Advantage Travel Partnership and the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association have urged ministers to create air bridges with key holiday destinations “sooner rather than later”.
They also want the Foreign Office ban on all but essential overseas travel to be lifted to allow travel to resume.
The agent associations revealed the results of a poll of more than 4,000 people on the most popular destinations Britons are considering for a holiday this summer pending the removal of travel restrictions.
The wish list comprises of Spain, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Cyrus, Portugal, France, Iceland, Egypt and Malta.
The countries were identified alongside intelligence from industry partners, sales figures from 2019, and based on potential routes ready to fly and tour operators ready with packages to sell.
The countries were highlighted in a joint letter to home secretary Priti Patel and foreign secretary Dominic Raab after confirmation that a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals would be imposed from Monday.
Advantage chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said and SPAA president Joanne Dooey wrote: “The establishment of air bridges sooner rather than later is critical to allow the industry to get back on its feet after a prolonged period of stalemate during lockdown.
“However, whilst we welcome air bridges they will only work if the FCO ban on travel is reviewed in conjunction with their creation.
“It is the ultimate chicken and egg situation, and without the FCO ban revoked (even if it is just to those destinations with air bridges as a phased approach) the industry will lack the appropriate tools to sell holidays with confidence and their customers will have no recourse to adequate insurance.”
They added: “While we fully support, and appreciate, the need for the health and safety of British citizens, when travelling overseas on business or leisure, to be paramount in government considerations, we believe that the current strategies are too draconian, short sighted and not balanced and will, in effect, deeply damage the travel industry, contributing to large scale redundancies and significant damage to the UK economy in taxes, foreign exchange and business.
“It is safe to say that the UK travel industry, which has undoubtedly been a world class showcase sector, as a profitable, successful and large contributor to the UK economy, and society in general, faces perilous times in the months ahead but, if the above actions are taken, we believe it will help contribute to the sector’s recovery and once again contribute to the health, financially and in mental wellbeing, to the UK economy specifically and the British people generally.”
SPAA members are also encouraging customers to lobby their MPs on the subject.
Dooey said: “We’re asking the travelling public to contact their MP at Westminster as this is not a devolved issue.
“The European Aviation Safety Authority (Easa) is also indicating that travellers could fly out of some Scottish airports including Edinburgh and Aberdeen and avoid quarantine at their destination. Glasgow Airport, whose catchment area takes in parts of Scotland where Covid 19 cases were higher, is expected to join the cleared list too in the next two weeks. The possibility of travel is there, if we can have an air bridge agreement.”
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