Covid: Travellers recall ‘stressful’ process of pre-travel tests
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The Government announced the scrapping of travel Covid tests for fully vaccinated travellers yesterday. While entering the UK will still require the filling in of a passenger locator form, there will be no need for testing from February 11.
Coming back to the UK will be easier, and cheaper, from next month, but Britons may still face restrictions at their holiday destinations.
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We made the right calls at the right time.
“Thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it’s paying off – allowing us to safely remove nearly all COVID-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers.
“We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of these changes we now have a travel sector to match it.
“This final step in our stable and safe full return to international travel is a major boost for UK tourism, setting Britain free ahead of the crucial half term and spring holiday season.”
The UK is open to tourists. Something PM Boris Johnson was keen to tell the world.
He said: “Thanks to the phenomenal success of our booster campaign and the extraordinary efforts of the public, the UK is officially one of the most open countries in Europe.
“We are ready to welcome visitors from across the globe.
“Now is a fantastic time to book a trip and enjoy the best the UK has to offer.”
The travel sector has suffered greatly during the pandemic and the latest Government announcement was welcomed by the industry.
Alistair Rowland, Chief Executive of Blue Bay Travel and Chairman of ABTA, said: “It’s been a long time coming but, finally, holidaymakers can look forward to the return of near normal travel.
“The latest announcement to remove the final testing measure for the fully vaccinated and scrap quarantine for the unvaccinated is a real game-changer and these changes will provide a major leap forward in bringing the joy back into travel.
“There’s no doubt that the admin and cost associated with the testing, quarantine and form-filling of the past two years, plus the general uncertainty over whether the holiday would go ahead or not, has taken a lot of the fun out of travel.
“Remember when all you had to do was pack a suitcase, grab your passport and head to the airport?
“These latest moves, plus the promise from Grant Shapps that the Passenger Locator Form is to be simplified, will ease the process of holidaying in 2022 and help the travel industry enormously.
“It’s important for holidaymakers to remember that they will still need to check whether they need to produce a negative test to enter the country they are visiting, with rules varying by country and depending on the vaccination status of the traveller.”
To attract holidaymakers to the UK, VisitBritain is launching an international marketing campaign costing £10million, which will target Europe and the US and launch next month.
VisitBritain chief executive, Sally Balcombe, said: “We know there is pent up demand for travel.
“Our priority is to build back demand for Britain and visitor spending as quickly as possible, competing hard for international visitors who contribute billions to our economy.
“As well as messages of welcome and reassurance, we’re shining the spotlight on our vibrant and diverse cities.
“Telling the stories of our renowned heritage with a modern twist, our buzzing contemporary culture and innovative food and drink scene.
“We are showing that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences to come and see today.”
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