Travel chiefs are calling on the Home Office to scrap the 14-day mandatory travel quarantine on people arriving in the UK from 8 June.
They have accused the government of acting “woefully slow” and more than 70 company heads have co-signed a letter to Priti Patel the Home Secretary.
The letter says that this is “the last thing the travel industry needs,” as it will deter people from wanting to fly to the UK.
The letter reads, “is a mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers which will deter foreign visitors from coming here, deter UK visitors from travelling abroad and, most likely, cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on British visitors, as France has already announced.
“Many people urged the government to impose quarantine regulations during the early phases of Covid-19. Instead, no action was taken and flights from infected countries were allowed to land, disgorging thousands of potentially affected passengers into the wider community.”
The letter continues, “Covid-19 is now under control and we commend the government for its handling of what was an extraordinary and unprecedented situation.
“However, the economic cost of the government’s action is yet to be seen, apart from the early indicators which paint a grim picture.”
The tourism and travel sector accounts for almost four million jobs across the UK, or 11% of the workforce.
Those who signed the letter included heads from the Ritz, Dorchester and Hyatt Regency London hotels, as well as tourism groups including Cookson Adventures and Original Travel.
The letter added, the government have been “woefully slow to react and has procrastinated to the point of absurdity” in either providing support for, or ruling against, the concept of refund credit notes in the tourism and travel industry.
“Unlike many businesses who can scale down their workforce very rapidly, travel companies still need to employ staff when business stops, either to cancel or rearrange existing, often complex, bookings,” the letter says.
“The government has done its best to suppress and control the invidious viral contagion, but it should not, and must not, exceed its mandate.
“The people of this country do not wish to be prevented from travelling. Quite simply it is time to switch the emphasis from protection to economic recovery before it is too late.”
George Morgan-Grenville, CEO of tour operator Red Savannah said, “Signatories to this letter are more used to competing ferociously but, on this issue, we are united.
“The quarantine plans are poorly thought-out, wholly detrimental to industry recovery and are more or less unworkable.”