Danny Callaghan, CEO of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA), comments on new COVID-19 variant in Brazil and the associated travel bans: “LATA is aware of reports of a new COVID-19 variant that has manifested in specific areas of Brazil resulting in the UK Government’s decision to implement a flight ban from Brazil and the whole of South America.
“At LATA, we appreciate that this a rapidly evolving scenario and understand the government’s decision to impose a temporary ban whilst the situation is being assessed. That said, it is vital that this travel ban is reviewed on an ongoing basis subject to the epidemiological situation and the associated risks and not just forgotten about or kicked down the road endlessly.
“At LATA, we are committed to lobbying for a test-and-release model to enable travel to restart in a safe way. This model was implemented for lorry drivers stuck in Dover prior to the Christmas period. If it works for a lorry driver, it can work for tourists!
“There is no doubt that the region’s tourism sector has been hit hard by the economic fallout which has meant that travel to the region, for the most part, has ground to a halt. This development will further have a knock on effect in terms of consumer confidence.
“That said, at LATA, it is encouraging for us to see the hard work that is ongoing across the region to ensure a safe tourism recovery. Our destination partners are working hard to implement their own health and hygiene protocols while many of our private sector members have received the WTTC’s Safe Travel Stamp for the measures they have taken to ensure visitor safety. Likewise, the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine has already commenced in a number of Latin American countries.
“LATA continues to support its members and is working behind the scenes on its Ready to Restart campaign. Our priority is to support our members and stimulate tourism to Latin America in a safe way.”