Holidaymakers travelling to Alicante can now enjoy a fully restriction-free return to Britain. This follows the UK government’s decision to remove all remaining COVID-19 international travel restrictions – for all passengers, including those who are unvaccinated or do not qualify as vaccinated.
The changes, which came into effect yesterday, mean that no-one entering the UK will need to take tests or complete a passenger locator form, while remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be fully stood down from the end of March.
Describing the decision as a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector, transport secretary Grant Shapps said, “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other.
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays. I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving.”
Added health and social care secretary Sajid Javid, “As we learn to live with COVID-19, we’re taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays. We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants and keep a reserve of measures that can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe.
“We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has seen more than eight out of 10 adults across the UK boosted. To ensure the protection of public health, the government will maintain a range of contingency measures in reserve, which would enable it to take swift and proportionate action to delay any future harmful variants of COVID-19 entering the UK should the need arise.
“In future, the government’s default approach will be to use the least stringent measures, if appropriate, to minimise the impact on travel as far as possible – given the high personal, economic and international costs border measures can have – and the contingency measures will only be implemented in extreme circumstances. Given the current state of the pandemic and a move towards global travel volumes returning to normal, the remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be fully stood down from the end of March.”
Comments from major industry leaders…
Tim Alderslade – chief executive of Airlines UK: “With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience. We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions. The time to return to the skies – to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses – is now.”
Karen Dee – chief executive of Airport Operators Association: “A return to restriction-free travel is good news for passengers and should allow for aviation to take significant steps towards recovery. People should feel encouraged to book their long-awaited holidays, trips to see relatives and friends abroad they haven’t seen for a long time and travel to rekindle business ties with other countries.”
Steve Heapy – CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays: “Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s announcement marks international travel finally returning to normal. The removal of needless forms and ineffective testing regimes means that customers can at long last enjoy hassle-free travel, just like they did before the pandemic. With Easter just around the corner and summer fast approaching, this announcement comes at the perfect time. Since restrictions started to be eased at the beginning of the year, we have experienced strong, sustained demand and the complete removal of forms and requirements will boost that demand even further.”
Johan Lundgren – EasyJet CEO: “This welcome move by the UK government marks a return to truly restriction-free flying to and from the UK, giving an extra boost to travel this Easter. We are looking ahead to what we expect to be a strong summer for EasyJet, with plans to return to near 2019 levels of flying. We can’t wait to welcome more customers back on board.”
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