UK families face yet another ‘lost summer’ thanks to the controversial traffic light system, quarantines, costly Covid-19 tests and confusing travel rules and regulations, argues the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The global tourism body, which represents the global private travel sector, says this combination has effectively made much of Europe off-limits to holidaymakers for the second successive year.
This, despite the success of the vaccination rollout.
As well as being hugely disappointing for those yearning for a summer break, it has also brought the beleaguered UK tourism sector almost to its knees.
WTTC has urged government leaders across Europe to take a coordinated approach to reopen borders and allow the safe resumption of travel for double-jabbed holidaymakers.
However, the call comes on the day the EU launches its digital covid certificate, designed to reopen safe travel on the continent.
WTTC has already warned the government that it faces a punishing £19.8 billion loss to the country if international travel remains off limits during July, fearing further similar losses if August suffers the same fate.
Virginia Messina, WTTC senior vice president, said: “It’s hard to believe that the UK tourism sector and holidaymakers are facing yet another ‘lost summer’ with no significant travel in sight – despite the hugely successful vaccine rollout.
“The vaccination programme should have unlocked the door to international travel. Instead, we are seeing the second summer with only limited travel in prospect while Europe is reopening, enjoying a summer break and kickstarting their economies.
“Meanwhile, British tourism businesses continue to struggle to survive, and holidaymakers remain stuck at home, yet again.
“But it doesn’t have to be like this. Health and safety can still be the priority while also re-opening international travel safely.
“We should take advantage of the opportunity created by the high percentage of the population which has been fully inoculated to allow them to travel safely abroad again, and get back to their lives, colleagues, families, and friends.
Earlier this month WTTC research revealed that if international travel remained off limits for the whole of July, the UK would lose a staggering £639 million every day, severely impacting the economic recovery and competitiveness.
WTTC also called for the controversial and widely criticised travel traffic light system to be abandoned.
It urged the government to immediately unlock the doors to international travel to avoid inflicting severe long-term damage on the economy.