The European Travel Commission (ETC), the association representing the national tourism organizations of the countries of Europe, on Wednesday strongly condemned the new tough enforcement measures for travelers announced recently by the UK Government to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and of its possible variants.
As well as introducing two mandatory tests after arrival and obligatory “quarantine packages” for travelers from “red list” countries, the UK’s new rules include heavy financial penalties and potential jail time for non-compliance. Travelers arriving from high-risk countries now face possible imprisonment of up to 10 years for not disclosing the correct travel information.
“Travelers are not felons and should not face several legal repercussions for arriving back home from another country. Throughout this crisis, we have learned that blanket restrictions are not the way forward, especially in countries with already high levels of community transmission,” ETC President Luís Araújo said.
‘Traveling is not a crime’
The ETC is calling on the UK to urgently reconsider its “drastic measures” and not to place the act of travelling in the same category as severe criminal offences.
According to Araújo, it is crucial to strike a balance between sensible public health measures and preserving connectivity and citizens’ mobility.
“We firmly believe that the process of vaccination, testing on arrival and departure, together with efficient tracing systems and hygiene measures, will safely restore movement between countries,” he added.
The ETC is calling all national and international organizations in the travel and tourism sector to firmly condemn the UK’s measures and support solutions that are “universally beneficial to the industry and to international relations”.