Quarantine ‘a non-starter’ for corporate travel

A 14-day quarantine of arrivals is “a non-starter” if travel is to resume, the UK Business Travel Association (BTA) has told the government

The BTA also urged the dropping of Foreign Office advice against “all but essential travel” in a five-point plan to restart the industry.

The association outlined the plan in a letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Alok Sharma.

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten told the secretaries of state: “There is indefinite advice against “all but essential travel”. No one knows when travel can begin and consumers and businesses cannot be confident about future journeys.

“We need to move from a restriction of ‘all but essential travel’ to ‘essential business travel permitted’.”

Wratten warned: “Inconsistencies or contradictory advice will cause chaos. A 14-day quarantine required at even one end of a journey is a non-starter.”

He urged development of “a set of globally consistent guidelines on social distancing, the use of masks and other hygiene measures”.

The BTA chief highlighted the need for insurance to cover corporate travellers, saying: “The market needs to have new policies readily and easily available.”

Wratten also highlighted the need for airlines, airports, train companies, car rental firms, hotels and other accommodation providers “to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the steps they are taking to ensure cleanliness and social distancing”.

He argued: “This could be overseen by travel associations such as the BTA with a recognisable marque provided to those who meet the criteria.”

Competitive pricing would also be essential, he told the government, with companies under pressure and travel budgets squeezed through to 2021.

Wratten urged: “Government intervention and financial commitment to keep struggling businesses afloat.”

He wrote: “The business travel sector has a critical role to play in our economic recovery, with the 6.5 million journeys it arranges in a typical year contributing £220 billion to UK GDP.”

“The government’s review of lockdown may provide a glimpse of the steps necessary for economic recovery.

“Yet the business community is fully aware that recovery will be a gradual process, one which needs careful planning and for governments and industries to work together.”

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