Abta calls for ‘early statement’ on ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries

‘Watch list’ will make people hesitant to book, warns Tanzer

Abta calls for ‘early statement’ on ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries

Abta has called for “an early statement” from the government on the countries on the green list for restarting travel under the new traffic light system.

And Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer has warned restrictions on arrivals from amber category countries are so severe they could make people hesitate to book destinations on a ‘green watch list’.

Tanzer told Travel Weekly: “We’ve said to ministers ‘Waiting until the day before May 17 before telling us means travel won’t restart on May 17.”

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Tanzer described the lack of detail in the government’s Global Travel Taskforce report as just “one of the frustrations”.

The government has said it will identify countries as green, amber or red within the traffic light system in “early May”.

But Tanzer said: “Government definitions of ‘early May’ can be anything up to the middle of May. And a day really counts not just in terms of the industry getting ready, but in customers’ confidence to book.”

He argued: “The government has given very general guidance as to the parameters that will go to deciding which countries are in which category.

“So it talks about vaccination levels, the presence of variants and so forth, but there is no guidance as to how high those thresholds will be set or which countries will come into that category.

“I understand the government is trying to balance giving early advice against the risk the advice may change. But we’re pushing them for an early statement on which countries are going to be open on May 17.

“We’ve been saying to the government that having gone right through the Easter period with international travel still illegal, the summer season is even more important than ever. A day lost is crucial let alone a week.

“So we’re keeping up the pressure, we and other industry bodies, to get an early statement on which countries are going to be open.”

Tanzer described the amber category as “very severe”, arguing: “For short trips and business trips, amber is in effect a prohibition. And the step up from green to amber is very big.”

He warned: “People will be hesitant to book if they think something is on the green watch list because amber is so severe.

“There is a lot missing from the report in terms of detail and clearly a lot of work still needs to be done to get ready for the safe restart of international travel.

“I’m anxious that the government needs to increase its pace to get us in a position where we can actually get moving.”

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