The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is calling on the UK government to abandon its “confusing and damaging” traffic light system and replace it with a “simpler and easier to understand” list of green and red countries.
The industry association argues that the move would, at a stroke, simplify a system which has become steadily discredited over recent months.
The current scheme, the WTTC says, has left both holidaymakers and businesses wrong footed, out of pocket and has eroded consumer confidence to travel.
Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said: “It’s time the government removed the ambiguity by abandoning the confusing and damaging traffic light system and replacing it with a simple system of green and red categories and clear rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated, so travellers know exactly where they stand.”
Messina continued: “While the rhetoric has changed to a more positive note, what we need is action. We need to provide clarity across the UK Travel & Tourism sector, which has been crying out for the present highly unpredictable system to be dropped, having brought international travel from the UK to its knees.”
The WTTC’s boss pointed out that: “The UK should now open its doors not just to fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU, but to double-jabbed visitors from all over the world too – showing we’re open for business and ready to welcome all safe travellers.”
The industry association also argues that the government needs to significantly widen the green list so fully-vaccinated UK citizens can get their right back to travel safely around the world and welcome leisure and business travellers alike.
Returning UK visitors also need the day two PCR test to be replaced with an easy-to-use antigen test, like in other countries, with PCR tests only for those testing positive.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated visitors should continue needing to take a test on departure, as well as a PCR test on Day two of their return.
The WTTC is also urging coordination with and reciprocity from other countries so that the rules are applied equally and fairly to ensure maximum ease of international mobility for travellers.
The global tourism body believes that re-establishing the freedom of movement around the world is essential to ensure international coordination at every level, underpinned by a data driven, risk-based approach.