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Abta demands long-term plan for travel

Abta has insisted that the government must do more than removing the test requirement for arrivals into the UK at the upcoming strategic review of international travel policy.

The association is demanding a long-term plan for the travel and tourism sector to avoid disruption if a new variant of concern is identified.

Abta’s calls come after prime minister Boris Johnson yesterday confirmed health secretary Sajid Javid will provide an update on the policy “in the next few days” – and follows reports suggesting that the requirement for lateral flow day two tests on arrival will be scrapped.

The government has already removed its requirement for PCR tests by day two and pre-departure tests for vaccinated arrivals, which were reintroduced before Christmas to combat Omicron.

Writing in a column for Travel Weekly, Luke Petherbridge, Abta’s director of public affairs, said: “We’ve already had some early good news on this front this year. However, now we need ministers to go further, by removing all testing for vaccinated individuals.

He added: “It is not just testing that needs to be addressed.

“The reality is, unlike any other sector of the UK economy, there has still not been a time since the start of the pandemic where travel hasn’t been subject to some sort of restriction or requirement that didn’t exist prior to March 2020.

“The government keeps saying it wants the industry to trade its way out of the crisis. To do this we need ministers to bring forward a plan which provides much-needed stability for the industry, allowing consumers to rebuild their confidence in travel.”

Petherbridge stressed: “There clearly needs to be a robust plan for future variants to avoid the knee-jerk response we witnessed with Omicron, which resulted in a layering of restrictions in response to political pressure.”

Read his full column here.

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