ABTA joins forces with top travel chiefs to write to prime minister
Travel and aviation bosses at ABTA, easyJet, Tui, Jet2, Airlines UK and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) have written to Boris Johnson to request an “urgent expansion to the green list”.
The chief executives have warned that if more countries are not added to the green list, there will be “grave consequences” for the travel industry and that “UK businesses may fail”.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It is illogical for the government to not follow its own traffic light system – it makes no sense for ministers to say people shouldn’t travel to amber countries when then government’s own system allows people to do so in a risk-managed way.”
He added: “Travel agents and tour operators, and their customers, need a clear and simple system to follow without contradictions otherwise our sector’s recovery will be unnecessarily slow and drawn out.”
The letter says: “Safe travel is possible and an urgent expansion to the green list is justified, including to many European countries, the US and Caribbean.”
“The government now appears not to want a meaningful restart to international travel this summer, and it is impossible for any business or consumers to plan under this scenario, such that we are genuinely fearful that some UK businesses may fail.”
In the letter, travel chiefs call on the prime minister to add low-risk countries to the green list; recognise vaccination status “so that vaccinated passengers do not need to take a test or self-isolate if travelling from green or amber countries”; and “remove guidance that people should not travel to amber countries”.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We’re saying ‘Expand the green list, get rid of this confusion over amber and make good on the promise to drive down the cost of testing.”
Andrew Flintham, Tui northern region managing director, added: “Other European countries are looking at us with incredulity. Some islands like the Balearics and Canaries could move to the green list.”
Green list countries are due to be reviewed by the government on June 7, while the traffic light system will be reviewed on 28 June.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps spoke out in defence of the government’s stance on travel at the Commons transport select committee yesterday.
He said: “It’s not the case you can travel freely abroad. We’ve got to follow the science. We’ve been round this circle before.”
Lundgren warned: “The UK industry can’t go through another ruined summer without grave consequences and in that case the government has to step up with a plan. First we want travel to restart in a safe way.”