on return from the vast majority of short-haul holiday destinations. “Why are we being barred from travel to so many countries? The Government claims to be watching the much-discussed ‘data’ closely, but this data is certainly not supporting their actions.”
The figures, first reported in The Times, show there were no positive cases from 151 of the countries on the amber list and that no “variants of concern” were found, although the Government said it was yet to sequence all the cases and variants could be detected at a later date. No travellers from the 11 countries on the green travel list tested positive for Covid during the same timeframe, while 435 of the 24,511 people arriving from red list countries had the virus, working out at 1.8 per cent. Meanwhile, Office of National Statistics
(ONS) figures showed one in 520 people in England tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending 12 June.
Mr Josephides said he hoped the data would pressure the Government to reopen soon. He told i: “The Government should wake up and understand what their policies have so far done to this industry. “This data shows how safe it is. It doesn’t surprise me at all. They certainly can’t hide behind coronavirus as a reason not to reopen travel but no doubt they’ll find some excuse. “I’m not confident as our hopes have been dashed so often. All the figures are there now, I don’t think they can deny them.”
Last week i reported that the four-week delay to domestic unlocking meant overseas holidays to European and US hotspots were likely not to be allowed until August. On Monday Paul Charles, founder of travel consultancy the PC Agency, said on Twitter that ministers are “still briefing August for opening up further”, adding: “It is clear they want 70 per cent double-jab immunity. Even though the US and EU are letting their citizens travel. ”Mr Charles claimed “in-fighting among cabinet ministers” over reopening travel is threatening thousands of travel sector jobs. On Sunday he told Sky News: “(It) would be fantastic if the Government stuck to the data but it clearly isn’t. All of our analysis and all of the data is showing that there are many more countries that could be added to the green list, and in fact the Government’s own data is showing that there are few if any variants of concern now being found in tests on those people coming back from over 150 amber countries.”
(Story source: Inews)