Travel Industry Reacts to England Reopening for Fully Vaccinated Tourists From US, EU
The United Kingdom’s transport minister announced Wednesday that fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and United States would be allowed to skip COVID-related quarantine when visiting England.
According to Reuters.com, Transport Minister Grant Shapps revealed that travelers who received a full vaccination from an approved brand would no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival in England, starting on August 2.
Shapps said the reopening of England to international tourists would likely be followed by the rest of the United Kingdom welcoming travelers in the coming weeks, which would be another huge boost for the airlines and travel companies impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Travel & 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,” WTTC Acting CEO Virginia Messina said.
“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,” Messina continued.
While quarantine restrictions have been lifted, travelers from the EU and U.S. will still need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure and soon after arrival in England.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that the U.S. will not lift any existing travel restrictions in the foreseeable future due to concerns regarding the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant.
“British government leaders have made a wise decision in reopening England to vaccinated travelers from the United States,” U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said.
“It’s time for U.S. leaders to do the same and set a timeline to reopen our national borders—and we encourage them to start with vaccinated travelers from the U.K., E.U. and Canada,” Barnes continued. “The reality is there’s no difference between a vaccinated American and those vaccinated in the U.K., the E.U. and Canada.”
Despite the White House not reopening to international arrivals, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday he is discussing a travel corridor with the U.S., which would mean the restart of non-essential transatlantic tourism.
“Following news that fully vaccinated EU and US citizens arriving into the UK will no longer be required to self-isolate, we stand ready to work with Government to ensure new rules are smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the Transatlantic corridor,” Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said.
“Recent proof-of-concept trial between Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and British Airways has demonstrated our readiness to rapidly operationalize an expanded Amber policy, with 99% of customers’ vaccine credentials authenticated at the point of departure,” Weiss continued.