I’m delighted that international travel has been simplified and more straightforward. This is exactly the boost we need for Gatwick and Crawley at this time. Reports of a very large number of travel bookings since the weekend are very welcome indeed. With the government’s £68 billion furlough scheme winding down and it being mostly aviation and travel related employment still impacted, I’m hopeful these changes will have a major positive impact here in Crawley.
The government have been right to put public health at the heart of international travel policy and it is the success of our world-leading vaccination programme, with more than 80% of adults fully vaccinated in the UK, that is enabling a simpler and updated system that makes it easier all-round.
Reducing testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and lowering costs makes it much easier to travel. From October 4th, fully vaccinated passengers travelling from non-red list countries into England will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test before arrival. Later in October, they will only have to take a day 2 lateral flow test, instead of a more costly PCR test.
The system for international travel is also being simplified by ending the traffic light system, providing greater stability for both the industry and passengers. From October 4th, there will no longer use a traffic light system, but instead be a red list of countries that are most at risk and where people should not travel to, and the rest of the world, which will be a merger of the green and amber country lists. There have also been more countries removed from the red list.
Travel is a two-way thing and as the world gets vaccinated (currently 42%) it will also become easier as destinations open up more to British travellers. While my main concern is the livelihoods of local people and Crawley’s economy, it is also a boost for people keen to travel. As well many people feeling like a much-needed holiday, I know people who have been separated from family and friends abroad for two years, keen to be reunited.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
22nd September 2021