Tour operators say the UK has lost the bulk of this year’s US visitors, despite the Government removing the need for them to quarantine just in time for the peak travel period.
European tour operators’ association ETOA said booking protocols mean that business for August and September has already been cancelled.
The UK lost its high season at the start of July,” said CEO Tom Jenkins.
The EU attracted some American visitors in July after reopening its borders to the US in June, and Mr Jenkins said many more will visit in August, adding ‘all is set fair for a viable September in the Schengen area’.
But he said the UK had lost the bulk of business from the US, which usually peaks around ‘Labor Day’ in September, even though fully vaccinated Americans will be able to visit the UK quarantine-free from Monday.
“There will be some recovery. Last-minute bookings will come into London. Some of the October business will be salvaged. But the influx of American visitors that is happening in the cities and regions of the EU is not going to occur in the UK in 2021,” he said.
Jason Oshiokpekhai from Global Travel Collection UK was more optimistic about the quarantine-waiver, which also applies to fully vaccinated EU visitors travelling from amber countries.
“The waiver of quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers from the EU and US is one of the most significant announcements the corporate travel world has received in our path to recovery,” he said.
“The news will play an important role in sustaining airline capacity and preserving key routes that are imperative to our economic recovery as a country.
“What we need now is a reciprocal deal from the US that acknowledges the success of the UK vaccine programme, allowing fully vaccinated UK travellers entry in return. This missing piece of the puzzle is vital to unlock our full potential in recouping the summer 2021 losses.
“This step combined with the accompanying news of the cruise sector’s international restart, boosts our momentum and sparks confidence in our trajectory towards recovery this year.”