Blog: Post-Brexit trade deals could be harder to achieve if the UK persists with travel corridors, warns tourism chief – Telegraph.co.uk

Post-Brexit trade deals could be harder to achieve if the UK Government sticks with travel corridors this Summer, a world travel chief and former minister has warned the Prime Minister.  

Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a former Mexican minister, has written to Boris Johnson warning that other Governments are telling her that travel corridors will be a key consideration in trade talks after Brexit.  

In her letter, she said: “Our extensive consultation with WTTC Members and governments around the world, has made clear there is strong and determined opposition to air corridors.  

“According to their concerns, the UK is in danger of ‘burning bridges’ with overseas governments looking to agree trade and other deals in the post-Brexit period and putting the UK in a competitive disadvantage.  

“The strong feedback WTTC has received is that these deals will be more challenging to achieve if travel corridors are used once again this summer.   They are not the answer and have created great uncertainty for countries, consumers, airlines, and travel agents up and down the country, causing more problems than they have offered solutions.”  

The travel corridors were introduced for “green list” countries with low covid rates during the Summer last year but proved controversial as the resurgence of Coronavirus into the Autumn led to a succession of them being closed down.

They were ditched when the Government introduced the latest border restrictions including triple testing of passengers, bans on foreigners travelling from 33 red list countries and quarantine hotels for Britons returning from those destinations.  

Portuguese ministers were among the most outspoken after seeing their travel corridor closed. This week Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva also attacked the UK’s quarantine hotel policy as “useless” because of restrictions his country has already put in place.

The WTTC is calling for an international system based on “robust testing” backed by digital health passes, virus detectors and contact tracing systems to replace restrictions such as blanket quarantines and travel bans.

This would be accompanied by tougher health and hygiene protocols including mandatory mask wearing and vaccination roll-out and continued financial support for the travel sector.

“We are calling on shifting the focus to an individual traveller risk assessment, irrespective of their departure country, using Britain’s leading practices and technologies in border security,” said Ms Guevara.

“We believe that only together we can overcome this crisis. Through your government’s vaccine rollout, you are showing the world how it can be done, and we ask that you offer the same leadership, focus and determination to restore international mobility.”

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