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WTTC and BTA respond to Covid-19 traffic light update

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Business Travel Association (BTA) have both responded to the UK’s latest Covid-19 traffic light update.

Today, 5 August, France has been moved from the UK’s amber-plus list to the amber list. Double vaccinated passengers returning to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from France will not need to quarantine after Sunday (8 August).

Moreover, Germany, Austria, and Norway have now been added to the green list, meaning that they present the lowest Covid risk. A total of 36 countries/territories are now on the UK’s green list.

These changes will come into force at 04:00 BST on 8 August.

Commenting on the recent travel updates, Virginia Messina, senior vice-president and acting CEO, WTTC, said: “It’s time the Government removed the ambiguity by abandoning the confusing and damaging traffic light system and replacing it with a simple system of green and red categories and clear rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated, so travellers know exactly where they stand. “While the rhetoric has changed to a more positive note, what we need is action. We need to provide clarity across the UK Travel & Tourism sector, which has been crying out for the present highly unpredictable system to be dropped, having brought international travel from the UK to its knees.”

Messina added: “The UK should now open its doors not just to fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU, but to double-jabbed visitors from all over the world too – showing we are open for business and ready to welcome all safe travellers.”

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, was more positive about the UK Government announcement and said: “We welcome the announcement on travel regulations. The introduction of more countries to the green and amber lists is a leap forward in the return of safe international travel. The Government has taken the right and strong decisions in abandoning plans for watchlists and removing France’s unique amber plus status. These were potentially calamitous moves which would have jeopardised the future of the whole travel and aviation supply chains.”

Wratten added: “The opening of routes into the Middle East is of particular significance for business travel. It will take some time for business travel to return at scale, but this enables our sector to contribute to UK GDP and the international trading reputation of our country once more. We urge the Government to continue to help the travel sector to get back on its feet and to work to create international protocols that boost travellers’ confidence.”