The on-off COVID-19 restrictions have led the travel firms to goÂ bust. International travel suffered greatly and across 2021 it has been down by around a third. More than eighty travel agents winded up their operations and the figure was more compared to 2020 when 68 agents had shut down.
2022 kicked off with a rise in insolvencies. The sector employs about 500,000 people and fifteen travel companies went bust in January. The figure was nine in January 2021.
According to research conducted by Mazars, the peak winter period was hit by the new variant of the virus, the Omicron.
Lately, the United Kingdom has eased travel restrictions to encourage visitors to the country. Vaccinated travelers will not require taking a coronavirus test to enter. They simply need to fill out a passenger locator form if have had two doses of the approved vaccine. No more self-isolation is required.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country henceforth to have free-flowing borders and a message is loud and clear to the world that the UK is open for business. The government decision was hailed by travel firms and airlines as the world witnessed severe constricted travel for the past two consecutive years.
Tui UK travel group managing director Andre Flintham said demand for international travel has lately increased due to the February school break and Easter holiday in April.
Meanwhile, the Gatwick airport in London has plans to reopen its second terminal, which was closed since June 2020, in March. British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle simultaneously has urged other countries to follow the same approach.
However, the same good feeling is not being witnessed among some scientists and they worry the country is moving too fast. TheÂ UK lifted most domestic rules in January. Face masks are not mandatory anymore in most spaces and the vaccine passports for entering events and nightclubs have been scrapped. Similarly, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales too have lifted most such restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced to be lifting final restrictions including mandatory self-isolation by the end of this month amid a plan to live long-term with COVID. The government will switch over to advisory measures from legal restrictions and treat the virus as flu.
Kings College London epidemiologist Tim Spector said the decision is more political and less scientific. It is a race to say that the UK is first in ending restrictions.
Britain witnessed the highest coronavirus toll in Europe with over 159,000 deaths. Significant drops in the new infection rate have not been noticed and fewer patients are getting admitted to hospitals. More than 80 percent of people above the age of 12 have been vaccinated with two doses in the country.