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Flight Centre boss joins calls for reconvening of Global Travel Taskforce

The boss of Flight Centre has joined industry calls for the government’s Global Travel Taskforce to be reformed to lead recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The agency chain’s EMEA managing director Steve Norris added his voice to pleas for action by ministers after it was disclosed that the taskforce has been disbanded at a time when new border curbs are set to be introduced.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer earlier demanded that the taskforce be reconvened “to start work immediately” on a pathway out of the restrictions.

Norris said: “We fully support and understand the need to secure our borders against the spread of the virus and fully support the mandatory hotel quarantine for select destinations.

“However, we would like to stress the importance of a transparent exit plan with details including when the hotel quarantine scheme would end and under what circumstances.

“We know the implementation of this policy will have a knock-on effect on the already suffering travel industry and will undoubtedly be detrimental to the UK economy if applied without the government announcing how it sees the scheme being concluded.”

He added: “In light of the news that the Global Travel Taskforce has recently been disbanded, we implore the government to announce a replacement taskforce and offer its reassurances on how it is working on a recovery plan to restart tourism.

“We still fundamentally believe that the government needs to listen, again, to our calls for a world-leading, international and consistent framework for pre-departure testing at airports to boost confidence in travel.

“We also ask ministers to grant an extension of the furlough scheme to support the many workers of this hard-hit industry beyond April. Only then do we believe we will see a viable avenue out of these latest measures.”

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