Boris Johnson this morning insisted that “double jabs will be a liberator” when asked whether fully vaccinated people would be able to travel to and from amber list countries by July 26 without having to isolate on return.
Speaking while visiting Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, the Prime Minister said: “Everybody who is frustrated about travel over the summer – double jabs will be a liberator.
“I want travel to be possible but I’ve got to stress that this year will not be like every other year because of the difficulties with Covid. People shouldn’t expect it will be completely hassle free.”
Earlier this month transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the government was planning to drop mandatory restrictions for double dosed people returning from amber list countries.
“Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the summer UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries,” Shapps said.
In recent days, there have been reports that the measures could be introduced by 26 July, potentially saving the summer holiday season for thousands of families.
But with 60 per cent of UK adults already fully vaccinated, some have questioned why the plans should be delayed for another four weeks.
Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade told City A.M.: “Europe continues to open up quicker whilst the UK meanders in the slow lane and risks the very existence of its aviation industry, which we will need to make Global Britain a reality.
“It’s madness to waste our vaccine dividend – over 60 per cent of the population have now been fully jabbed and we should be allowing them to travel without restrictions.
“Instead all we have formally from Ministers is a vague commitment to do so ‘later in the summer’, which frankly will be too late to save the summer season. We need to get on with it.”
A spokesperson for tourism body ABTA said: “We’re encouraged that the Government intends to relax rules for fully vaccinated people visiting Amber destinations.
“However, this change must be implemented quickly to make a meaningful different to the travel sector and to help avoid a second summer of lost business. The clock is ticking to save jobs in the travel industry.”
There has also been a push for the same rules to apply to non-UK citizens with the same vaccination status coming here for holidays. The Department for Transport (DfT) said that this was the intention.
Such a step is crucial for domestic holiday firms, which have seen revenues plummet due to the UK’s travel restrictions.
Earlier today trade body UK Inbound submitted to the Treasury a proposal for Tourism Export Recovery Fund which would allow tour operators and DMCs to apply for a capped grant award based on their 2019 revenue levels.
Chief executive Joss Croft said: “The UK economy is losing £78m a day in exports due to a total collapse in international visitors, and failure to support this industry will have a detrimental impact on our national economic recovery.
“Our borders have effectively been closed since March 2020, with previously profitable and sustainable businesses seeing their revenue drop by over 90% since 2019. These businesses have also been forgotten by the Treasury and left out of existing Government support schemes.
“It is essential that Government provides targeted support to the UK’s 230 inbound tour operators and DMCs to ensure their survival until the return of the market,