The Latin America Travel Association has provided members with a template letter to lobby MPs as it called for home quarantine for travellers from red list countries .
Chief executive Danny Callaghan said: “The emergence of the Omicron variant has demonstrated how quickly a situation can develop and how the consequences for consumers can be significant and, ultimately, put people off travelling.
“To be able to go on holiday to a country and then, out of the blue, to be faced with a multi-thousand-pound bill for hotel quarantine cannot be the right way to manage these issues.
“I would like to understand why, if I were to test positive for the Omicron variant today, I am able to quarantine at home, but a person arriving from a red list country is not trusted to do the same.
“Image if the government went around collecting Omicron-positive people from their homes, dragging them off to some shabby hotel for 10 days, and then charging over two thousand pounds for the privilege – there’d be uproar. Yet returning Brits are expected to do just that.”
He added: “We need a sensible approach that allows people to go home and quarantine there. Many of us can work from home, so that removes some of the negative implications, but there also needs to be a package to support those who cannot work from home and face losing ten days’ earnings, rather than the current model that sees them lose earnings and having to pay a hefty premium.
“If we go to a home quarantine model, we can then also get away from the ridiculous situation that we currently have where the government announces that a country will be on the red list in two or three days’ time.
“That just drives a sudden influx of people from the place that we’ve just been told poses a threat to the UK. The whole thing is nonsense.”
World Travel and Tourism Council president and chief executive Julia Simpson said: “If the government insists on testing individuals two days before arrival in the UK, it makes no sense to ban entry from whole countries. The World Health Organisation has said closing frontiers does not stop the virus, but it does cause real economic harm.
“The cost of reimposing restrictions will cost the UK £5.3 billion and 180,000 people across the UK Travel & Tourism sector could lose their jobs.
“With so much at stake, we can’t afford to waste three weeks waiting for another government update. We know international travel can continue safely without any more cumbersome and destructive measures. The government needs to act fast.”