WTTC responds to the latest UK government announcement

Recent announcement will delay the recovery and the restoration of millions of jobs
UK government should take advantage of its effective vaccination rollout and restart international travel to benefit its economy 
£148 billion lost to the UK economy due to the lack of Travel & Tourism

Gloria Guevera, President & CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said: “We welcome this first initial step by the UK government to begin opening the door to international travel with the announcement of today’s ‘traffic light’ system.

“However, airlines and the wider Travel & Tourism sector will be hugely disappointed that the U.S., which has a similar vaccination success rate has not been included on the ‘green list’ as it would have enabled the resumption of transatlantic travel, which would have thrown a vital lifeline to the sector in two of the biggest Travel & Tourism markets in the world.

“The UK is the fourth biggest G20 economy in terms of international Travel & Tourism spend from business travel, which amounted to £7.5 billion in 2019, before the pandemic ripped through the heart of the sector.

“While we understand that protecting public health should be the priority, these measures have put the UK in a competitive disadvantage compared to other destinations across Europe and the globe. Unfortunately, they are not benefiting from their successful vaccination roll-out to allow the significant resumption of international travel.

“We are also disappointed that UK travellers are expected to pay for expensive PCR tests, even when traveling from countries on the green list. This will make foreign holidays totally unaffordable for many families.

“We urge the UK government to work with its providers to offer more cost-effective tests for UK travellers, or accept the more affordable yet rapid and effective, antigen tests.

“After suffering the biggest fall in contribution towards GDP from Travel & Tourism of the 10 most important global markets - by a staggering 62.5% and a total of £148 billion lost to its economy - the UK can ill-afford to be this cautious.”