Last night’s announcement of the expanded green list has failed to impress the travel industry, with concerns the green watch list will badly affect consumer confidence.
Nevertheless, operators have added new flights and packages to green-list countries, with extra capacity to Malta, Madeira and the Balearics.
But there’s bemusement that other destinations have been left off the list and concern the new additions are not enough to save summer.
Dnata Travel Group Divisional Senior Vice President John Bevan described the new green list as ‘better than nothing’. But he warned: “This is not enough to save the travel industry or sustain it long term.
“There are other destinations which fall within the Government’s own criteria to be classified as green, so why not reopen them as well? Having just a handful of destinations open will also inevitably ignite a rush of demand for them and result in a capacity crunch and increased prices as availability disappears.
“Other markets have already been travelling there for weeks. Vaccinated Brits may now be able to freely visit these destinations, but it may not be affordable for them do so. “
“It remains to be seen whether today marks Day One of travel’s recovery but it won’t be an overnight process. Many good travel businesses will stay in the hole caused by this pandemic and still face a very difficult few months. So we continue to call for urgent sector specific support to facilitate a sustained recovery.”
ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said: “With several of these popular holiday destinations being placed on the green watchlist, this will not on its own deliver the meaningful restart of international travel that the industry desperately needs.”
Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Serious questions remain as to why these destinations weren’t opened up sooner when there is clear evidence to suggest this could have been done weeks ago.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said: “While we welcome the addition of Malta, Madeira and the Balearics to the green list, this is still not the safe and sustainable reopening of travel the Government promised. This limited reopening is not justified by the data.
“The science shows that travel to many European countries would have very little impact on hospitalisation and this is even more the case now given that Covid cases in Europe have declined, with many countries having lower infection rates than the UK.”
Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy said: “We have been urging the UK Government to stay true to their word and follow the scientific evidence when it comes to making decisions about international travel, so today’s announcement is an overdue but welcome step in the right direction. We believe other destinations should still be added to the Green List, however what this demonstrates is that the Government is firmly committed to reopening international travel and we commend that approach.”
Jason Oshiokpekhai, Managing Director of Global Travel Collection UK said: “What still rings true is our lack of insight into what official data determines a country as green. This data determines the course of our industry’s future. It is what will repair consumer confidence, a vital determinant in our recovery. We deserve this transparency.”