European hoteliers are “utterly dismayed” by the UK government’s decision not to add countries with low infection rates to the green list for travel, according to the boss of the UK’s second largest tour operator.
Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy was calling for the UK government to be transparent about its criteria for determining destinations’ traffic light status on a Travel Weekly webcast.
He said being told there is a variant in Nepal is “not good enough” and wanted more in-depth detail about how decisions are made, suggesting “the government is being run by scientists” who would “assess the risk of getting out of bed in the morning”.
Heapy said the reaction among hotel partners across Europe was “utter dismay, dejection [and] confusion.”
“They were ringing me saying, ‘what is the government’s policy?’,” he said. “I had someone in the Balearics on the phone saying, ‘our infection rate’s 19 compared to the UK’s 36.5. Our first dose vaccination rate is 38.6, that’s really positive. Our infection rates are on the way down, we’re open for business, our staff in the hotels have been vaccinated. Why won’t you let people travel?
“All [the government] can say is ‘there’s a Nepal variant’, which isn’t a very compelling.”
He also questioned “the point of the vaccination” if “there is no recognition of the fact that I’ve been double-vaccinated”… “and they keep saying it’s about the vaccinations.”
“They treat you exactly the same as people who have had no vaccinations.
“What are we doing? There may be a very valid reason but I would say to Boris Johnson, ‘get on television and tell us what the policy is’ because we really don’t know.
“This industry, and I’m sure many other industries, are as bewildered as we are as to what’s going on.”