Spain and France have already made it clear that they want UK citizens to holiday in their countries next year and Boris Johnson is understood to be considering a “air-bridge” proposal of travel to safe countries. The latest country to wade into the row is Georgia which has had minimal rates of coronavirus and had been hoping to capitalise on a tourism boom this year. The new quarantine conditions were unveiled last week by Home Secretary Priti Patel making people who come into the country via airports to spend 14 days in isolation.
It comes because of fears that a second wave of coronavirus is most likely to be imported as the infection rate plummets in the UK.
The rules mean that British hopes of holidaying abroad this summer appear to be low.
But Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, whose country hopes to capitalise on a tourism boom, has argued that there should be “air bridges” to safe countries with a negligible infection rate.
His country has only seen 12 deaths and just over 700 cases and is now largely free of the virus.
Mr Gakharia has confirmed that Georgia will resume domestic tourism starting June 15, and will be ready to welcome international tourists starting July 1.
In 2019, 9.4 million international visitors travelled to Georgia, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing destinations.
Creating safe ways to travel to, and within, the country for international and domestic visitors is the latest phase in the government’s successful efforts to battle the virus.
Mr Gakharia said: “Georgia has been recognised internationally for our effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world can have confidence that Georgia will be a haven for international travellers and those seeking a stress-free vacation.
“The government will continue to support the tourism and hospitality sector to ensure that the highest standards of care are maintained, and that jobs and livelihoods in Georgia’s tourism sector are protected.”
Mariam Kvrivishvili, Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), made the following statement:
“We are delighted to welcome British visitors once again, to experience the beauty of Georgia and the Black Sea, in a safe and healthy environment.
“GNTA has created, alongside the Government, a three stage plan for reopening Georgia’s tourism industry. The main emphasis will be on preserving safety by presenting internationally recognised healthcare regulations that will be mandatory for all tourism-engaged businesses to implement (Accommodation facilities, Restaurants, Tour Operators, Tour Guides and Tourism Transport). International guidelines will be applied in all airports and border crossings to ensure maximum safety of all international travelers and Georgian citizens.
“In line with this process, we are actively working with our strategic partner countries to reach bilateral agreements on “Safe Corridors” and securing positive outcomes with all international partner airlines who have showcased s willingness to be back in the Georgian tourism and aviation market”.
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