Published on : Saturday, September 18, 2021
“ABTA welcomes today’s announcement that fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take PCR tests when returning from low-risk destinations. We await confirmation of the date this will be implemented and we urge the Government to do all it can to have this in place before October half-term. We have raised repeatedly with Government the fact that high PCR charges are one of the main barriers to overseas travel and it is good to see them respond to these calls. The removal of the need to take a pre-departure test for this group will also help bring much-needed confidence to the market and further reduce costs for travellers.
“We have also been asking for the green and amber categories to be removed and are pleased to see this happen under this new system. We also welcome the removal of eight more countries from the red list, some of which are important winter sun destinations, though we need more countries to come off the red list in due course. Although we recognise the need to retain a red list, the government needs to be much more transparent in its criteria for placing countries on it and it should only be retained for the management of known variants of concern.
“Today’s announcement is a good step in the right direction, but it will not in itself be enough to undo two years of damage to the overseas travel industry, caused as a direct result of government policies. Targeted financial support for travel agents and tour operators is the only way to make good this damage and stem further job losses following on from the nearly 100,000 jobs which have already been lost in the outbound travel sector.
“As these new measures apply to England, we urge the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to update their international travel policies as soon as possible.”