Travel Industry Leaders Complain Key Destinations Have Been Left Off UK Government’s Green List

Travel industry leaders considering legal action against government. Image: Twitter

Travel Industry Leaders Complain Key Destinations Have Been Left Off UK Government’s Green List.

Travel industry leaders have complained that too many key destinations have been left off the UK government’s green list of ‘safe destinations that were issued in a speech to the nation tonight, Friday, May 7.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps today confirmed that 12 countries were on the green list, while Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal were added to the UK’s red list. One of Europe’s main destinations, Spain, was, however, missing from the green list. The government is scheduled to review the list in three weeks so Spain could be added if it’s incidence rates drop enough.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel association Abta was first to raise objections and said: “Although it was good to hear the minister say he wants people to be able to travel this summer, this is a slower and more cautious approach than previously outlined by the government and will delay the industry’s recovery. We also need the government to commit to supporting travel agents and tour operators through what will continue to be difficult times ahead. Travel will be one of the most restricted economic sectors coming out of the pandemic and this needs to be recognised through adequate grants to support these businesses.”

British Airways moved to announce the resumption of routes to Faro, Portugal, from Heathrow, Newcastle, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Chief executive and chairman Sean Doyle said more countries should be added to the green list as other countries’ vaccination programmes match that of the UK – and said it was “disappointing to hear” the government urge travellers to avoid amber destinations.

He said: “We should see more destinations going ‘green’ before the end of June” he added: “We cannot stress more greatly that the UK urgently needs travel between it and other low-risk countries, like the US, to re-start the economy, support devastated industries and reunite loved ones.” and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said he was “pleased” the government has committed to the reopening of international travel but warned, “there is still a long way to go to meet the huge customer demand for our flights and ATOL-protected package holidays”.

The CEO  called for a “simple and affordable testing regime” and added: “We look forward to further positive news about where we can fly to in the coming weeks.”

Heapy said he expected a spike in bookings despite the operator already having suspended its return until June 24 – which it remains “totally committed to”.

“We will be working tirelessly over the next few weeks to ensure that everything is ready for the moment our customers arrive at the airport to begin their much-needed holidays,” he added, urging customers booked to destinations not on the green list to hold off contacting the company – promising it will be in touch once it has made “considered decisions”.

Tui’s UK managing director Andrew Flintham said it was “vital” the government increases the number of destinations on the green list on its next review in three weeks, as vaccination rates around the world improve.

“While we were expecting to see just a handful of destinations on the green list, this is an overly cautious start,” he said.

As the UK’s largest tour operator he said Tui was adding an additional five flights a week to Portugal from May 17 after its confirmation on the green list.

Irish budget carrier Ryanair has announced 175,000 extra seats to Faro, Lisbon and Porto.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.

“We have shown that unrestricted travel to much of Europe is safe and would carry very little risk for the NHS. And with European governments starting to allow their citizens to travel restriction-free if vaccinated, UK citizens risk being left behind and unable to get the best rates for hotels as they will be booked up by European tourists.

“This decision means that so many people will continue to be unable to see their families and loved ones, develop their businesses or go on a much-needed holiday abroad.”

He urged the government to “provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list” so consumers and airlines can plan for the summer.

He said easyJet is “ready and able to ramp up” this summer.


Source: The Times

FacebookTwitterRedditWhatsAppTelegramLinkedInEmailCopy Link
Go Back
Written by

Ron Howells

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.