Travel industry chiefs slam ‘crippling’ decision to axe Portugal from green list and warn tens of thousands of UK jobs are at stake
- Travel industry chiefs blasted the Government’s ‘crippling’ decision to axe Portugal from its green list
- Grant Shapps said Portugal is being moved to amber list from 4am Tuesday following a rise in positive tests
- But travel chiefs including TUI UK and easyJet said science does not justify ‘damage’ being done to sector
PUBLISHED: 19:51, 3 June 2021 | UPDATED: 00:04, 4 June 2021
Travel industry chiefs last night blasted the Government’s ‘crippling’ decision to axe Portugal from its green list of safe destinations amid growing concern over the Nepal coronavirus variant.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the Mediterranean country, whose economy relies greatly on UK tourists, is being moved to the amber list from 4am Tuesday following a rise in positive tests.
But the move triggered fury from travel industry chiefs, including the chief executives of Heathrow and easyJet, who accused the Government of trying to ‘isolate’ Britain from the world and warned that another ‘lost summer’ could lead to a jobs bloodbath and billions more being wiped from the economy. Dailymail.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Daily MailPauseNext video0:00 / 0:00SettingsFull-screenRead More
Figures compiled for the Mail by the all-party Future of Aviation group of MPs last night projected that the cost to the economy could be as much as £11.5billion in outbound travel alone if the current restrictions remain through the next three months. Meanwhile, fears were raised for the 1.6million jobs the aviation, travel and tourism creates.
Yesterday’s developments wiped more than £2billion off the value of UK-listed travel and airline firms on the London stock exchange. British Airways owner IAG, easyJet, Ryanair, TUI, Wizz Air and engine maker Rolls-Royce all suffered heavy falls as news spread that no countries would be added to the green list.
And in a sign of the despair gripping the industry, package holiday giant Jet2 cancelled all foreign holidays until July 1 – three days after the next review of the green list is due.
Just one case of the Nepal variant, which combines mutations from the Indian and South African strains, has been detected in Portugal. By comparison, at least 43 cases have been identified in the UK so far.
The Airport Operators Association called on ministers to provide a bailout to save jobs if it blocks another holiday season, as it warned this summer could be ‘worse than last summer, which was the worst in aviation history’.
The move triggered a furious diplomatic row, with Portugal’s president accusing UK ministers of ‘health fundamentalism’ and of being ‘obsessed’ with infection rates.
It also sparked a race among thousands of British holidaymakers in Portugal to get back before quarantine-on-return rules kick in on Tuesday, when the country is formally placed on the amber list.
Those booked to go to Portugal in coming weeks were left in limbo over whether to go ahead with their holiday under the tougher quarantine rules or to rebook for later in the summer and hope the country goes green again.EasyJet boss says government has torn up its own rule bookLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:48FullscreenNeed Text