Italy is the latest country on the UK quarantine list. What does this mean for the travel sector, and how much is it costing UK travellers?
Italy on the Quarantine List
Italy, Vatican City and San Marino are the latest in the long list of countries added to the quarantine list. On return from these countries, travellers returning to the UK must self-isolate for two weeks. Spain was one of the original countries on this list, announcing a quarantine in July. However, Italy was one of the last major countries featured on the safe list.
Italy was one of the first countries to experience an outbreak of Coronavirus and experienced some of the world’s strictest lockdown measures. Since then, it was able to recuperate some of its tourism during the summer months. They have taken measures seriously with compulsory testing from many countries and masks to be worn at all times in outdoor spaces. Yet, in spite of this, Italy had its highest daily count of Covid cases (8,804) on Thursday.
Looking to Spain
To understand exactly how much this might cost Italy in terms of tourism, we might look to European neighbours, Spain. Spain is one of the countries that is most reliant on the tourism sector. With the collapse of Thomas Cook, Brexit and now the quarantine list, Spain’s tourism has taken an enormous hit. Reports earlier this year indicated that a possible 2.3 million jobs may be lost throughout Spain, due to their dependency on UK tourism. In the summer months alone, seasonal employment represents 15% of the country’s GDP. Overall, they are looking at a decrease of around 62% in the annual GDP compared to 2019 (~8.7 billion euros).
How much is the Quarantine List Costing Brits?
The latest news about Italy has caused yet more holidaymakers to rush to make last-minute plans. When the quarantine is announced suddenly, it forces Brits to either book new flights at the last minute, or to risk two weeks of potential missed work. For the lucky few, two weeks of quarantine may not be such a big deal. With the wide acceptance of remote working, some may be unaffected. Yet those who have to physically attend work or have other responsibilities, such as childcare, these two weeks may have huge detrimental effects.
Additionally, these last-minute flights are an opportunity for airlines to recuperate some of the millions they have lost this year. Unfortunately, this is at the cost of helpless British holidaymakers.
The situation is bleak, both for those in the travel industry and for those keen to travel. However, the government is looking into reducing the quarantine period by a week with the advent of privately-funded Covid tests. Other possibilities include receiving tests before entering the UK, potentially eradicating the need to quarantine. Whilst nothing is confirmed at the moment, these changes could have crucial implications for the travel sector.