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UK TRAVEL IT’S A NEW WORLD…BUT THERE IS LIGHT


The UK is gradually opening up again but it is currently not permitted to travel abroad for holidays. Some countries have closed borders, and any country can further regulate travel or bring in new restrictions with little advanced warning. However, UK nationals can travel if they can prove a permitted reason such as for work or medical grounds. Conversely, passengers travelling into the UK must have proof of a negative test and have pre-booked two further tests prior to arrival, and then must self-isolate for ten days where they are staying.


There are 40 countries on the RED LIST whose cItizens are forbidden from entering the UK:


Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan,Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates (including Dubai), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Although, UK nationals can still travel to these countries, on return they must have proof of a negative Covid test taken three days prior to arrival, and then quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel. The cost of £1,750 for a sin- gle person, £2,400 for a couple or £2,725 for a couple plus child under 11, must be paid for by the passenger and the whole process is managed by The Department of Health who ensure compliance.


THE FUTURE: THE TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM


It is believed on 17 May, the UK Government will announce plans to operate a traffic light system of red, amber and green. When launched the current ban on non-essential travel will be removed. Countries and islands will be assigned colours based on a range of Covid-19 health metrics, including vaccination numbers and infection rates. Variants and the ability of the country to identify variants will also be considered. The different traffic light colours will detail the risk in each region, but also the tests and quarantine periods required. Because the Government plans to rate islands separately from a country’s mainland, it will make holidays more likely. For example, if the cases rise in Portugal but not the Azores, these areas will be separated and assigned colours accordingly.


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GREEN LIST REGIONS: Travellers returning from here will need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two of their return, but there is no requirement to quarantine. AMBER COUNTRIES: Arrivals will need to quarantine at home for ten days, in addition to tests. RED COUNTRIES: Arrivals must quarantine for ten days in government-managed hotel quarantine. To reduce the risk of disruption the Government is planning to move countries between colours monthly, instead of weekly as happened last year.


INCREASED AIRPORT CHARGES


With over 58 million holidays booked in the UK in 2019, it is clear that income from airport work is a sizeable revenue stream for our trade. However, during lockdown, over 50% of UK airports have 0increased their drop-off/pick-up charges as shown in the table opposite. Airports argue that these increases are levied to pay for improvements in infrastructure and are a physical penalty against climate change excesses. Whilst it is still free to drop off at Heathrow, the airport has just announced their intention to introduce a £5 forecourt access charge later in the year and from 1 July it is increasing its feeder park charges from £3.60 to £10 stating: “The regulated price for the taxi feeder park is calculated purely to cover the cost of operating the service and does not generate any revenue for the airport.” Meanwhile, Gatwick has initiated a £5 drop-off levy, whilst Manchester’s five-minute drop-off charge has increased 66% from £3 to £5.





Club Cars, Manchester, Manager, Gary Bregan, told PHTM: “We advise airport passengers that there is a £5 levy; but our concern is when you have a minibus full of passengers and you exceed 10 minutes, then a £25 fee is payable.


It is clear these stealth taxes that eat into our trade’s profits are here to stay. Some will pass the extra cost directly to passengers whilst others may have no option but to absorb the charges themselves in order to remain competitive.





On the bright side there is no shortage of holidays being booked in anticipation of the Government announcement as many countries are now happy to welcome UK visitors due to our high level of vaccinations.


This news bodes well for our trade. Gear up, Get ready: these are positive signs that there are boom times ahead to kickstart our industry’s much needed route to recovery!


MAY 2021


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