A 14-day quarantine for UK tourists spells a longer period for travel recovery and will only heighten uncertainty for all stakeholders involved in UK travel.

According to a recent GlobalData survey, 41% of UK travellers still remain extremely concerned about the global outbreak of Covid-19. Economic constraints, general safety concerns and now an extended time in isolation after travelling are all major barriers, facing the future of travel from the UK.

Operators are keen to resume operations in order to survive where depleting cash reserves and global travel restrictions mean the threat of insolvency is still at large. Covid-19 is one of the worst crisis’ ever faced by the travel sector and if a 14-day quarantine will form part of the ‘new normal’, the impact will be drawn-out meaning a longer period of recovery.

Impact on annual leave needs to be clarified

The government said that when travellers arrive in the UK, they will have to provide an address where they will stay for 14 days – if this is not filled out, a fine will be issued of £100. Surprise visits will then be carried out issuing a penalty fine of up to £1000 if they have not self-isolated.

The quarantine measure will be reviewed every three weeks and may be subject to change. However, if it is here for the long run, there needs to be greater clarity.

Full-time workers who work a five-day week are entitled to 28 days’ paid annual leave every year in the UK, including bank holidays. If a UK national arrives home, they have to quarantine for two weeks and cannot work from home, the question arises whether this will qualify as holiday pay, sick pay or just be unpaid leave. Either way, as the threat of a global recession becomes more realistic and economic woes grow greater, clarity will be needed.

Operators acknowledge impact with uproar

Airlines are planning to reintroduce flights at a smaller capacity in June / July and travel agents are rescheduling holiday programmes. As this measure was declared, over 70 tourism businesses have joined forces to address home secretary Priti Patel declaring that ‘the last thing the industry needs is a mandatory quarantine’.

Bookings have been decimated as the impact of Covid-19 has brought the travel sector to a dramatic halt. Every operator is hoping for ‘pent-up’ demand to service the future travel space. However, the prospect of 14 days in isolation after nearly three months in lockdown will not bode well with UK tourists, leading the recovery of the travel sector to be prolonged.

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