The UK’s travel industry has reacted positively to the government’s decision to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and US from next week.
The move takes effect from 0400 on Monday August 2, and applies to travellers who have been vaccinated in the EU or US, arriving into England or Scotland from an amber list country.
Travellers will still need to take a test before departure, as well as a Day 2 PCR test following arrival.
The news builds on the government’s announcement earlier this month that fully vaccinated UK travellers returning to England from “amber list” countries would no longer have to quarantine.
But for now arrivals from France will continue to need to quarantine for ten days, due to the number of cases involving the South African “Beta” variant of Covid-19. This restriction is scheduled to be reviewed at the end of next week.
And of course US borders remain largely closed to arrivals from the UK, with the White House recently stating that it does not intend to lift Covid-19 restrictions for non-Americans.
Welcoming the UK government’s announcement British Airways’ chairman and CEO Sean Doyle, said:
“Our own trials have proved its quick and easy to check travellers are fully vaccinated and can safely enter the UK, and this step will allow us to reunite loved ones and get Global Britain back in business, giving the economy the vital boost it so badly needs.
“With the UK’s Covid cases falling while vaccinations continue to rise, now is the time for the Government to help secure the re-opening of the crucial UK-US travel corridor, move more low-risk Amber countries to the Green list to allow customers to book with confidence and to review the current expensive testing requirements that are out of step with our neighbours.”
Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Shai Weiss said that the carrier “stands ready to work with Government to ensure new rules are smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the transatlantic corridor”.
United Airlines said that it would operate six daily flights between the US and London during August, including a second daily service from Washington DC, and increasing its Houston-London frequency to daily.
“Today’s announcement is yet another major milestone in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic with the opening of one of the most important markets from the US,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances at United.
“United has demonstrated that we can operate flights between the US and England safely and we are eager to help rebuild these economies by facilitating business and leisure travel.”
Karen Dee, CEO of the UK’s Airport Operators Association said that the move was “a significant and welcome step forward that will be a boost to airports, our inbound visitor economy and the many families who will be able to reunite after a long and difficult period”, while Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said:
“The UK allowing double vaccinated travellers to enter from the US and EU without quarantine is very welcome news.
“This is a vital shot in the arm for the travel industry and places the UK at the forefront of international protocols.
“The key to success is for other nations to reciprocate and get people travelling safely for business and leisure once more.”
The UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England, and reacting to today’s news Virginia Messina, senior vice president and acting CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said:
“The Travel and Tourism sector – and the UK economy – will get a huge boost following news that fully-vaccinated US and EU visitors will at last be able to travel quarantine-free to England.
“The cruise industry will breathe a sigh of relief that the crucial relaunch of international cruise departures from England has been given the green light, giving hope to a sector which has struggled to stay afloat. “It also throws a vital lifeline to airlines and businesses throughout the sector, by helping to restore much-need transatlantic travel and essential links to the EU.
“However, unless it’s reciprocal and the US responds with a similar move, we won’t see the full benefit.
“Research shows that before the pandemic US visitors to the UK contributed more than more than £4 billion to the economy in 2019, underlining the importance of transatlantic travel.
“We urgently need internationally coordinated action to reopen borders to safe international travel for all visitors who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
“Harmonisation would restore international mobility, ensure reduced protocols for vaccinated travellers, emphasise the importance of global vaccine recognition, and enable global use of ‘digital health passes’.”