In response to the impact of and specific challenges posed by COVID-19 to international travel, the Prime Minister has asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Secretary of State for Transport to establish the cross-government Global Travel Taskforce, to consider further how government can support the sector to meet these challenges.
Terms of reference
The taskforce’s work will include:
- considering how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK
- what steps we can take to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other non-testing means
- more broadly, what steps we can take to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel
The ongoing travel corridor process and related policy will not be within scope of the taskforce.
A core function of the taskforce will be to afford policy-makers a chance to discuss these issues further with those outside of government, as it considers robust and sustainable proposals that will facilitate safer international travel. In its work, the taskforce will therefore seek to consult representatives from:
- the transport industry, to discuss shared challenges, the value of the sector to the economy, and the future of international travel
- international partners, to discuss different approaches to health measures at the border, and what standards and practices are needed to maintain safe international travel
- the tourism sector and local business leaders, to consider the economic impact on domestic tourism, and how international travel can support economic recovery
- the private testing sector, to consider capacity constraints, pricing, and how quickly testing capacity can be rolled out
- academia and policy institutes to provide insight and innovative solutions to the challenges the sector is facing
This engagement will include a series of workshops with the above groups, on which further detail will be provided shortly.
The taskforce will report to the Prime Minister no later than early November, setting out recommendations for how the UK can support the recovery of international travel, including how we can increase consumer confidence, and continue to provide global leadership in the setting of standards for border health measures.
The taskforce will be chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport and the and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. It will include collaboration between officials from departments across government, as listed below, and will liaise with the travel sector in order to work on the operationalisation of testing approaches designed to reduce self-isolation.
- Department for Transport
- Department for Health and Social Care
- NHS Test and Trace
- Public Health England
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
- HM Treasury
- The Home Office
- Department for International Trade
- The No 10 / Cabinet Office C-19 Taskforce.
Officials from the Scottish and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland Executive will be closely involved in the taskforce’s work. The taskforce will seek to achieve a 4 nations approach, while noting that health matters are devolved, so decision-making and implementation may differ across the nations.