The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Tuesday said the introduction of new hotel quarantines by the UK government in response to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) variants would ‘destroy the Travel & Tourism sector as we know it’.
WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, fears the crippling impact of the new proposals being considered by the UK government would cause irreparable damage to a sector which contributes nearly £200 billion to the UK economy.
“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,” the body said in an announcement.
As underlined by WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara, 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.
The WTTC’s president warned that the effect on UK travel businesses, including airlines, travel agents and travel management companies, would be “devastating”, further delaying the economic recovery.
“Even the threat of such action is enough to cause consternation and serious alarm,” Guevara stressed.
“WTTC believes the measures introduced by the government just last week – proof of a pre-departure Covid-19 test, followed by short quarantine and another test if necessary, could stop the virus in its tracks, and still allow the freedom to travel safely,” she said.
She reminded that 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,” she said.
‘No evidence quarantines post travel work’
The WTTC continues to highlight that 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.”
Moreover, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), along with many other major organisations, have said quarantines are not an effective public health measure and only hinder travel.