Six New Year’s resolutions for the Government to save our holidays

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Remove all tests for travel

Travel to most countries right now involves at least three tests (one before departure, one before coming home, and a third upon arrival back in Britain) – and some countries also require a test on arrival, as the UK does, taking the total to four. The cost of this adds hundreds of pounds to the price of a family holiday (along with the stresses of potentially finding oneself stranded overseas), although the necessity of such excessive testing is no longer clear.

Paul Charles, travel expert and CEO of PC Agency, hopes that pre-departure and Day 2 PCR tests could be scrapped in next week’s travel review.

“In next week’s travel review, I’m expecting the Prime Minister to demonstrate that he wants to protect jobs in the travel sector by removing the pre-departure to UK test as well as the PCR Day 2 test after arrival. This would also mean the end of self-isolation at home and the need to wait for a PCR test result. 

“These measures are now of course rather pointless because they were put in place to prevent Omicron. With the variant being so dominant now, and less severe than Delta, these tests are not producing any worthwhile data or protecting the UK any further. All they are doing is damaging confidence and preventing consumers booking future trips; as well as threatening tens of thousands of jobs.”

Reimburse hotel quarantine victims

Thousands of Britons have been stung by the Government’s punitive quarantine hotel measures, with each couple coughing up £3,715 for the pleasure of a ten-day stint in isolation. If we must buy ourselves two or three days of time following the emergence of a new variant, then surely this is a cost that the Government should front, like it did with ‘Track and Trace’, ‘Furlough’ and ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.

Two people who got caught out by the red-listing of South Africa in November, Emily and Owen Hancock, have taken the matter to the Court of Appeal on the basis that it breaches their human rights. Their claim has been rejected, but they will appeal along with the group litigation firm PGMBM.

Stop disproportionately punishing unvaccinated people

Unvaccinated people arriving in the UK must quarantine for ten days – longer than the amount of time that people who test positive for Covid-19 must isolate (seven days). Those without a full course of the vaccine must also take two PCR tests on days two and eight after arrival home. Regardless of your opinions on vaccination, the ethics of removing liberties as fundamental as international movement in order to nudge people into getting inoculated should be under rigorous and constant scrutiny.

Make rail travel more enticing

If the Government wants to make domestic travel more appealing, and is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet COP26 goals, then a good starting point would be to make UK rail travel more affordable. 

The discrepancy between how far your money will get you in the UK versus overseas is stark. The price of an anytime return from Preston to London (£378.60) could buy you a two-week adult interrail pass around Europe in 2022 (£377). For the price of travelling from Southampton to Clapham Junction on an anytime return ticket (£62) you could board the scenic Bernina Express from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy.

The Government might also, rather than raise the already high tax burden placed upon air travellers, incentivise Britons to visit Europe by train rather than plane.  

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