Hotels in limbo because of changes to opening of borders

HOTELS have been left ‘in limbo’ by contradictory announcements from the Civil Contingencies Authority regarding Covid-19 travel restrictions, according to the managing director of the Little Big Group of Hotels.

Charlie Irving-Walker from Little Big Hotels Group. (29811244)
Charlie Irving-Walker from Little Big Hotels Group. (29811244)

Charlie Irving-Walker said changes to the rules had been devastating for the hospitality industry.

‘Continued changes to plans for the opening of the borders have been impossible to work with,’ she said.

‘It’s left us in limbo. We worry that tourists are beginning to lose confidence in the messaging from the States of Guernsey. Travellers are looking for a guaranteed holiday which currently just does not seem the be the case. Significant cancellations have already been received and it’s anticipated that more are yet to come.’

The CCA announced on Friday that travellers coming into the Bailiwick from the Common Travel Area would have to obtain an approved negative Covid-19 test 48 hours before they arrived.

After strong public criticism, it cancelled this plan on Monday and 24 hours later advised that incoming travellers would be required to buy a pack of lateral flow tests, costing £25, which they can carry out themselves.

In a post on social media, Miss Irving-Walker said the hotel group, which includes Les Douvres, the Peninsula Hotel and Fleur du Jardin, had been left with dire staff shortages due to a combination of Covid and Brexit.

She thanked islanders for their ‘support, understanding and patience over the last 18 months’ but pleaded for this to be extended as the hotels begin to operate more fully. Staff had been working hard under trying circumstances, she said.

‘Some haven’t seen family overseas for almost two years, others are working in roles totally new to them, and most are just desperate for a holiday like all of us.’

CCA chairman Deputy Peter Ferbrache addressed the complaint yesterday.

‘Nobody can give a cast-iron guarantee when you’ve got something in relation to Covid, but we very much believe that there will not be any significant adverse changes in the foreseeable future.

‘I think that’s the assurance we can give. We would like to open up the borders more, and as soon as it can be, but I think what we’ve just made is something the hospitality sector can live with and still continue with their business.’

A spokesman for Condor Ferries said the company had seen a slowdown in bookings after the CCA announcement on Friday, which originally gave warning that the new restrictions would come into force today. The revised rules will now come into force on Tuesday.

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