More than 100 British businesses in the travel industry have teamed up to launch a “Save our Summer (SOS)” campaign, calling on the government to lift travel restrictions by May to save millions of jobs in the industry.
The travel firms are urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to signal that consumers can book overseas travel for holidays, business trips, and family visits from May 1, when the most vulnerable will have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Johnson is due to reveal his plan for exiting lockdown on Feb. 22.
Official figures show that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infection rate has been dropping steadily in recent weeks. And the government announced on Sunday that 15 million people across the UK had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
We’re launching #SaveOurSummer to get @BorisJohnson to re-open the UK and overseas travel sector by 1st May. You can book now with confidence. Sign up to support via the https://t.co/S7mfW90PGj website and please retweet. pic.twitter.com/bb9p3GYjdk
— SOSTravel (@SOSTravel3) February 14, 2021
The SOS group are asking the prime minister to “replace blanket quarantine with extensive testing, if needed for arrivals and departures, as demonstrated successfully in countries like South Korea,” according to group co-founders Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency, and Henry Morley, CEO of True Travel, writing in The Telegraph on Monday.
“Without a target date being set, millions of jobs and businesses in the travel sector are under immediate threat of collapse and the prime minister is the only person who can save them,” they wrote.
The travel bosses complained that government ministers “have done their best to torpedo the entire travel sector by telling UK citizens not even to book a holiday in the UK or abroad,” adding, “An industry which employs more than 1 in 10 jobs in the UK and represents 10 percent of our GDP has been pummelled from pillar to post in the last 12 months. Enough is enough.”
They said that their newly launched “Save Our Summer” campaign is “an SOS from the entire travel sector—from aviation to tour operators, hotel groups to cruise lines—as the government appears to have no strategy for rebuilding and boosting the travel sector as we emerge out of lockdown.”
They accused government ministers of breaking their promise.
“We were told that once the vulnerable had been vaccinated that restrictions would be eased and we could recommence operations. Yet the current tone is one of keeping travel bans in place, and relying on a failing quarantine strategy.
“This rhetoric brings into question what the point of vaccinating the top nine vulnerable groups is if we can’t then resume our lives and livelihoods?” they asked.
The travel firms that have so far signed up to the SOS group have promised to offer a refund or rebooking if travel booked for the summer is cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Also on Monday, Brittany Ferries, an operator of ferry services across the English Channel, called on the government to re-open travel corridors between the UK and continental Europe.
Citing progress in vaccination not just in the UK but also in France and Spain, Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu said that “by spring we think there will be a clear case for the adoption of vaccination-led travel corridors.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to the Department for Transport for comment.
Lily Zhou contributed to this report.