Scrapping international travel restrictions would have no impact on case rates, claims travel industry

Scrapping international travel restrictions would have no impact on case rates, claims travel industry (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Scrapping international travel restrictions would have no impact on case rates, claims travel industry (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The travel industry is calling on the government to scrap current testing requirements for international travellers despite the threat of Omicron.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Airlines UK are calling on the government to relax current restrictions around international travel in order to save the industry. 

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Passenger numbers 'down 30%'

Research commissioned by two travel industry bodies reportedly shows that domestic restrictions are the only way to tackle the spread of Omicron, rather than international measures. 

Pre-departure and day two PCR testing were reintroduced in late November and early December in response to the spread of the Omicron variant.

Passenger numbers at the Manchester Airports Group sites fell by more than 30% since December, according to the research.

In a joint statement, chief executives from the two organisations claimed that “travel testing requirements can be removed in full without impacting overall case rates”.

MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish and Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade pointed out that the health secretary had already acknowledged that restrictions have significantly less impact once Omicron becomes the dominant strain.

Travel restrictions 'place jobs at risk'

They said: "This latest research by Oxera and Edge Health clearly supports the position that travel testing requirements can be removed in full without impacting overall case rates and hospitalisations in the UK," 

"It should give the UK government confidence to press ahead with the immediate removal of these emergency restrictions, giving people back the freedom to travel internationally to see loved ones, explore new places and generate new business opportunities.

"Travel restrictions come at huge cost to the travel industry, and to the UK economy as a whole, placing jobs at risk and holding back the recovery of one of our most important sectors.

"It is therefore vital they do not remain in place a day longer than is necessary."

Travel restrictions are due to be reviewed today, although it is not considered likely that the measures recommended by the travel industry will be adopted in full.