Travel chiefs’ fury at staycation plea: Tourism bosses hit out after Environment Secretary says people should not take holidays abroad unless ‘absolutely necessary’
- Ministers advised Britons not to book overseas breaks and instead stay at home
- Foreign Office caused confusion by listing Portugal as safe despite amber shift
- Advice left travel bosses furious who said traffic light system appears to be dead
- BA chief called on Government to provide data to back up advice while easyJet CEO said Government seems determined to deprive Britons of summer holidays
Travel bosses were enraged yesterday after a minister said the public should not go on foreign holidays ‘unless it’s absolutely necessary’.
Environment Secretary George Eustice advised Britons not to book overseas breaks and instead travel at home because ‘we’ve got some great places here’.
Anyone who does book a trip abroad should understand that there are risks, he warned.
There is confusion over restrictions as the Foreign Office is still declaring Portugal safe and refuses to advise against to the country and the islands of Madeira (pictured) and the Azores
The comments were met with fury by the travel industry, which said the traffic light system appeared to be dead little more than three weeks after coming into force.
Adding to the confusion yesterday, it emerged that the Foreign Office is still declaring Portugal safe for holidays despite it being downgraded to amber.
It has refused to advise against non-essential travel to Portugal and the islands of Madeira and the Azores.
This will fuel suspicions that ministers went further than Joint Biosecurity Centre data suggested they should when they moved Portugal to amber without first putting it on a watch list to warn of a possible change.
Mr Eustice hinted yesterday that the chance of the green list expanding was slim due to the risk of importing new variants.
Asked if it would be better for the public to go on holiday in the UK, he told Sky News: ‘Our advice all along has been don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.’
British Airways boss Sean Doyle said he was ‘shocked and disappointed’ at ministers’ advice
However, the Prime Minister’s spokesman suggested the comments were not in line with official advice, and that Mr Eustice was ‘speaking personally about his own plans to holiday at home’.
British Airways chief Sean Doyle said: ‘I’m shocked and disappointed to hear (Mr Eustice’s) comments especially as ministers haven’t provided the scientific data to back them up.’
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: ‘The Government seems determined to deprive UK citizens of the opportunity to travel abroad safely this summer.’