Dozens of major vacation and hotel companies have asked the British government to abandon plans that force visitors to quarantine themselves upon arrival in the country.
Interior Minister Priti Patel has said that from 8 June most people arriving in the UK will have to stay away for two weeks or face a fine of £ 1,000.
Over 70 travel business leaders wrote a letter to Patel alleging that the policy would reduce the number of visitors to Britain, further damaging the “severely tested” travel industry.
“The last thing the travel industry needs is a mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers, which will discourage foreign visitors from coming here, discourage visitors from the UK from traveling abroad, and very probably other countries have reciprocal quarantine requirements for UK visitors. “said the letter, which was viewed by MarketWatch.
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Signatories to the letter include chefs from some of Britain’s largest luxury hotels, including the Ritz, Dorchester and Hyatt Regency, owned by Hyatt Hotels.
as well as tourist groups such as Cookson Adventures, Abercrombie & Kent Group and Mr & Mrs Smith.
They said the UK travel and tourism sector contributed £ 200 billion to the UK economy last year, accounting for around 9% of gross domestic product and almost four million jobs, or 11% of all of the country’s workforce, according to data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The letter commended the government for handling an “extraordinary and unprecedented situation”, but said it would be much more constructive, both for the economy and to control the spread of Covid-19, to guarantee that the ability to carry out accelerated test on those arriving in the UK. He added that anyone arriving should be required to download the government application that will be launched soon.
“The pandemic has caused widespread havoc. We cannot allow it to create more economic havoc or the dangers our country faces will go beyond the virus itself.” Henry Cookson, founder of luxury adventure travel specialist Cookson Adventures, told MarketWatch.
“The travel industry has suffocated and I know many depend on business in late summer, the busiest time of the year, to survive. All activity has been suspended until these strict restrictions are relaxed. It is not practical for our staff or customers based in the UK to be quarantined for 14 days after returning from a trip abroad. It would be a much smarter approach to implementing solutions such as in-depth testing and contact tracking, ”he added.
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A spokesman for the Home Office said: “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope will be the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border.
“We continue to support businesses in the tourism sector with one of the most generous economic packages on offer in the world. However, it is true that we are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission speed low and avoid a devastating second wave, “added the spokesman in a statement sent by email.
The changes are expected to be continuously reviewed every three weeks to ensure that they comply with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.
The Air Charter Association said it was “surprised and disappointed” that the British government introduced this new policy after virtually no discussion or consultation with key stakeholders in the most affected part of the aviation industry. : the air charter sector.
“The resulting general quarantine policy reveals a limited understanding of all sectors of the aviation industry, presents inconsistencies that discriminate against aviation professionals and, in the case of the global air cargo industry, avoids the high priority trips of policymakers who are essential to the recovery and future prosperity of the UK “Kevin Ducksbury, president of ACA, said Thursday in a statement.
European low cost carrier separately EasyJet
He confirmed on Thursday that he would resume flights from June 15, focusing mainly on domestic flights in the United Kingdom and France, and that the airline’s shares had increased 4.4%.
EasyJet, which has large operations at Gatwick and Luton airports, also announced plans to launch an employee consultation with the intention of up to 30% of its workforce, or around 4,500 jobs, and reducing its aircraft fleet by 15% as it restructures to cope with the drop in demand for passengers for air travel following the coronavirus pandemic .
Hargreaves Landsown equity analyst William Ryder said it was encouraging to see the airlines start to give firm dates to return the planes to heaven. “Unfortunately, this means that easyJet is teaming up with a large number of its competitors to lay off a large number of its workforce as it completes several years of reduced demand,” he said.
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However, Ryder said the crisis is giving airlines the opportunity to restore their cost structures. “Airlines can renegotiate with airports and other suppliers, as well as reduce the number of employees and accept reductions in staff compensation. This would make the surviving airlines thinner and more efficient than before, even if social distancing measures prevent them from exploiting this anytime soon. “