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Comment: Amber list news is encouraging but the industry needs more

Issues remain on financial support, FCDO advice and the cost of testing, says Abta’s Mark Tanzer

We have had a rare piece of good news – people who have had both vaccinations will be able to travel to amber list countries without the need to quarantine or take a test on day eight of their return – with children also exempt from these requirements.

And also encouraging – the changes come in on July 19 – in time for the school summer holidays.

We know there is significant pent-up demand to travel abroad – to see family and friends, make business connections and have a well-deserved holiday.

The secretary of state has sent a clear message that people can travel abroad to amber list countries this summer – opening up travel to many popular holiday destinations.

I and other representatives from Abta are doing interviews for national and local media on what this means for customers and the travel industry.

This announcement is certainly a step in the right direction, but as I said in an interview with Sky News, there is a lot more than needs to happen for the industry to get back on its feet, and the need for government support remains pressing.

There are a number of hurdles that still need to be overcome – testing for travel is still expensive, and government needs to work to reduce the cost.

It should also use the strategic review at the end of this month (July 31) to look at the role of testing for travel to green and amber countries, as well as the other travel requirements.

We also need the government to make sure it has the right resources at the border to deal with the increased number of passengers – queues and delays will damage consumer confidence. Our lobbying work will continue to be as important as ever and we’ll be making these points in our engagement with government, as well as stressing the need to support the industry through the recovery, through a package of tailored financial support.

We still need to see where we go with Foreign Office advice.

I know this is a big issue for many of you. It is important that the Foreign Office advice against travel to some amber list countries takes into account the increasing vaccination rates in destinations, and the reducing risks.

We have been raising this with the FCDO and will continue to do so. We will also continue the work we are doing with destinations on their entry requirements.

It’s not just the changes in travel requirements which will get people travelling again, and help the industry recover.

Consumer confidence is an important factor as well.

Hopefully today’s announcement will help people feel more confident to plan and book a holiday, to both green and amber list countries.

Through our Ready Steady Travel campaign we will be getting messages out to consumers about how they can book and travel with confidence through an Abta Member.

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