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Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO

WTTC opposes travel quarantine, calls for balance between health and economic priorities

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has responded to the UK government’s focus on 10-day quarantines for travellers from ‘high risk’ countries, saying it will cause “enormous damage” to the travel and tourism sector.

Gloria Guevara (pictured), WTTC president & CEO, said: “WTTC is implacably opposed to quarantines as, while protecting the public is paramount, there needs to be a balance struck between health and economic priorities.

“These latest government proposals, to impose a 10-day hotel quarantine on those UK inbound travellers originating from so-called ‘high-risk’ countries, will still cause enormous damage to the travel,” said Guevara.

The WTTC has said it firmly believes testing on departure and arrival for all travellers is the only way to halt the spread of the virus in its tracks, while still allowing negative testing passengers to travel in safety and restore international mobility.

“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and many other major international organisations do not recommend quarantines, as they are an ineffective public health measure. Community transmission poses a far greater peril than international travel,” Guevara noted.

The WTTC has also noted that a number of countries, such as Iceland, have successfully implemented a testing regime on arrival, which has curbed the spread or coronavirus, while ensuring borders remain open.

Guevara also urged government to be transparent about the metric used to label a country as ‘high risk’, adding it was vital to have a clear exit strategy and more details on testing on arrival policy.