//Testing ‘introduction delayed’
testing for coronavirus at airports

Testing ‘introduction delayed’

ABTA has urged the government to introduce regionalised quarantine and testing measures.

Plans to introduce Covid-19 testing for international arrivals has been delayed despite hopes its introduction was imminent, according to a report.

Downing Street is said to setting up a global travel taskforce to look at proposals, meaning a decision will not come until next month, at the earliest, according to the Guardian.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, who is due to speak at ABTA’s Travel Convention, had implied an impending change while speaking at the Tory party’s virtual conference on October 5.

A Department for Transport spokesperson told the newspaper there was no delay over plans, adding: “As we’ve been clear, work is ongoing with clinicians and health experts on the practicalities of using testing to reduce the self-isolation period for international arrivals.”

ABTA is urging the government to move to regionalised quarantine and introduce testing to restore confidence in travel. New figures reveal four in five people are concerned about having to quarantine when they return from holiday to the UK.

The findings also show that, when it comes to going on holiday, 93 per cent of people are concerned about potential last-minute changes to foreign office travel advice.

ABTA says the research demonstrates that the current approach has shattered people’s confidence in travelling abroad, leaving viable travel businesses – including the thousands of travel agents – unable to generate income

On Monday, the Save Future Travel Coalition, led by ABTA, launched a petition to parliament urging travel industry support. It is calling for:

  • Fully regionalised quarantine policy
  • Introduction of testing
  • Review of the Job Support Scheme
  • Recovery grants for SMEs and travel businesses that missed out on previous support 
  • APD relief for summer 2021 to boost demand

Luke Petherbridge, ABTA’s director of public affairs said: “The Save Future Travel petition builds on the work ABTA and the other coalition partners have been doing over the recent weeks to put the industry’s case to government ministers and officials about the desperate need for tailored support for the travel industry. It also supports the ongoing efforts of industry representatives who are using our template emails to reach out to their local MPs, and will further raise awareness of our plight.

“We have seen vovernment respond to the need for ongoing salary support and business support measures, but the plans unveiled in the chancellors’ Winter Economy Plan do not go far enough.  The Job Support Scheme misses the mark for most travel businesses, and we strongly encourage the government to review the scheme. We also need to see urgent progress on testing, and a fully regionalised approach to quarantine rules, as already happens in Germany and elsewhere, in order to restore the confidence in travel that will be critical to recovery.” 

The Save Future Travel Coalition is made up of ABTA, Advantage Travel Partnership, AITO, ATAS, BTA, SPAA, CLIA, SBIT, The Travel Network Group and UKinbound.