Travel industry welcomes end to testing for fully vaccinated arrivals to UK

‘This latest news means we can expect demand to soar for the February half-term’ – CEO of Brittany Ferries, Christophe Mathieu

Simon Calder
Travel Corresponden
Monday 24 January 2022 15:48 GMT
Watch live as transport secretary Grant Shapps gives updates on Covid travel advice

The aviation industry, travel firms and ferry companies have welcomed the imminent abolition of testing for fully vaccinated arrivals to England.

The prime minister said the so-called “day two” test is to be suspended, though he did not say when.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, said: “This change will be welcomed by the millions of vaccinated people who are desperate to travel and will now be able to do so – restriction-free – for the first time in more than a year.

“Travel restrictions do very little to stop the spread of variants like Omicron. Removing them will ensure the many cultural, social and economic benefits of international travel can be realised without any major impact on public health.”

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past. It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of Omicron in the UK and so it is important that there are no more knee jerk reactions to future variants.

“We commend the government for removing all testing; easyJet plans to return to near 2019 levels of flying this summer and so we can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board.”

The scrapping of all Covid tests from 11 Feb for fully vaxxed travellers entering the UK is a huge boost for the industry inc inbound and business travel. This, only one piece of the jigsaw. With destination protocols and current restrictions for non vaxxed need addressing too.

Abby Penlington, director of the industry body Discover Ferries, said: “This makes travelling easier and cheaper and will be a further boost to consumer confidence.

“The financial impact of testing, particularly on families, has been an additional barrier to holidaying abroad during the pandemic.“

The chief executive of Brittany Ferries, Christophe Mathieu, said: “As the barriers to travel come down, demand goes up.

“Reservations for spring and summer holidays are roaring ahead, but this latest news means we can expect demand to soar for the February half-term.

“Let us hope we can put the last of the lockdown obstacles behind us and make 2022 a comeback year to remember.”

Rules for unvaccinated travellers remain the same, with multiple tests and self-isolation still required.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, welcomed the scrapping of tests for arrivals, but said: “This is only one piece of the jigsaw.

“Destination protocols and restrictions for non- vaccinated travellers need addressing too.”

The testing industry has accused the government of lifting travel testing requirements “too quickly”, insisting “testing is the antidote to lockdowns”.

The chair of the Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO), Tom Watson, said: “The only way that our country can avoid hard lockdowns is by maintaining a robust Covid testing regime to quickly discover new variants.”

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