Ever-changing UK government advice and strict quarantine measures have “shattered” the public’s confidence in overseas travel, according to a scathing report.
According to research by travel agents’ trade body ABTA, 93 per cent of people polled are concerned about potential last-minute changes to foreign office travel advice
Some 80 per cent also concerned about having to quarantine when they return from holiday to the UK in a damning verdict on Boris Johnson’s coronavirus travel policy
ABTA stated that many companies desperately needed help to survive and clear guidance from the government. It also reiterated demands for regionalised travel corridors to be introduced by the UK government to kickstart the industry.
Other countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, already operate fully regionalised approaches to their own quarantine regimes, and many countries have introduced testing to reopen travel to a greater number of destinations.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “What travel businesses need more than anything is for people to feel confident enough to travel again, and policy decisions taken by government to manage the pandemic have served as a straitjacket to travel.
“The chopping and changing of quarantine measures and travel advice means what went back on sale one week is taken off again the next.
“This, coupled with an increasing number of local lockdowns in the UK, is creating extremely difficult market conditions for travel businesses.
“Without action from the Government, we are going to see businesses that would be perfectly viable if Government were to ease restrictions on travel closing their doors, and thousands of jobs will be lost. Addressing these issues, while maintaining health precautions, must now be a priority for ministers.”
In ordinary times, the UK’s travel industry supports over 100 million trips annually, with an economic contribution of more than £60 billion, and employing close to one million people.
ABTA has called for special measures from the UK government to help the sector.