While many sun-starved Britons are eager to escape to warmer climes, the UK’s battered tourism sector is equally desperate to kick-start its recovery.
Therefore, we welcome Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying that the go-ahead for doubled-jabbed people from amber list countries to visit England without the need to quarantine could be announced within weeks.
Tourism to Britain, including our biggest draw, London, collapsed during the pandemic, with 2020 witnessing a 73 per cent decline from the previous year, representing lost jobs and forgone revenue in the billions of pounds.
A new system to accept fully vaccinated travellers from abroad will inevitably bring complications, but is vital in the continued recovery of our retail and hospitality sectors.
London is a great place not just to live but for a domestic holiday. Nevertheless, all the staycations in the world cannot make up for the loss in revenue as foreign tourists were forced to stay at home last year.
Yet if we are to welcome more visitors, we must ensure our borders are up to the task. Even with relatively small numbers of people landing at our airports this year, we have witnessed queues of up to six hours — roughly the same duration as a flight from New York to London.
Now is the time to get processes in place so we can avoid the unnecessary and embarrassing scenes of the first thing foreign tourists and returning Brits encounter as they land here being a long, Covid-insecure wait to enter the country.