The UK government must abandon the ‘failed and damaging’ traffic light system now if it is to save the stricken tourism sector from total collapse, argues the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The controversial system, which has wreaked havoc among consumers and travel businesses, needs to be scrapped if there is any hope of saving hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the UK.
WTTC says if this does not happen urgently the more businesses will collapse, and more jobs will be lost delaying significantly the economic recovery.
Furthermore, it says the UK will squander its competitive advantage generated by the successful vaccine rollout.
WTTC advocates enabling fully vaccinated holidaymakers and travellers, and those with proof of a negative test to travel once more to countries with similar, or higher vaccination levels to the UK, and to destinations with proven low-infection rates.
The move to a more transparent and easier to understand approach would restore consumer confidence and provide a much-needed boost to tourism businesses which have suffered severe setbacks due to the traffic light system.
Virginia Messina, WTTC acting chief executive, said: “It’s time the government abandoned the hugely damaging traffic lights system.
“Consumers, airlines and the wider travel sector were promised a watchlist and three weeks’ notice of any changes from green to amber, and not just four days.
“It has been incredibly disruptive and costly for both tourism businesses and consumers.”
She added: “What’s needed now is a watertight government policy enabling those who’ve been fully jabbed to travel freely, and not have to self-isolate on their return.
“Those who are not fully vaccinated should be able to travel with proof of a negative test, like what we are seeing in the EU.
“The travel sector needs this now if it is to survive this summer as domestic travel alone will not save the day.”