The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Wednesday called upon the UK government to abandon the “confusing and damaging” traffic light system for travel and replace it with a “simpler and easier to understand” list of green and red countries.
WTTC, which represents the global private Travel & Tourism sector, said the move would simplify a system which has left both holidaymakers and businesses “wrong footed, out of pocket” and has eroded consumer confidence to travel.
The UK’s system rates countries as red, amber or green for the coronavirus (Covid-19) and includes various rules that must be followed to enter England.
WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO Virginia Messina called for the UK to remove the “ambiguity” of the current scheme and set clear rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated, so travellers know exactly where they stand.
“We need to provide clarity across the UK Travel & Tourism sector, which has been crying out for the present highly unpredictable system to be dropped, having brought international travel from the UK to its knees,” Messina said.
She added that the UK should now open its doors not just to fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU, but to double-jabbed visitors from all over the world too – “showing we’re open for business and ready to welcome all safe travellers”.
Moreover, the WTTC said the government needs to significantly widen the green list so fully-vaccinated UK citizens can get their right back to travel safely around the world and welcome leisure and business travellers alike.
According to the WTTC, returning UK visitors also need the day two PCR test to be replaced with an easy-to-use antigen test, like in other countries, with PCR tests only for those testing positive; and unvaccinated visitors should continue needing to take a test on departure, as well as a PCR test on Day two of their return.
The WTTC urges coordination with and reciprocity from other countries so that the rules are applied equally and fairly to ensure maximum ease of international mobility for travellers.
The global tourism body says the restoration of safe international travel could be achieved by following its four fundamental guidelines to restore international mobility while safeguarding public health.