30 countries added to ‘red list’
The introduction of quarantine hotels for ‘red list countries’ builds on a “mountain of existing measures for travel”, ABTA has said.
The travel association said that the industry needs to “see a clear plan for how [restrictions] will be lifted” after the government said it was attempting to stop mutant Covid strains from reaching the UK.
“In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government provided accommodation, such as hotels, for 10 days without exception,” the prime minister Boris Johnson said.
He said the government would “enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel”.
A spokesperson said: “We understand the government’s need to introduce temporary additional restrictions in response to emerging new strains of the virus, but this needs to come with support for the jobs and businesses affected and a clear roadmap forward for travel.
“It is now 12 months since the travel industry started to be affected by coronavirus, yet the government has still not provided any tailored financial support to the sector. Jobs are being lost at an alarming rate and longstanding businesses have gone to the wall. The lack of financial support targeted at addressing the consequences for businesses of international travel restrictions needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“The government needs to work with the industry to develop a route forward for reopening travel, reviewing all of the existing measures and coordinating with overseas governments. While the vaccine rollout is positive, the industry cannot wait for the whole UK adult population to be vaccinated before travel restarts – and businesses cannot afford to lose another summer. We also know that many people have a desire to get back to experiences that they value highly and have missed dearly, including travel to visit family and friends abroad.”
Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA at Intrepid Travel, said: “It’s absolutely right that the government does what’s necessary for public safety in light of the global pandemic. However, further restrictions on international travel will of course have an impact on how confident people feel to book holidays for this summer and beyond.
“We need more clarity on an end date and pathway out of the current restrictions to give customers and the industry a chance to plan ahead. The impact of this on the travel industry means that it’s now essential that bespoke financial support is provided – not just for aviation but for the wider industry which is directly impacted by these measures.”