“The UK is squandering the vaccine dividend” says WTTC CEO

“The UK is squandering the vaccine dividend” says WTTC CEO

WTTC urges the UK to discontinue travel traffic light system

After two popular tourist destinations are moved to the UK’s red list, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, has called upon the UK government to bring an end to its travel traffic light system.

Following the latest travel traffic light update, WTTC president and CEO Julia Simpson said:

The traffic light system is widely discredited. It puts the UK at a disadvantage and is squandering the vaccine dividend

“This is the 51st change in a baffling array of travel bans,” Simpson continued. “Holidaymakers are confused and frustrated. The UK government is seriously damaging the tourism sector, which in turn supports thousands of businesses and jobs.”

Although the UK’s latest traffic light system update saw seven countries – the Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland – added to the green list, many of the entries are on the ‘green watchlist’, which means they could be moved to the amber list at any time. In addition, two popular tourist destinations, Montenegro and Thailand, were moved to the red list as of Monday 30 August. 


Among the GCC countries, Oman remains on the red list, which will negatively impact tourist numbers when it opens its borders to travellers from 1 September 2021. The Maldives is also on the UK’s red list, increasing the country’s reliance on other key markets, which includes the GCC countries.

According to the WTTC, both consumers and tourism businesses have lost confidence in the system and fully vaccinated passengers should be able to travel freely unless travelling to a red-list country. The organisation also proposes that unvaccinated people be allowed to travel if they test negative and that PCR tests should be replaced with the more affordable antigen tests. 

In addition, the WTTC has previously recommended that governments bear the cost of testing, instead of passing it on to consumers.

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