At the height of the pandemic, long before vaccines were the must-have accessory in order to be able to travel the world, what was left of travel was usually facilitated through a stay in quarantine first. As cases have fallen and vaccinations risen, many countries have completely phased out the need to quarantine.
However, as fears of variants, new waves and a potential surge grip keep politicians awake at night, there have been whispers amongst some that they should be brought back – particularly for British travelers. Here’s a look at the claim, and why the WTTC has cautioned against it.
Quarantine For British Travelers – Why?
The call for British travelers to be placed into quarantine has been led by Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. She made the case ahead of a summit between EU leaders, calling for greater coordination between member states of the bloc to fight the potential spread of the Delta variant – a more transmissible strain of Covid-19 that has spread quickly throughout the UK.
An influential and well-respected politician across the EU, Merkel’s words are bound to carry some weight – and she didn’t hesitate to speak her mind on the matter. In an address to the lower house of the German parliament, Merkel said:
“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”
On top of this, Merkel also recently criticized the entrance policies of Portugal, a destination popular with British travelers and where they are currently able to enter without needing to quarantine at all. France – also a favorite of the British – also allows the entry of fully vaccinated British travelers without having to quarantine upon arrival.
However, not everyone agrees with Merkel’s point of view. Her efforts to have the UK labeled as a “country of concern” at the EU’s integrated political crisis response committee are apparently set to be resisted by Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal – each of which are countries that are reliant on tourism and popular amongst British travelers.
WTTC Warns Against Move – Information For Travelers
The World Travel and Tourism Council – a forum for the travel and tourism industry – have warned against Angela Merkel’s calls for countries to reimpose quarantine on British travelers. Senior vice-president of the WTTC, Virginia Messina, stated that the organization was “concerned” by the calls, adding that the UK’s high proportion of travelers that have been vaccinated against Covid-19 means that British travelers “should be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to the EU.”
On top of that, Messina also highlighted the severe economic impact that such a move could have on several EU countries. Messina said:
“Imposing an EU-wide quarantine would extinguish any hopes of bringing back significant summer travel which is a critical season for most European markets. This would significantly damage these countries’ economies, such as Germany where the UK is the fourth largest source market. It would also deal a significant economic blow to countries such as Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Malta where the UK is also the biggest source market – and Italy – where quarantines have recently returned for inbound British travelers.”
British travelers are itching to go back on holiday, but have found their options limited due to the British government’s slow easing of their travel restrictions.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com