Senior travel industry officials have reacted with fury to new travel ban rules that impose a £ 5,000 fine on anyone going on vacation.
They accuse ministers and councilors of “a coordinated campaign” to shatter hopes of an early summer escape, and say new vacation bookings have “come to a complete halt.”
Britain’s latest foreclosure law, which comes into effect on March 29, states: “No one may, without a reasonable excuse, leave England to a destination outside the UK. ”
The rules are theoretically in effect until the end of June, but will be revised before April 12 – the day the government’s Global Travel Working Group reports on the possible reopening of international travel from May 17.
But a former president of Abta said The independent that he believes a “coordinated campaign” seeks to undermine trust among potential travelers.
Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil and still a member of Abta’s board of directors, said: “The public is afraid. Reservations have completely stopped.
“This leads us to think that it was orchestrated to deter people from booking, which means that as an industry we don’t know what capacity to put in place.
“Flights will have to be canceled, hotels might just turn around now and say they don’t want to open because they don’t get a booking feed.
“It just shows a complete misunderstanding of how the travel industry works.
“It will be a huge blow, not only to the travel industry here, but also to travel industry employment in many of our host countries.
“I think the government has to be behind this. It seems totally unnecessary when we’re on lockdown, when everyone knows travel is only allowed on May 17th. ”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, Managing Director of Advantage Travel Partnership, lamented what she described as “more alarmist today at a time when emotions are charged.”
She said: “Holidays abroad are already illegal until May 17th at the earliest, there is no doubt that at present travel is illegal and therefore I suggest that we stay measured until. that the Global Travel Taskforce led by the DfT. [Department for Transport] publish their report on April 12.
“Despite this ban, the government has found it necessary to now impose fines of £ 5,000 at the border as well as a provision banning travel until July.
“As we reflect on the lives lost and the challenges of the past year, there is more confusion over what consumers can do this summer – still a few months away.
“The travel industry isn’t just about taking vacations. It connects people with loved ones separated for months, employs over a million people in the UK and is a lifeline for many businesses – millions of people depend on the ecosystem supported by travel international.
Twenty days before the Global Travel Taskforce reports, Ms. Lo Bue-Said called for “clarity from the government, following the data, as to when the time is right to provide a criterion for which countries can be visited either on the basis of vaccination numbers and / or transmission rates.
“We also need any vaccine certification system to work hand in hand with testing for those who have not been vaccinated.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News the new law does not affect the roadmap for reopening international travel.
“That said, it is now too early to know where the Global Travel Taskforce will come from and what the decision will be for May 17th.
“The reason is that we are seeing this third wave coming up in parts of Europe and we are also seeing new variations.
“It is very important that we protect the progress that we have been able to make here in the UK.”