Industry leaders outlined a wish-list of demands ahead of the government releasing its Global Travel Taskforce report on how international travel can restart.
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft welcomed the government’s adoption of “a risk-based traffic light system”, announced on Monday, as “very good news”.
But Croft told an Elman Wall travel industry webinar the cost of testing for travellers even to and from ‘green’ countries could be prohibitive.
He said: “The key issue around testing is the cost. I know the government has concerns about [cheaper] lateral flow tests. [But] PCR tests are going to be a problem. They could add £1,200 to the cost of travel for a group of four.”
Croft argued: “We also need to see any type of certification digitised. We can’t be having huge queues at the border.
“Then we need countries on the ‘green’ list. It is going to be difficult for Europe at the moment, but things will improve. We need the US on the green list. It’s our biggest market. And until Europe is included on the list we need sector-specific support.”
He added: “We need this to stick. We can’t have a stop-start approach like last year, and we need a four-nation approach.
“There is finally some light at the end of the tunnel and we have to take advantage of the opportunity the UK has.”
Julia Lo-Bue Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, outlined four “key asks”.
She told the webinar: “We need a single source of communication – the biggest source of frustration is where do you go for information. We need affordable tests, or we’re going to be selling holidays only to those who can afford them.
“We need international cooperation – we can have countries on the green list but will they have us? And we need a four-nation approach. The rules need to be aligned. A fragmented approach is really challenging.”
Chris Rowles, chairman of specialist travel association Aito, told the webinar: “The time to expect any sector-specific support has probably gone. You can only bang your head against the same wall so many times. We are on our own.”
He argued: “Lateral flow tests must come into this. Why not tests at the airport?” And Rowles suggested: “The traffic light system is on a country basis, why not a regional basis?”
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