The Business Travel Association (BTA) has urged the government to allow corporate travellers returning from ‘amber’ countries under the new Covid traffic-light system to be exempt from quarantine.
The government announced the plan for categorising countries as green, amber or red on Monday, with the ‘amber’ category involving 10-days self-isolation on return to the UK as well as three Covid tests – one pre-departure and two on arrival.
BTA chief executive Clive Wratten welcomed the traffic-light system, but said: “We’re asking for business travellers to be exempt from quarantine for amber list countries.
“We’re also talking to the Department for Transport about ‘the reason for travel’ declaration [required of travellers].”
He said: “We need absolute clarity around what is possible and what is not.”
Speaking on an Elman Wall industry webinar, Wratten suggested: “Corporates are starting to get itchy feet and saying ‘We need to get out and see customers’.”
He reported: “Business travel is happening – entertainment, film production and music are quite strong, as is oil, marine and gas and the public sector. There is also a bit of an upturn in the financial sector.
“Our members are trading at around 10% of 2019 numbers, but there was an uptick in March and people are looking to April to be 20% to 30% of 2019.” However, he said: “It’s fragile.”
Wratten said the problem for the industry is “when do you bring people back”, and insisted: “We need the job support scheme not to be scaled back. We’ve asked the government to keep it at 80% and beyond September.”
The job support scheme is due to be reduced in phases from July 1 and end on September 30.
Suzanne Horner, chair of the BTA and chief executive of travel management company Gray Dawes, told the webinar: “I’m not expecting any type of recovery for corporate travel until September.”
She said: “January and February were brutal. March was about 50% up on January and April is similar. May, June, July and August will probably be the same. I am expecting a change in September.”
Horner reported Gray Dawes was approaching £200 million [a year in revenue] before the pandemic and said: “Now we’re trading at less than 10% of that.”
She added: “I don’t see international leisure travel opening before June. It might be later. Right now we’re treading water, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.