* items include readers letters
1 FEBRUARY 2021
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The announcement by the EU that it was stopping vaccine supplies to the United Kingdom due to alleged contract failure was attacked by all interested parties. At least Brussels had the sense to quickly back down.
Not so the British Government when it comes to quarantine. All travellers – including British nationals – must self-isolate for 10 days when they get to the UK, even with a recent negative test result.
When just about every organisation says it will not work, is impractical and hugely damaging for the economy, this Government will not budge.
Business Travel News has been besieged by people of status (and their PR organisers) pleading for their voice to be heard.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents a diverse grouping, the entire spectrum of the Travel & Tourism industry – from airlines and airports to hotels and hospitality groups, tour operators and retail travel agents, online distributors, cruise lines, investment companies, insurance groups, and the technology industry.
Travel is a two-way commodity. The WTTC view represents a world-wide stance with no hidden agenda.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “WTTC is implacably opposed to quarantines as while protecting the public is paramount, there needs to be a balance struck between health and economic priorities.
“We firmly believe testing on departure and arrival for all travellers is the only way to halt the spread of the virus in its tracks, while still allowing negative testing passengers to travel in safety and restore international mobility. We will continue to urge the Government to abandon ineffective and highly-destructive quarantines.
“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and many other major international organisations do not recommend quarantines, as they are an ineffective public health measure. Community transmission poses a far greater peril than international travel.
“The Government must be transparent about the metric used to label a country as ‘high risk’. It is also vital we have a clear exit strategy and more details on its testing on arrival policy, which was introduced just last week.
“Together, these will enable travellers, holidaymakers and businesses across the Travel & Tourism sector to be confident there is a clear road map for the return of international travel.”
The concern follows nine months of devastating travel restrictions, which has left scores of businesses crushed, millions of jobs lost or put at risk, and confidence to travel at an all-time low.
“Travellers and holidaymakers would simply not book business or leisure trips knowing they would have to pay to isolate in a hotel, causing a drastic drop in revenues throughout the sector.
“From airlines to travel agents, travel management companies to holiday companies and beyond, the effect on UK travel businesses is devastating, further delaying the economic recovery. Even the threat of such action is enough to cause consternation and serious alarm.
“A number of countries, such as Iceland, have successfully implemented a testing regime on arrival, which has curbed the spread, whilst ensuring borders remain open. So, it's crucial these measures are given some time to work.
“Despite the current gloom, we truly believe there is room for optimism and a brighter future ahead. Business travel, visiting families and holidays can return with a combination of an internationally recognised testing regime, vaccines and mandatory mask wearing.
“These simple but highly effective measures, if implemented properly, could aid the revival of a sector which will be essential to powering the UK and global economic recovery.”
Despite months of forced quarantines post travel, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest they work.
Even the Government’s own figures show quarantines have not proved to be effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19. Community transmission continues to pose a far greater peril than international travel.
Just like the EU, please Prime Minister back down. You can do it with good grace.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Barry Graham, Washington, DC
Now the USA has joined in with this. This isn't a surprise. Unfortunately the last election was too much about the personality of the previous President rather than his politics and I think before are going to see before too long that should be very careful what you wish for as you may just get it.
David Bentley, Manchester
(1) Just another example of the Great Reset. Johnson (sorry, his girlfriend) will do nothing while Davos is under way, planning the final nail in aviationís coffin (except their private jets of course). (2). They still have not told us the truth about this manufactured virus and its propensity to mutate.
Toby Clark, Southampton
Point taken about Branson. John Holland Kaye of Heathrow is the only voice we hear.
Sally Smile, Brighton
This whole scheme is madness. The government has done some good things with the pandemic but this in not one of them.
Jacob Smith, London
Well said BTN. But will Downing Street get the message? The answer is no.
Arthur Smith, Hayes, Middx
This government just does not like aviation and airports and we donít have a champion like the late Colin Marshall. What is Richard Branson doing? Heís not been seen around for a year.