In a June 22, 2021, letter to Boris Johnson, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) warns of £639 million daily loss if international travel remains off limits. The global tourism body predicts a monthly £19.8 billion loss and of up to 218,000 jobs lost if international travel stays off limits over peak summer holiday period.
The WTTC urges for a four-step plan to safely restart international travel to avoid inflicting severe long-term damage on the country’s economy and to prevent putting at risk the competitiveness of the UK’s travel & tourism sector. The letter was signed by WTTC members including TUI, Silversea Cruises, and The Travel Corporation, amongst others.
Virginia Messina, senior vice president WTTC, said,“If international travel remains off limits for the whole of July, WTTC research has shown that every day, the UK would lose a staggering £639 million, severely delaying the UK’s economic recovery and competitiveness. Stalling the resumption of international travel could cost the country dearly. We simply can’t afford any further delay. We are running out of time and money, with many more businesses in danger of going bust, which would result in more jobs losses.”
Messina went on to say that the restoration of free cross-border mobility is essential to helping drive the economic recovery from the pandemic.
WTTC’s open letter to Johnson proposes the following four key measures:
1. Reopen international travel by allowing fully vaccinated citizens to travel freely without quarantine, both inbound and outbound. They should be able to visit countries with similar vaccination levels and with proven low-infection rates, such as the EU, the US, and Canada.
2. Remove PCR testing requirements for travel from countries on the green list and replace with a rapid test or no test.
3. Require only one test for those travelling from countries on the amber list of travel destinations. PCR tests are expensive and inconvenient, and their use will continue to deter people from travelling for either business or leisure.
4. Set a date to reopen international travel and have it implemented by July 19, 2021.