Britons returning from Italy will now have to self-isolate.
Italy has been removed from the travel corridors list in the latest blow to the travel industry.
Grant Shapps tweeted: “We are removing Italy, Vatican City state and San Marino from the #TravelCorridor list. However, note that the implementation date is moved to 4am on Sunday October 18 and applies UK wide, if you arrive from these destinations you will need to self-isolate.”
He added: “We are adding Crete to the #TravelCorridor list this week. From 4am Sunday 18 Oct, if you arrive from Crete, you will no longer need to self-isolate. Also this week, the whole of the UK is now aligned with our advice around all of the Greek islands.”
Flavio Zappacosta, Italian Tourist Board manager for UK & Ireland said “It is, of course, very disappointing to learn of the announcement that Italy has been removed from the UK’s safe travel list today. Our cities, coasts, countryside and major attractions are world class and we have implemented robust protocols to keep our visitors safe so this is a very disappointing development for tourism in Italy and will surely delay our recovery.
“Tourism is one of our most important industries and key to the nation’s recovery from the terrible impact of Covid-19. We would like to see testing at UK airports implemented as soon as possible as this could help alleviate the quarantine issue and establish consumer confidence once more in visiting such a popular destination as Italy.”
ABTA spokesperson said: “The removal of Italy from the travel corridors list is a major blow for many winter operators in the UK travel industry, and again demonstrates that travel businesses are effectively being forced to close by the Government’s measures to control coronavirus – yet, unlike other sectors such as hospitality, travel has received no sector specific support.
“As the furlough scheme winds down, it is vital that the Government focuses on restarting travel and that tailored support is made available for travel businesses. Recovery of travel depends on the urgent introduction of a testing regime, which will provide an additional mitigation to keep destinations open, as well as fully regionalised travel corridors, and a move back to country specific Foreign Travel advice. Without these measures, we will continue to see travel businesses failing and tens of thousands more jobs will be lost.”
Shapps was widely criticised after he speech at this year’s Travel Convention in which he said that the travel industry has been supported by “unprecedented measures”, but proceeded to list a series of non-industry-specific schemes.
Mark Tanzer said he would like to remind the transport secretary that “we are still in the middle of this crisis”.
“[The speech] was very retrospective, about what they’ve done and how grateful the industry should be for this,” ABTA’s chief executive said. “Furlough did save jobs but it’s about what happens over the next six months ”
Tanzer noted that the travel corridors – listed by Shapps are a positive – are now mainly shut. “They may exist in theory but there’s very few places you can go,” he said.