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WTTC letter to PM warns of £639m daily loss if international travel remains off-limits in July  

Global tourism body The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has written an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson warning that the UK will lose £639m a day during July if international travel remains off-limits.

WTTC, which represents the global private travel and tourism sector, said the UK faces a possible £19.8bn monthly loss, as well as potentially losing up to 218,000 more jobs in the sector if international travel is effectively delayed until August.

The letter to the prime minister, signed by WTTC Members including TUI, Silversea Cruises, and The Travel Corporation, praised the progress made with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, which it urged the government to take advantage of in order to resume safe international travel.

It also outlined four steps the government could take immediately, which it said would provide a boost to “struggling” travel and tourism businesses in the UK.

Virginia Messina, senior vice president at WTTC, said: “Stalling the resumption of international travel could cost the country dearly. We simply can’t afford any further delay - we are running out of time and money, with many more businesses in danger of going bust, which would result in more jobs losses.

“However, there are steps that the government can take now so that by 24 June when the green list of travel destinations is updated, we can get travel safely moving again, bring certainty to a market begging for stability and help power the economic recovery.

“Only through these measures will the future be brighter for many and will we be able to achieve a long term, inclusive and sustainable recovery. The restoration of free cross-border mobility is essential to help drive the economic recovery from the pandemic.”

WTTC’s open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson proposes the following four measures:

  • Reopen international travel by allowing fully vaccinated citizens to travel freely without quarantine, both inbound and outbound. They should be able to visit countries with similar vaccination levels and with proven low-infection rates, such as the EU, the US and Canada, through a data-driven transparent approach which will help restore consumer confidence
  • Remove PCR testing requirements for travel from countries on the green list and replace by a rapid test or no test
  • Require only one test for those travelling from countries on the amber list of travel destinations. PCR tests are expensive and inconvenient, and their use will continue to deter people from travelling for either business or leisure
  • Set a date to reopen international travel - to be announced on 24 June and implemented by 19 July, in line with the final unlocking of social measures in England.