29 November 2021
Ian Bell, head of travel and tourism at RSM, responds to the latest travel restrictions which sees 10 new countries added to the red list and reintroducing day two PCR tests for all inbound travellers. ‘Extending the red list and reintroducing day two PCR testing is the latest unexpected blow for the travel sector, at a time when the industry has just opened up and consumer confidence was starting to return.
‘A blow to consumer confidence just before the peak booking season in January could be the final straw for many travel businesses that have been remarkably resilient, with the help of Government support, in unprecedented conditions. However, many travel operators will have nothing left in the tank and without urgent tailored support we could see significant business distress across the sector, if restrictions stay in place into the New Year.
‘Understandably the Government has to move quickly to prevent the spread of the omicron variant, but it also needs to recognise the knock-on effect and mayhem this causes for an already strained travel sector. As the majority of Government Covid support has ended, the travel sector needs tailored financial support to help vulnerable businesses and prevent business closures, high unemployment and longer-term pressure on international connectivity at a time when the UK wants to be more outward focused following Brexit. This could be as simple as bearing the cost of the PCR testing for all inbound travellers, or specific grants for businesses within the travel sector.’