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Jet2 boss says relaxed travel curbs are thanks to trade pressure

The boss of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said lobbying from the travel trade helped bring about the government’s recent changes to the traffic light system.

Last week, the Department for Transport confirmed new rules for international travel, with the traffic light system scrapped from October 4.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of the airline and tour operator, told a Travel Weekly webcast: “We shouldn’t underestimate what happened. A lot of that was down to the lobbying we did as an industry, once we got our act together as an industry.

“We cored down our message into two or three messages. The government started to listen, it was strength in numbers.

“We have to do this on issues. These people are elected officials, and everybody has a route to their MP.”

He added: “If your kids want an ice cream, but they don’t ask you for it, you’re probably not going to buy one.

“But if they mither you, hour after hour after hour, mommy can I have an ice cream? You you just say oh for god’s sake, you buy them an ice cream.”

He recalled his example of the Shawshank Redemption, which he used at the recent Travel Weekly Future of Travel conference, in which a character writes a letter each week for years to get a library book.

“It really does work. It’s pester power,” he said.

He said Turkey – which came off the red list – and other destinations have done well since the raft of announcements last week.

“The whole industry has had a big boost over the last few days. What the industry needs is no bad news,” he told the webcast.

“The longer we don’t get bad news, it will get incrementally stronger every week.

“Confidence will gradually improve back to previous levels and when it does, we can all, as an industry, start staffing up to previous levels, paying tax, taking loads of people on holiday and contribute to the economic recovery.”

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