The global tourism body has written an open letter to the UK Prime Minister, urging him to take action because the travel and tourism sector could face severe long-term damage if UK borders remain shut for another month.
What’s more, it predicts that 218,000 more jobs could be lost in the sector, on top of the 307,000 jobs which were lost in the UK last year.
Trade urges UK PM to take advantage of successful vaccine rollout
WTTC Members including TUI, Silversea Cruises and The Travel Corporation have signed the letter outlining four steps the government should take immediately to save the travel and tourism industry.
“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,” Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President of WTTC, said.
“Stalling the resumption of international travel could cost the country dearly. We simply can’t afford any further delay,” Messina added. “We are running out of time and money, with many more businesses in danger of going bust, which would result in more jobs losses.”
International visitors to the UK spent £35.6 billion in 2019 and the open letter to the UK Prime Minister proposes four key measures to help the travel industry get back on its feet. These are:
- 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, through a data-driven transparent approach which will help restore consumer confidence.
- Remove PCR testing requirements for travel from countries on the green list and replace by a rapid test or no test
- 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.
- Set a date to reopen international travel - to be announced on 24 June and implemented by 19 July, in line with the final unlocking of social measures in England.
Earlier this week, Johnson told the UK press that it was going to be a difficult year “whatever happens” during the next stage of the pandemic, but added that the Government is looking at the possibility of introducing exemptions for those who have been fully vaccinated.