The CBI is warning today that the international travel sector is in the “last chance saloon” and could lose its lucrative summer takings altogether unless rules are relaxed immediately.

The sector has warned of tens of thousands of job losses if the system isn’t simplified this week in time to give holidaymakers the chance for a summer getaway.

John Foster, CBI Policy Director, said:

“The international travel sector is in the last chance saloon for its the summer season. Restrictions must be relaxed if beleaguered businesses are to salvage any opportunity to trade their way towards recovery this year.

“The UK’s successful vaccine rollout, coupled with lessons learned throughout the pandemic, offer genuine opportunity for more travel to resume safely. The UK urgently needs to widen the list of those able to avoid self-isolation on their return, to include individuals who have received UK approved vaccines, rather than just those who received NHS vaccines.

“Rebuilding passenger confidence will be key. Establishing simple, consistent rules and communicating them clearly is essential. The decision to abandon publication of an amber watchlist is a sensible step towards that goal, but the government must get back to consulting industry first, thus creating better policy and enabling improved implementation.

“In addition to lifting restrictions, Government should prioritise the creation of an efficient pre-travel system of assessing passengers’ Covid-status to prevent congestion at airports.

“Meanwhile, further economic support for the sector will also be needed until passenger numbers recover. This will be vital to protect jobs and skills, and ensure the UK’s travel sector remains competitive with global peers.”


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