‘Agents have their work cut out’ as industry prepares for bookings surge

By Linsey McNeill
Home » ‘Agents have their work cut out’ as industry prepares for bookings surge

Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said hailed today as a ‘landmark day for the industry’ as travel restrictions are removed for fully vaccinated arrivals.

But she warned that agents ‘have their work cut out’ to manage a surge in bookings, which has already begun – and keep on top of ever-changing regulations.

From today, fully vaccinated UK arrivals no longer need to take any COVID tests. They still need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) , but this has been simplified to request only their travel history, proof of vaccination and contact details.

However, industry hopes that the PLF will be ditched altogether in two weeks along with remaining domestic COVID restrictions appear to have been dashed by an announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that from the end of February travellers will be given an extra day to fill out the form. This suggests the PLF will remain for the foreseable future.

Arrivals who aren’t fully vaccinated must also continue to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before their second day in the UK, but they don’t have to self-isolate unless their test is positive.

Announcing the changes, Mr Shapps said: “The UK has eased international travel measures for Covid-19 and now has one of the most free-flowing borders in the world – sending a clear message that we are open for business.

“As our travel sector rapidly recovers, and we accelerate towards a future where we want travel to remain open for good, these rule changes coming ahead of half term are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.”

However, Ms Bue-Said warned that many other countries still have restrictions in place and pointed out that none of the top 10 most popular destinations for British holidaymakers are open to everyone.

“After two of the hardest years on record for the UK outbound travel industry – 11th February is indeed a day of celebration for the UK’s travel industry,” she said.

“With many of the testing regulations to enter the UK now relaxed, it will now become much easier for holidaymakers and business travellers to return to the UK from abroad, and allow inbound tourists, who contribute so much to the UK’s economy, plan a return visit.

“However, whilst the landscape is slowly becoming easier for travel, there continues to be a great deal of complexity and we are definitely not out of the woods quite yet.”

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