Tests could halve quarantine time Ian Taylor

The government is moving towards a Covid-test regime for travel that will halve arrivals’ 14-day quarantine from non-corridor destinations. The Global Travel Taskforce is

poised to make recommendations on testing to the prime minister and is expected to recommend a Covid test five days after arrival if travellers choose to pay, with release from self-isolation after seven days if they test negative. This would satisfy the industry’s

demand for testing after five days and the government’s wish for self-isolation not to be reduced below seven days.

It is understood the government

and taskforce have decided against allowing rapid Covid tests on travellers for the time being, permitting only PCR tests, which require lab analysis. Where the tests will be conducted

– whether at airports, at home or other sites – remains undecided. A senior industry source said: “All

the signals suggest it will be five days [before a test]. But they’ve not signed off rapid testing so we’re looking at seven days [in quarantine]. “It’s not ideal. Anything more

than five days won’t push the needle [of demand] very far. Nobody wants to spend a week in self-isolation. “If you plan a long weekend in

Corridor additions are ‘opportunity’ for winter sales

Ben Ireland

The addition of eight countries to the UK’s travel corridors list has been hailed as an “opportunity” for agents to boost winter bookings. The UAE, Iceland, Chile,

Cambodia, Laos, Qatar, Bahrain and the Turks and Caicos Islands were added to the list last week, but Greece, bar five islands, was removed. Lisa McAuley, dnata Travel’s

managing director for B2B tour operations in Europe, said the UAE corridor “opens an opportunity for agents to make some much-needed winter-sun bookings” and predicted a “Dubai December”. Emirates reinstated UK-Dubai capacity.

8 19 NOVEMBER 2020 Dnata-owned Gold Medal

reported Dubai bookings were up by a “triple-digit” percentage weekend-on- weekend, with 70% of sales for its Pure Luxury brand. Sales director Nick Hughes suggested clients were “not only desperate to travel, but want to treat themselves when they finally can”. Club Med reported a spike in

interest online for its Turks and Caicos resort, while Lata chairman Colin Stewart said Chile’s addition was the “first step” to more Latin American countries being added. Meanwhile, South Africa reopened

to international travel last week. South African Tourism’s acting UK hub head, Kgomotso Ramothea, said it was a “huge step” despite the country

Every government department has an interest in this and sign-off can be slow. It’s going to be challenging

New York, it’s not going to happen. “We’ll welcome the taskforce

announcement. We want to hit the ground running. But a lot of work needs to be done putting infrastructure in place and it depends when we get sign-off from the PM. “Every government department

has an interest in this and sign-off can be slow. It’s going to be challenging.”

Reaching a decision could be

complicated by the crisis at Number 10, with the departure of senior aides last week and the requirement for Boris Johnson to self-isolate. Transport secretary Grant Shapps

said tests must be provided privately and paid for by passengers, with PCR tests costing £120-£150 each. The industry is urging the

government to introduce testing from the end of Engand’s lockdown, due on December 2. However, reports of taskforce negotiations with private test suppliers suggest the government wants testing capacity available from mid-December to handle 50,000

travellers a day. i Business, back page

Jumeirah beach, Dubai

not being on the UK corridors list. Advantage Travel Partnership

chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said said the additions “will be a welcome relief for agents” despite Foreign Office advice against international travel remaining. But she warned the “unpredictability” of travel corridors had hit consumer confidence and said the price of Covid tests must be reduced to encourage more bookings. Abta reiterated calls for regionalised quarantine. It said it “can’t stress

enough” the need for an “effective” testing regime after lockdown. Spain last week ruled negative

PCR tests taken within 72 hours will be required for arrivals from November 23, a similar requirement to Dubai, which has a 96-hour window. The Canary Islands, which began accepting cheaper and quicker antigen tests on Saturday, was due to confirm if Madrid’s decision applied

to the autonomous archipelago. i Destinations, page 28

PICTURE: Shutterstock

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