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Travel Companies Urge Government To Introduce Vaccine Passports

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Travel Companies Urge Government To Introduce Vaccine Passports

Travel companies have urged the UK government to introduce vaccine passports as the country looks to get out of lockdown.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to relax travel advice in the coming weeks and months.

The group said action needs to be taken quickly.

The letter reads: "We know that it is too early to put a specific date on the return of international travel and that there will be a need for flexibility in the approach, but what we need are some principles for restarting travel - recognising that the return to normal life will never be entirely risk free."

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According to the Office for National Statistics, the pandemic has caused immense damage to the travel industry, with travel agents witnessing an economic loss of 86 percent and 160,000 jobs being lost in the sector.

The travel industry has urged the UK government to introduce vaccine passports. Credit: PA
The travel industry has urged the UK government to introduce vaccine passports. Credit: PA

The chief executive of ABTA, Mark Tanzer, also said in a blog post that he believes the option of a voluntary vaccine certificate should be on the table.

He said: "That would be a real incentive to get people travelling again."

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Expanding on the idea, Mr Tanzer said it should be part of a wider plan to open up travel.

He said: "While I strongly believe that being vaccinated, and having evidence of it that is recognised internationally, must be part of the solution to reopening travel - it cannot be the only route.

"There need to be other ways, such as a practical and cost-effective testing regime, to allow those who are yet to be vaccinated to travel."

The idea has also been backed by Trailfinders boss Mike Gooley, who wrote in a blog post: "It's hard to comprehend the lack of enthusiasm for a vaccine passport.

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"We must harness the power of our immunisation programme to restore liberties and boost economies both at home and abroad. Far better to let a growing number of the vaccinated have a fuller life right now, rather than delay until we all can.

Nadhim Zahawi has ruled out vaccine passports. Credit: PA
Nadhim Zahawi has ruled out vaccine passports. Credit: PA

"The vaccinated should be excused costly testing and quarantining.

"Under the current, rushed, plans a vaccinated person, returning to Britain, may have to pay £1,750 for a 10 day stay in a quarantine hotel and undergo repeated tests."

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However, the government in the past has stated that no such passports would be introduced.

Asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge if the government was considering the introduction of vaccine passports, Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Business and Industry and Covid Vaccine Deployment said: "No, we're not. One, we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.

"Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.

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"If other countries obviously require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you've had the vaccine.

"But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: covid, Passport, lockdown, UK politics, UK government, Pandemic, Coronavirus, travel, Boris Johnson, Politics, Covid-19

Dominic Smithers
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