Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reportedly written to Boris Johnson to urge him to relax the current restrictions around holidays to aid the recovery of the UK economy.
According to the Sunday Times, the Chancellor told the PM that the UK’s travel restrictions are “out of step” in comparison to other countries.
Mr Sunak is said to have emphasised in particular the impact that the international travel rules are having on the tourism and hospitality sector and noted that the success of the country’s vaccination programme should warrant a relaxation of the restrictions.
Meanwhile, local travel industry body ANITA have added their voice to calls for the UK to come into line with other European countries in regards to travel requirements saying “it is time to bring traffic light system up to date”.
Damian Murphy from Anita said: “The UK continue to have the toughest border regulations in Europe which continue to have a negative affect to people’s travel plans. Now is the time for Prime Minister Boris Johnston to make good on his promise to get travel moving again by updating the UK’s return travel requirements.
“A vaccine passport should be just that, and allow those who have been fully vaccinated in the UK to return home again without the need for further testing. The traffic light system in its original form has served its intended purpose and needs updated. This new ‘Amber watch’ category is proving to be a bigger deterrent to would be holiday makers than almost anything else and I think it should be done away with.
“We have already lost most of this summers trade but we have have a chance for the autumn if the system is upgraded now. I would also call on both the UK government in Westminster and our own Executive at Stormont to come up with a financial support package to help get our sector to the end of this year – they need to act now as time is running out!”
Support to the relaxation of travel regulations is widespread. A group of UK airline bosses have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urging him to reduce the “still onerous and increasingly disproportionate burden of testing on travellers” and to move more countries to be added to the government’s green list.
The letter states: “The world has changed since the inception of the traffic light system, and ‘green status’ should increasingly become a default, given the changing risk equation, and mirroring the approach to domestic restrictions.
“On this basis there is no reason why, and it is essential, that much of Europe including the key volume markets, the US, Caribbean and other major markets, cannot turn green next week in time for the remainder of the summer peak.”
Signatories of the letter include the chief executive of Airlines UK, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, British Airways, Jet2, Loganair, Ryanair and TUI.