Business chiefs call on Government to 'salvage summer' for the travel industry

Business leader in the East Midlands say urgent reform is needed now of the international travel industry if summer is to be saved.
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The East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) was responding following last week’s updates to international travel.

Scott Knowles, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “Adding a new tranche of countries to the green list is a positive step forward and, coupled with the decision to de-sensitise the test and trace system, it suggests we are heading in the right direction.

“This continues to demonstrate that we ultimately need a fundamental overhaul of the travel system.

Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executiveScott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive
Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive

"The brief creation of an ‘amber-plus’ list was a disastrous blow to consumer confidence and while its relatively swift removal was welcomed, we think it’s time to go even further and abolish the amber list altogether.

“Simplifying the traffic light system into red and green lists, with more countries added to the latter for restriction-free travel, will remove the ambiguity and finally give people the confidence they need to go abroad.

“We should also seriously consider allowing all double-vaccinated passengers to arrive in the UK without quarantining, no matter which country they arrive from, and step up the limited progress we’ve made so far in driving down the prohibitive costs of Covid tests required by the system.

“It’s already too late for many people in terms of booking holidays so (this is is needed) if the travel industry – which has been one of the hardest hit and yet hasn’t received any bespoke Government support – is to salvage anything whatsoever from this summer.

“East Midlands Airport is one of our region’s most crucial assets and is at the heart of many big plans to boost our economy and jobs.

"Despite the growth of its cargo operation, its core business involves transporting passengers.

“Therefore, it’s vital the Government takes steps to protect airport capacity, which will be crucial for the economic recovery.

"Providing a 12-month business rates holiday and reinstating a VAT rebate scheme for the sector should be considered immediately to ensure our airports remain viable.”