23 June 2021
With the Government review of the UK’s traffic light system for international travel expected this week, the UK’s leading business organisation – the CBI – is calling on the Government to give a higher priority to reopening the sector.
The aviation sector on its own added over £20bn per year to the economy prior to the pandemic, but it also facilitates much more in global trade, with air freight accounting for 40% of UK imports and exports by value.
Looking ahead to the review, Lord Bilimoria, CBI President, said:
“Despite our high vaccination rate and relatively low numbers in hospital, the UK risks being left behind as the world opens up for business and tourist travel. Of course, public health must be front of mind on any decisions.
“But we can’t be first on vaccines, yet last on reopening international travel. It is essential for trade and business travel, not just tourism, and a key component in any economic recovery.
“The EU has developed its Green Certificate plan for easier movement for vaccinated travellers, while action is also being taken at Member State level, as well as the US and other countries. The international business community are united that global travel should begin to restart with a common rulebook to set standards worldwide.
“We must build on the success of the vaccine programme by removing quarantine restrictions for those who are protected. And to make better use of the green watch-list, avoiding last-minute surprises of countries shifting from green into amber.
“The Government should take a truly risk-based approach with greater transparency on how nations are classified in the traffic light system.
“The international travel sector has suffered incredibly badly in this crisis. 2020 saw a 75% fall in the number of air passengers travelling to and from the UK. Without moves to open up travel in the coming days the case for further targeted economic support for the sector will be required with urgency.”