Industry left bewildered by latest quarantine restrictions

Industry left bewildered by latest quarantine restrictions

Travel insiders have expressed their “bewilderment” as a range of new quarantine restrictions are introduced across the UK.

Scotland and Wales have both asked arrivals from Portugal and parts of Greece to isolate for 14-days on arrival, but England and Northern Ireland have held off.

Wales’ rules, including only six Greek islands, began at 04:00 this morning.

Travel firms called for urgent clarity, with even transport secretary Grant Shapps admitting travellers were finding the rules “confusing”.

While Wales’ advice has already changed, arrivals to Scotland from Portugal and French Polynesia will also have to self-isolate from 04:00 tomorrow.

Scotland has already reintroduced quarantine for arrivals from the whole of Greece.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC chief executive, said: “WTTC shares the bewilderment of British holidaymakers and those working throughout the tourism sector, at the absurd spectacle of completely different quarantine rules in England, Scotland and Wales for those now returning back from Greece.

“A similar situation is emerging with Portugal.

“This public policy lottery is creating chaos.

“It shows confusion, mistrust and further seriously undermines the credibility of the government in the eyes of the public.”

She added: “We urgently need to restore the confidence to travel, not create more uncertainty.

“It is vital we have a properly coordinated response across the UK, which people – and the tourism sector – can both understand and have confidence in.

“Blanket quarantines are disruptive, unhelpful and have a devastating economic impact.

“Unfortunately, there has been no plan from the government on how to abandon them and focus instead on reopening ‘air corridors’ between cities which have similar low coronavirus infection rates to revive international business and leisure travel responsibly.”

Officials at the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association mirrored anger at the confusion over quarantine rules/

Comment on continual changes, Mike Tibbert, vice president of the organisation, said: “It feels as if the government is playing games, with all its half announcements and teasers.

“The entire travel sector and the travelling public need consistency and clear, well timed messaging, not a drip drip of what might or might not happen and which country might be added to or removed from the ‘safe list’.

“But the toing-and-froing on the safe list versus quarantine is actually distracting from the main issue which is the total lack of immediate support for the travel sector and the complete absence of a strategic plan to save future travel.

“Once lost, our connectivity to the rest of the world – and consequently theirs to us – will disappear.

“And once this happens and we lose flight routes, it will be years before we can rebuild these.”

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