The current start-stop situation is a calamity for the travel sector and tourism economies. The lack of joined-up thinking and collaboration across nations is, simply put, going to destroy the sector.
A latest BBC article references government officials that state that testing on arrival does not make sense as people may not have yet completed their incubation period and false negatives can create a false sense of confidence, prompting people to not take necessary precautions. This is insulting to the vast majority of people who continue to respect the logical guidelines on social distancing and virus containment. Moreover, at least some form of testing might catch some people that are already shedding. TSS’s point of view has been made clear in previous posts that a testing protocol should be in place at all airports.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said in the House of Lord this afternoon, “…….we must understand that testing people on arrival is sometimes inappropriate because of the longer incubation period of the virus, which means that it does not show up in the tests.”
TravelSafe Systems has proposed – for some time – that the sensible approach is to test on departure AND on return. If only two states could get around a table and agree a simple protocol as well as line up tour operators to follow suit, this portion of the sector could get underway in a sustained manner.
The process is simple. You take the TravelSafe CE-IVD LAMP test the day before at designated centres or on the day of departure. Within 40 minutes your mobile phone app is updated with the result. You fly from a COVID free airport to agreed ‘green zones’, such as islands or a contained resort, and are transferred by the tour operators’ ‘green buses’ to your accommodation. If warranted, resort and other staff are regularly tested. If the destination is concerned about the source market, they can test tourists after 4-5 days or agree that they will conduct tests before or on the tourists’ departure. This creates safe and sustainable ‘green zones’ and routes with no need to quarantine. Consumers and providers can plan with certainty. Tourists can go on one or two weeks holiday and safety nets are in place, protecting both the origin and destination.
TravelSafe is ready to roll this out for tour operators, resort operators and cruise lines now. Approaches to both Westminster and the Scottish Government have been ignored.
Without this type of approach, the situation is hopeless. Highly damaging, recurring surges with a start-stop scenario for ‘air bridges’ is inevitable. Why TravelSafe’s approach is being ignored in the aftermath of the mess created by the Government for travellers in Spain and, possibly, other countries, is – frankly – impossible to fathom.