The British government has added more countries, including France, Malta and the Netherlands, on its quarantine list last week.
This means that travellers from the list will need to quarantine for 14 days. The Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to the nations in the list because of the heightened risk of infection.
The decision to add France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba is due to the spike of infection in these countries.
The sudden announcement altered holiday plans of most Brits and many travellers cut their vacation short and rushed home. France is Brits’ second favourite holiday destination after Spain.
The recent move did not sit well to holidaymakers and various stakeholders. France said that it will respond in kind, but did not divulge details. France could quarantine British visitors to France could face a two-week quarantine, as the French government threatened to retaliate for being removed from the UK safe travel list following a rise in coronavirus cases.
French ferry firm Brittany Ferries says it is lobbying French government at the highest levels to avoid the implementation of reciprocal quarantine measures. In a normal year the company carries about 2.6 million customers, of which 85% are British. Any move that might dissuade more Brits to cancel their travel plans would hurt Brittany Ferries and the regions it serves, particularly the tourism sector in Brittany and Normandy.
“This has already been a disastrous summer season for us and all the businesses in northwest France that rely on the friendly British invasion each summer,” said Christophe Mathieu director general Brittany Ferries. “It is why we are lobbying hard with our regional colleagues for government to drop reciprocal quarantine plans. If such measures are implemented it would be an exercise in self-harm for France plc, damaging our business, as well as those of thousands of others in the regions we serve.”
Brittany Ferries says that, despite quarantine restrictions, many of those that can travel are making an informed decision to do so. The company has continued to serve Spanish destinations through quarantine over the last three weeks. In that time only 1 in 5 customers has chosen to either cancel or change their holiday plans. Brittany Ferries says travellers are now aware of Covid-19 risks and are better able to make informed decisions about mitigating against them at home or abroad.
Further obstacles would only serve to dissuade many of those who could travel from doing so.
Meanwhile, Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said:
“WTTC is deeply disappointed that thousands of British holidaymakers have had their holidays ruined, now the UK government has added more countries to its quarantine list, including popular summer holidays destinations, France and Malta. While we agree public health should remain the top priority, this move will crush what little confidence there is left in the fragile Travel & Tourism sector.
“More than 100 of the world’s major travel and global business leaders signed a WTTC letter sent to 10 of the world’s most powerful Heads of State, including Boris Johnson, calling for their leadership to coordinate the international response to save the Travel & Tourism sector and the global economy. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has led the positive responses we have received following our plea for urgent action for a range of measures including testing and tracing instead of quarantines.
“The UK clearly lags behind other countries, which have shunned quarantines in favour of comprehensive programmes of testing for everyone departing and arriving back into their respective countries. International coordination and programme of testing for anyone who wants to go on holiday to help stop COVID-19 in its tracks are crucial in order to rescue three million jobs in the UK alone.”