April 18, 2024

Back to the land of the free

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, is relieved about the US restart but says the industry still has a long road to travel before it fully recovers

For more than 500 days the ability to travel between the UK and the US was restricted.

The route is one of the most important for global trade. It has been an integral part of so many business travel itineraries. Its absence has been a source of economic, business and cultural frustration.

With over £200 billion in annual trade between our two countries, the US regularly tops the list of business travel destinations. Blocks on travel for almost two years have hurt our economy badly.

The BTA’s Business Travel Tracker, published in partnership with Travelogix, shows that in the last four months, the closure of travel to the US has cost UK GDP around £8 billion.

“Consistent international protocols for entry are vital”

So, it’s welcome news for British and US business that fully vaccinated travellers can now enter the US once more.

Reopening has been coveted by both the airlines that fly the Atlantic and the TMC community who make those trips a reality and provide critical duty of care for travellers.

The opening of travel to the US is another significant step on the road to recovery and follows last month’s significant and necessary reductions to the red list.

But make no mistake, the business travel sector still has a long road to travel before we return to any semblance of normality, especially with international trips.

The Government must work harder to align us with other nations by dropping the requirement for Day 2 testing. Consistent international protocols for entry are vital.

It is only when there is international reciprocity that we will see international business travel truly recover.

We can see light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not there yet.