The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today warned the UK government that with the furlough scheme coming to an end, it has just 30 days left to save travel businesses which are struggling to survive.
WTTC also warns that unless international travel opens up more widely, with simplified controls, the UK is facing a loss of £59.4 billion.
Hundreds of thousands of employees in the Travel & Tourism sector are still benefiting from the furlough scheme, the UK government scheme which is due to end on 31 September.
This date coincides with the next Global Travel Taskforce review on 1 October, and WTTC warns that unless travel is opened up significantly by this date, many more people working in the sector could face losing their jobs due to the ending of government COVID-related support as businesses are forced to let people go.
Based on 2019 pre-pandemic levels, WTTC estimates that £59.4billion could be lost from the UK’s economy if travel remains curtailed over the final quarter of 2021 and, furthermore, £8.9billion could be lost purely due to the lack of inbound travel spending within the UK.
The UAE has announced a sensible way forward welcoming all fully vaccinated travellers regardless of which country they come from, plus a negative test result, a move that WTTC says will speed up the recovery of its Travel & Tourism sector and provide a massive boost to its economy.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO said: “Vast economic wealth and even more jobs in Travel & Tourism could be lost in 30 days’ time, if significant travel doesn’t resume by the same time the furlough scheme ends. Companies are facing a desperate future unless the government supports the sector by introducing sensible controls that build traveller confidence while keeping the UK safe.
“We should allow all fully jabbed citizens and visitors to enter the UK with a negative Covid test. There should be no need for quarantine and excessive, expensive testing requirements.
“The UK Government must do everything in its power to protect businesses and jobs in the sector and ensure it doesn’t squander the last quarter of the year. 2021 is in danger of being no better than the last for the Travel & Tourism sector, despite the incredibly successful vaccine rollout.
“The next 30 days are critical to get travel back on track. That means abandoning the traffic lights system and reducing the current testing regime so that it is simpler and cheaper.”
WTTC’s annual 2021 Economic Impact Report (EIR) revealed that the dramatic collapse of the UK’s Travel & Tourism sector wiped out a staggering £148 billion from the UK economy last year.
Furthermore, in a year in which damaging travel restrictions and ineffective quarantines brought international travel to a grinding halt, a staggering 307,000 Travel & Tourism jobs were lost across the country.
WTTC believes the UK government should scrap the damaging and ineffective traffic light system and allow fully vaccinated Brits to travel freely, with unvaccinated travellers able to travel with fast and affordable testing.