The government’s handling of travel policy throughout the Covid pandemic has been shambolic and confusing. With the price to pay, once again, placed at the door of hospitality.
For almost a year most people residing in the UK have been severely limited in their ability to travel locally, even from their own homes to see their nearest and dearest. Through the same time period almost anyone from around the globe was free to fly into the UK with no checks, and millions did so. This statement is wrong on so many levels… two contradictory policies that are diametrically opposed defying comprehension.
Ordinarily there are many reasons to visit the UK that sustain a thriving tourism industry and millions of jobs within it. Ordinarily when UK tourism is reopened you would expect things to return to ‘normal’ withing a reasonable amount of time. But, at what cost to consumer confidence has the short term open door travel policy throughout the pandemic cost in longer term consumer confidence. Will the UK be seen as a safe destination, or have scenes like congested Heathrow arrival and departure lounges over the festive season come at a higher price than calculated?
Our open door policy was in fact so inept, that over the festive season when Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced government had “lost control of the virus”, it was taken from us. At that point circa 50 countries closed their borders to travellers from the UK.
The UK tourism industry has and continues to be on hold until it is safe to reopen. When it is, we can look forward to welcoming back tourists, but to what degree has government travel policy throughout the Covid pandemic dented their confidence to do so?
Surely, a Minister for Hospitality with experience of how travel and hospitality interlink could have liaised with the ministers responsible for the UK open door international travel policy and come up with something more sustainable.
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Hospitality & Catering News: Government travel policy – at a high price for hospitality – 18 January 2021 – Government travel policy – at a high price for hospitality
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