The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Thursday warned that the latest emergency border measures introduced in the UK to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variants could be a “crushing blow” to the UK travel and tourism sector.
The UK since January 18 has suspended its international travel corridors, meaning that all international travelers arriving into the country are required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test and self-isolate – at their own cost – for 10 days.
The measure will be reviewed on Monday, February 15.
“The latest expected announcement from the UK government, which forces UK arrivals to quarantine in a hotel at their own cost, will be yet another crushing blow to the ailing UK travel & tourism sector,” said WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara.
According to Guevara, after months of forced quarantines post travel, “there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it works”.
She added that even the government’s own figures show quarantines have not proved to be effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
“The UK Government has put in place a risk avoidance strategy – at huge social and economic cost to the country – when it could and should be more effective by managing the risk instead,” the WTTC’s president said.
Travel can revive through Covid-19 testing scheme
WTTC believes the only way to revive international travel is the wholesale introduction of an internationally recognised testing scheme on departure and arrival. This could prevent exporting the virus and enable the free movement of travelers, while observing hygiene protocols such mask wearing and social distancing.
Furthermore, Guevara said that no inbound British or international traveler would want to embark on a trip knowing they’d face this disruption and be forced to pay for an additional two weeks in a hotel upon arrival, just to satisfy an unnecessary and unhelpful quarantine, which “will do nothing” to curb Covid-19.
“International arrivals spend was over 28 billion pounds in 2019. So, the longer we delay the restart of international travel, the more profound will its loss be upon the UK economy and further set back its recovery from this punishing pandemic,” she concluded.