Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Advantage leads industry call for Government to reconsider 'draconian, short sighted strategies'

Advantage has written to both the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urging them to urgently reconsider the proposed 14-day quarantine for all UK arrivals, being introduced on June 8, and to lift the blanket advisory against all non-essential travel.

The letter, written by Advantage chief executive Julia Lo-Bue Said, was counter-signed by the leaders of the Business Travel Association, AITO, the SPAA and the HBAA.

It was revealed last week that the industry bodies had held a meeting to discuss working together on Covid-19-related industry issues.

In the letter, Lo-Bue Said: "While we fully support, and appreciate, the need for the health and safety of British citizens, when travelling overseas on business or leisure, to be paramount in government considerations, we believe that the current strategies are too draconian, short sighted and not balanced and will, in effect, deeply damage the travel industry which contributes significantly to the UK economy in taxes, foreign exchange and employment."

She said the proposed 14-day quarantine, which will require everyone except key workers to self-isolate when arriving or returning to the UK, would be 'hugely damaging to both the UK inbound and outbound travel sector', suggesting that a 'robust track and trace' system would be a better way to control the spread of Covid-19.

"The prospect of many British citizens having to self-quarantine after a holiday or a business travel trip will severely deter those wishing to travel," she wrote.

"While we understand and appreciate the need for safety and establishing who has the virus and who is capable of spreading it, we believe that a robust track and trace system alongside measures identified by IATA through their multi layered restart approach would be much more effective for government strategy and less damaging to the UK travel industry."

Calling for an 'immediate and urgent' review of the blanket FCO travel ban, she said: "This sweeping ban makes the possibility of travel, even to countries deemed generally to be safe, prohibited and, again, causes untold damage to the UK outbound travel sector."

The industry bodies are calling instead for 'air bridges' to be established between the UK and destinations deemed to be 'Covid safe'.

"We believe that the most responsible way to address the balance of easing the British citizen back safely to travelling for business or leisure, while at the same time facilitating the much needed recovery of the UK inbound and outbound travel sector, is through the quick establishment and utilisation of international air bridges between destinations deemed to be Covid-19 safe or free countries by both the UK and the corresponding foreign government. In this area we believe that we, through our members, could greatly assist your offices," said the letter.

MPs are due to discuss the mandatory 14-day quarantine period today. The Government has said that, once introduced on June 8, it will be reviewed every three weeks.




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  • Why Only Air Bridges?

    Vince Wilkins' points could not be more valid and the fact that only air bridges are the talk of the moment underlines the short sighted approach referred to in Julia's Lo-Bue Said's letter to government. Why not ferry and rail bridges too!

    By Stuart Perl, Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Why Only Air Bridges?

    Spare a thought for the thousands of British homeowners with properties in Europe The best way of travel is to drive & maintain social distancing. No reciprocal Quarantine should be imposed on EU/GB or Irish citizens. No thought at all seems to be put to ferry & rail travel to/from the UK despite the reduced risks. Please can we have "Ferry Bridges" too and negotiate reciprocal agreement with the French, Belgians and Dutch Governments as soon as possible.

    By Vince Wilkins, Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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