According to a survey of travel industry bosses, 94 per cent of summer holiday bookings could ‘disappear’ if the UK government enforces quarantines on arriving travellers. Jenny Southan reports

A survey of 124 named CEOs, owners and leaders of businesses in the travel and hospitality industry has revealed that the impact of 14-day quarantines on people entering UK ports, airports and Eurostar (whether UK returning residents or foreigners), would have a devastating impact on the travel industry.

According to the survey, 94 per cent of business leaders said they expected their summer bookings to “disappear” if quarantine plans are introduced as a way of reducing Covid-19 infections.

Led by George Morgan-Grenville, CEO of luxury tailor-made holiday company Red Savannah, 71 per cent respondents also said they expect to make 60 per cent of their staff redundant if quarantine measures go ahead on June 8, with 99 per cent of them saying measures will cause widespread damage to the UK economy.

Even more worryingly, 28 per cent of the chief executives surveyed said they may cease trading altogether if quarantine plans proceed.

Almost four million people are employed in the travel and tourism sector in the UK, some 11 per cent of the country’s entire workforce.

The survey was conducted among owners and CEOS accounting for over £5 billion worth of sales in the travel industry. 50 per cent of those who responded expect their future bookings to drop by between 80 per cent and 100 per cent.

What are the alternatives to arrival quarantines?

There was almost complete unanimity among surveyed chief executives when asked what measures should be put in place instead of quarantine with 94 per cent saying they prefer “air bridges“, whereby citizens can travel freely between countries with low infection rates.

98 per cent also supported greater coronavirus testing at airports, ports and Eurostar; while 87 per cent believe that the new Test and Trace system makes quarantine unnecessary.

Morgan-Grenville says: “The findings are catastrophic for the UK economy and for the travel and hospitality sector. By pursuing its quarantine plans without due regard for the economic consequences, the government is choosing to ignore the devastation it will cause to companies, to employment and to the lives of all those whose jobs will be lost. The quarantine measures are a blunt weapon which will bring only economic disaster.”

What do travellers think?

According to a survey of 711 readers of The Times, only 21 per cent would go on holiday if the government required them to quarantine for 14 days on return, while 54 per cent said they wouldn’t observe a quarantine if they did go on holiday.

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