Simon Calder discusses international travel ban
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Simon Calder said he “stumbled” when he began reading the Government’s new travel rules under which – unless travelling under specific Government outlined rules – people will be fined £5,000. Mr Calder added the travel situation now would be inconceivable a year ago and urged the Government to rethink how it looks at travel. He believed there seems to be an assumption that all borders would open in May but a tactical and conservative approach may be a lifeline for the travel industry.
Discussing the proposed £5,000 travel fine which will be implemented next week, talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer pondered the intent behind the legislation.
She asked: “Is this part of just the whole reassuring people as we open up in England that ‘don’t worry people aren’t travelling abroad’.”
“Or is this a signal that actually these laws, limiting our freedoms, are carrying on longer than perhaps many are suspected?”
Mr Calder replied: “When I read the full legislation yesterday I kind of almost stumbled at the first line which just says ‘if you’re in England, you cannot travel abroad’.
“Just if you go back a year and of course we’re marking the tragic anniversary today.
“The idea that our Government would simply say you’re not leaving the country till we say so would be extraordinary – now it’s quite accepted.
“It’s very popular as you rightly surmise Julia but talking to travel industry people this morning they say there is almost a kind of conspiracy against holidays by government and by government advisors.
“We’ve had a whole series of ministers come out and say, don’t book your holiday yet, so you would be reckless and irresponsible even by thinking of doing that.
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“Whereas of course, the reality is on May 17 nobody is saying let’s open the whole world.
“Let’s go anywhere we want to, no it will be measured, it will be looking at countries individually.
“Maybe regions like the Spanish islands might be alright but the mainland might be off-limits, and that’s fine.
“Yeah, we’ll do it in a measured way as opposed to just say can’t go abroad – very bad very dangerous.
“It is a terrible time that we reach and while I absolutely don’t want to encourage anybody to travel irresponsibly I think to say to people who haven’t seen loved ones for a year there’s no hope you’re going to see them before the autumn is just appallingly emotionally damaging.”
Lord Bethell said in the House of Lords that there remains a possibility that the whole of Europe could end up on the UK’s travel red list.
His words were in response to the new lockdown measures and Covid waves that grip the continent.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock downplayed the statement by saying there were no such plans in place.
Airlines have already cut back on summer flights over the Covid fears in Europe.
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