Agents have welcomed the easing of travel restrictions but say they are dealing with an information “minefield” because of confusion about where consumers can travel.
The government’s two lists offer a “lifeline” and an opportunity for agents, but the trade said the conflicting information presented a “challenge”.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, agents said clients contacted them straight after news of the changes on Friday.
Alistair McLean, owner of Dorking Travel said: “We had people calling saying ‘now we can go’, and we had to say ‘it’s not as simple as that’. Clarity is all over the place.”
Citing Greece as an example, he said: “You can come back from Greece and not self-isolate but you cannot go to Greece. That was met with incredulity [by clients].”
Amanda Matthews, managing director of homeworking group Designer Travel, said: “For Greece you have to fill out one form per person, and you get an email 24 hours before travel with a QR [code]. You have to take that and the form to the airport, otherwise you won’t get on the plane.”
Designer Travel is compiling a checklist of requirements for destinations, airlines and airports, and has brought back to work a full‑time administrator to help with the workload. Matthews added: “It’s a process nightmare.”
Miles Morgan Travel chairman Miles Morgan called the lack of clarity “a disaster” but said: “If there is a positive for retail agents it’s that you need a proper agent to get through the minefield. It’s so complicated.”
He hoped the public would start to recognise the value of agents and view them with the same regard as professions such as solicitors.
To achieve this, McLean stressed it was critical agents were “on top of our game”, while Matthews called on online travel companies to play their part in arming consumers with all the right information.
She said: “My biggest worry is people turning up at the airport not having gone through all the hoops. Can you imagine the bad press if people can’t get on the flight? We’ll all be tarred by the same brush. This is our time to shine; we don’t want to be let down by those who don’t.”
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