By Ron Howells • 05 April 2021 • 19:36
Travel Industry Leaders ‘Disappointed’ By PM’s Easter Update. image: Wikicommons
Travel Industry Leaders ‘Disappointed’ By PM’s Easter Update.
Travel Industry Leaders say the government has “missed” a golden opportunity to provide certainty around international travel this summer in the prime minister’s Easter Monday update. Travel industry bosses have reacted furiously to the advice, which is contained in the new Roadmap Reviews: Update document – published alongside the Easter Monday Downing Street briefing.
The PM said he was “hopeful” that the earliest possible resumption date of May 17 can be achieved but added there were warnings of rising case numbers in some overseas destinations.
A government document released this evening also confirmed the introduction of a traffic light system. However, it did not reveal which countries would be on the green, amber and red lists.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “While we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of a framework for a risk-based approach – which provides some clarity on how testing and vaccine rollouts will facilitate the safe resumption of global flying – it’s disappointing that the opportunity has been missed to provide more certainty to reunite families separated by travel restrictions, to give sunseekers the confidence to book ahead for their summer getaway and to help businesses across the country that have had their exporting ambitions placed on hold by the pandemic.
“Now that a safe, scientifically-backed process has been agreed upon, a clearer timeline for the return to international travel is needed.”
Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said Johnson’s announcement was “beyond disappointing”. He said: “If we are to re-start our economy, we need to have a clear pathway to international travel and trade. This has once again been kicked down the road.
“To be a truly global Britain, we must lead the way in opening borders, supporting vital supply chains, and digitising health certification. The business travel industry continues to be crippled by today’s lack of movement.”
Wratten called on the government “to be confident in its roadmap” when the Global Travel Taskforce reports on April 12, which he said was “our last resort”.
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), said: “We’re disappointed that there wasn’t a clear roadmap for international travel in the prime minister’s announcement but we are confident that work continues behind the scenes and we hope to hear firm plans in coming the weeks.
She said the sector needs a “four nations approach” to restarting international travel in a “phased return” and said not only holidaymakers but those visiting relatives overseas were affected. Dooey stressed: “This is not all about sun, sangria and suntans” and said the resumption of operations was “critical” to the economies of Scotland and the UK.
Regarding the traffic light system, Dooey said: “This system has to have clarity and we all need to know the data which will trigger the move from one category to another. This should be published so that travel agents can advise their clients from a position of knowledge. Moreover, this should be an internationally-agreed system.”
Dooey also backed vaccine certification for international travel, saying “the concept of certificates is a tried and tested one”.
She accepted the need for testing to play a role in international travel, but said the cost was currently “too high to be affordable for the average family”.
Gemma Antrobus, chair of Aito Specialist Agents, tweeted to say: “So Boris is ‘hopeful’ for international travel to start again from 17th May…… unhelpful Boris….maddeningly unhelpful!”
British Ex-pat speaks out
British Ex-pats living in Spain were quick to air their views on social media. Local resident of Mijas, Sandra Evans, said quote: ‘I’m furious and disappointed by the PM’s speech. I was really hoping Johnson was going to add Spain to the UK’s green traffic light system. I haven’t seen my grandkids for almost 18 months, it’s heartbreaking. I have many friends here in the same position, we are all dying to get over to the UK, seems like we have been isolated forever.’
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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