The travel expert told Good Morning Britain the Government’s confusing messaging over international travel has led to travel bosses being “absolutely furious”. Mr Johnson failed to deliver a clear message on international travel at Monday’s press conference, adding it was “too early” to plan beyond the expected relaxation of international travel on May 17. Simon Calder went on to say it has left operators confused about what the next steps are as holidaymakers fear they won’t get away this summer.
The travel expert said: “As coronavirus has been raging across Europe and beyond many epidemiologists have said it would be madness to allow international travel as you run the risk of bringing in variants of concerns.
“The PM had been expected to announce the restart within six weeks and clearly the medical people won out.
“Effectively he said ‘maybe next week, maybe next month’.”
But he added how airport operators such as Gatwick “simply don’t know what they are supposed to be doing” from May 17 onwards which has led to confusion and fury inside the travel industry who are now struggling to plan ahead.
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He said: “There is an awful lot of concern out there.”
Mr Calder continued by saying how chief executives at travel operators and agencies say they are “disappointed” but that really translates as “absolutely furious” at the Government for the confusing message on international travel given at the latest press conference in Downing Street.
He added: “They could not believe the government have done that and created so much uncertainty for millions of people.”
But the travel expert stressed holidaymakers “absolutely should not” cancel holidays or flights following the confusion as they will not be protected.
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Mr Calder’s comments come as the Prime Minister delivered a statement on the future of international travel which led to panic amongst travel operators who need clarity on the next steps.
Mr Johnson said: “We are hopeful we can get going from May 17 but I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulties we are seeing in some of the countries people are wanting to go to.
“Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, we are not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from that point.
“Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, we will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on May 17.”
He added: “Or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.”
Boris Johnson stated Britons will be given as much notice as possible for when international travel will reopen but this was not enough detail for travel operators.
If travel does go ahead next month, it is likely there will be further travel restrictions put into place such as a green, amber, red traffic light system to indicate countries where the virus presence is high.
Current restrictions mean Britons can face £5,000 fines if they travel without an acceptable reason.