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UAE’s red list status cost UK over $66m in a single week as industry figures renew call for change

UAE’s red list status cost UK over $66m in a single week as industry figures renew call for change

The UAE’s continued presence on the UK’s red list for travel cost Britain over $66 million in a single week in June, according to a leading industry expert. Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA), told Arabian Business the UAE’s red list status on the UK’s controversial Covid travel traffic light system is

The UAE’s continued presence on the UK’s red list for travel cost Britain over $66 million in a single week in June, according to a leading industry expert.

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA), told Arabian Business the UAE’s red list status on the UK’s controversial Covid travel traffic light system is putting huge stress on the economy – particularly small businesses.

He said: “Our latest data shows that the lack of business travel between the UK and the UAE has lost UK GDP £47.9m ($66m) in the fourth week of June alone. This is having a particular impact on SME businesses who are completely prevented from doing vital meetings, deals and work.”

The UAE has languished on the UK’s travel red list since January 29, meaning that all UK arrivals must quarantine in a costly government-mandated hotel for ten days.

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA)

Last week, the UK announced a new ruling which allows selected executives exemption from the country’s quarantine restrictions.

Executives who want to use the exemption must still get written advance permission from the government, take pre-and-post departure Covid tests and complete a passenger locator form.

However, the move has come under fire, with Wesley Schwalje, COO of Dubai-based government strategy firm Tahseen Consulting, said the ruling – instated to alleviate concerns the UK was missing out on major investment because of current quarantine rules – compromises Britain’s democratic values.

Wesley Schwalje, COO of Dubai-based government strategy firm Tahseen Consulting

Also last week, the US State Department raised its travel warning for the UAE to its highest level, citing a “very high level” of coronavirus in the Gulf nation.

But Duncan Edwards, CEO of British American Business (BAB), told Arabian Business, the continued restrictions on travel – whether government enforced or recommended – were impacting the economic recovery of countries looking to re-emerge from the Covid-crisis, particularly small businesses.

Duncan Edwards, CEO of British American Business (BAB)

He said: “At BAB we believe that restrictions on travel should be lifted as quickly as possible and that fully vaccinated people should be unrestricted now, perhaps with the addition of a pre-flight test. Big business has coped well with the travel restrictions so far but the impact on SMEs is huge and in the end, investment and employment decisions will be delayed or cancelled if these restrictions continue.”

The UAE has reported over 637,000 cases of coronavirus to-date since the onset of the pandemic last year, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,831 people. Daily cases across the country have hovered around the 2,000-mark since March and dropped to 1,632 on Saturday.

آخر الإحصائيات حول إصابات فيروس كوفيد 19 في الإمارات

The latest update of Coronavirus (Covid 19) in the UAE#نلتزم_لننتصر #التزامك_حياتك#ملتزمون_يا_وطن#كوفيد19#وزارة_الصحة_ووقاية_المجتمع_الإمارات#we_commit_until_we_succeed #covid19#mohap_uae pic.twitter.com/UtHh2RDsG0— وزارة الصحة ووقاية المجتمع – MOHAP UAE (@mohapuae) July 3, 2021

Meanwhile, the UK reported 24,885 new cases on Saturday, with the total number of cases approaching five million. And in America there were almost 8,000 new cases recorded on Saturday, with the US total over 35 million since the start of the Covid crisis.

The #COVID19 Dashboard has been updated: https://t.co/XhspoyTG79

On Sat 3 July, 24,885 new cases and 18 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported across the UK.

45,135,880 people have now received the first dose of a #vaccine. 33,402,028 have received a 2nd dose. pic.twitter.com/0vuaGU2Vmo— Public Health England (@PHE_uk) July 3, 2021

While the UAE’s vaccination programme is one of the most successful in the world. The total number of doses provided up to Saturday stood at 15,504,238 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 156.76 doses per 100 people.

75,957 doses of the #COVID19 vaccine were given in the last 24 hours, to reach 15,504,238 as a total number of doses and with a rate of 156.76 doses per 100 people as vaccine distribution. #TogetherWeRecover— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) July 3, 2021

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