The trade has renewed calls for the current traffic light system and Covid tests in resort and on day two after arrival in the UK to be scrapped.
A trade panel at the Travel Weekly Future of Travel conference also repeated a plea for more notice to be given ahead of travel restrictions to allow firms to help clients change their holiday plans or get home.
Speaking ahead of the government’s next traffic light review, expected this week, Haslemere Travel owner and Aito Specialist Travel Agents chair Gemma Antrobus and Travel Counsellors UK managing director Kirsten Hughes both described the current traffic light system as unworkable.
Antrobus said: “I would like to see the traffic light system completely scrapped and have [a system] where you can go, or not go, so we get to a point where we all manage our own risk and we take ownership ourselves. The world needs to open up.”
Hughes agreed: “The traffic light system is nonsense. Get rid of it.”
She stressed that travel companies needed more time, ideally ten to 14 days, to help clients when traffic light changes are made under the current system.
She added: “To get people back from the Caribbean when you are given four days’ notice is difficult. There needs to be more notice.”
Virgin Atlantic vice president of global sales Lee Haslett said 14 days’ notice would be preferable to a tweet at short notice by transport secretary Grant Shapps and called for a more straightforward approach to overseas travel.
He said: “I think we would like to see a ‘go or not’ [system] from a communications perspective. We need to make it easier for customers and airlines to be able to plan. What we have seen is customers hanging on every word [of the announcements].”
All three called for Covid tests, in particular the test in resort prior to departure and on day two after arriving back in the UK, to be scrapped for double vaccinated travellers.
“If you are double vaccinated you should not be tested,” said Hughes, who said a more ‘sensible’ approach was required in which the test process was “made easier and cheaper.”