Travel industry critical of new green list update
The travel trade has issued a negative response to the latest green list update for arrivals into the UK.
Canada led the new additions to the safe list, with borders also opening to arrivals from Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores.
The changes will come into effect from Monday.
However, it is too little, too late for Julia Lo Bue-Siad, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership.
She argued: “Yet again another traffic light review ending in utter disappointment with Turkey staying on the red list and destinations which are not significant volume destinations making it onto the green list.
“Of those destinations added only Finland and the Azores are open to all visitors without restrictions.”
She added: “There has never been a positive cumulative effect from the traffic light system which makes it almost impossible for travel agents to trade their way into recovery.
“The system is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul which benefits no one.
“It is vital that government minsters make informed decisions in collaboration with industry experts, or we will see business failures by the end of the year as any support dries up.
“The government must recognise that its damaging travel policies are deconstructing an industry on the precipice.”
Frequently outspoken Danny Callaghan, chief executive of the Latin American Travel Association, echoed the sentiments.
He explained: As usual, no positive news for Latin America in the changes to the traffic light gradings.
“Again, we have no clarity no how decisions are made - the government repeatedly talks about ‘following the data,’ but that is not borne out by their actions.
“If we look at the actual data from the last 14 days, nowhere in mainland Latin America has case rates anywhere close to the UK.”
He added: “The most telling evidence that the grading is a complete farce is how the announcements are made.
“[Transport secretary] Grant Shapps is not what you would call camera shy, yet for some reason announcements about travel, which impact thousands of lives and livelihoods, are made late in the day by Twitter.
“Why is Shapps so afraid of scrutiny over these announcements?
“Why not stand at a podium at No 10, and confidently announce how the government is keeping us all safe?
“I imagine the announcements being tweeted from behind the sofa, avoiding the eye of the travel industry, like a child hiding from the gaze of the Daleks.
“Surely this utter shambles can only go on so long before we accept that Covid-19 is here to stay, that there is nothing that comes after vaccination and that, for now at least, one of the riskiest places for Brits to be is here, in the UK.”
Finally, Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said problems around testing will continue.
He added: “As the green list grows, so do the numbers of people travelling.
“With several European destinations added, more people will be looking to head abroad.
“However, unless the government and regulator move swiftly to fix the issues surrounding the overstretched and unreliable private testing system, many more travellers could have their travel plans ruined and be left out of pocket.
“Travelling abroad this summer carries considerable risk.
“Consumers that do decide to book should make sure they go through reliable holiday providers with good, flexible booking policies.”