Travel news latest: Fresh calls to scrap testing ahead of Covid travel review

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Pressure is mounting on the Government to reduce the testing burden on holidaymakers when international travel rules are reviewed on Wednesday. 

Some travel industry insiders are calling for pre-departure tests to be scrapped entirely and day 2 PCR tests to be downgraded to rapid tests, with rules requiring arrivals to self-isolate until they receive their result to end.

Travel consultant Paul Charles tweeted that though he expected the requirement to take a test before returning to the UK be axed, arrival test rules should also be eased.  

“These particular measures kill off inbound business and leisure travel and still cost a small fortune on top of the trip itself. LFT (lateral flow) tests are good enough,” he wrote.

The calls follow reports that senior government figures are pushing for pre-departure tests, brought in to prevent the arrival of omicron from overseas, to be scrapped because of omicron’s dominance within the UK.

Henry Smith, the Tory chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on aviation, told The Telegraph last week: “These emergency restrictions simply aren’t required any longer, but every week they are imposed means more money lost to the Treasury, a further erosion of our international competitiveness and jobs threatened.”

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Israel to start border reopening, despite omicron surge 

Israel has announced it will reopen to visitors from countries it considers ’medium-risk’ next week, after being shut to all foreigners since November 28.

The Health Ministry said from January 9, foreign travellers from 199 countries will be allowed to enter if they show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid.

However, Britain along with the US, UAE, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Switzerland and Turkey remain on Israel’s red list. Visitors from those countries require special permission from a committee to enter.

The border reopening comes despite rising cases in Israel.

‘Redundant’ testing is killing demand, says airline chief

Travel industry chiefs have been calling for testing rules to be eased in a government travel review on Wednesday.

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, told The Telegraph: 

We can’t have international travel – and the hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods that depend on it – being treated differently to hospitality and other domestic sectors.

“If omicron doesn’t warrant further restrictions at home, then the case for continuing with testing for aviation beyond Jan 5 is undermined, especially now it is the dominant variant in the UK. We need consistency, not favouritism.

“Tens of billions of pounds of Treasury revenue depends on getting this sector moving again, not to mention the ability of families across the country to get away this half-term. There are some amazing deals out there – but this redundant testing is what is killing demand.

Read more, here.

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

When it comes to holidays, travellers will be hoping for a smoother 2022. From fixing a passport loophole to ditching draconian Covid rules – here are simple promises would save travel in 2022.

  • Never resort to ‘travel bans’ again
  • Remove all tests for travel
  • Reimburse hotel quarantine victims
  • Fix passport expiry grey areas

Read the full story here.

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