The Travel Network Group is urging the Government to engage with the travel and tourism industry in the wake of the latest announcements and the potential for further lockdowns of popular holiday destinations.
The Group, which represents over 1000+ independent travel businesses across the UK, is asking the Government to look at alternative measures such as regional quarantines, testing at airports and track and trace in place of blanket travel restrictions or quarantine as seen in Spain recently.
Gary Lewis, CEO of the Travel Network Group, appeared on BBC Five Live, BBC Radio London, and Good Morning Britain this morning to put forward the views of the organisation’s members and the wider travel industry which has already been hit so hard by the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “This latest announcement is devastating to the travel industry which has already been left on its knees by the Covid crisis. ‘’
“We are asking the Government to listen to the industry and work with us to create clear and understandable measures which will help the travel industry get back on its feet and allow people to travel safely. ‘’
“The majority of Spanish holidays for July and August were booked 9-12 months ago and customers have travelled in good faith, after the government itself had deemed those destinations as safe to travel. The change in advice to ‘essential only’ travel across the whole of Spain, including its holiday islands, due to local outbreaks is alarming to travellers, when imposing a blanket quarantine across a whole country.’’
“Of course, the safety of holidaymakers and travellers is absolutely paramount, but applying national quarantine measures to entire nations, as we have seen in Spain, needs more data-based explanation when the spikes in cases are localised and the country is in more control of Covid infection rates than the UK. The UK have applied localised lockdowns in Leicester, Blackburn and Darwen. ‘’
“We need the Government to now be clear about what measures may be available to manage safe travel aboard, for example testing in airports and track and trace as we have seen in other countries.”
The Group also believes that the travel and tourism sector need special government intervention to ensure it emerges through the crisis intact.
Mr Lewis added: “The travel and tourism industry has been uniquely hit by the COVID crisis with travel businesses having to work hard throughout lockdown to manage refunds and cancellations for their customers. The Government support at the start of the pandemic to protect the economy was swift and decisive but we believe the travel sector will be the last out of the crisis and more sector support is urgently needed.”