City of London calls for more international business travellers despite planned road closures

The City of London Corporation are calling for new international ‘air bridges’ to be opened up for business travel in and out of the UK.

The Government is expected to set out details on ‘air bridges’ for holidaymakers in the coming days. This will allow individuals to visit a select number of countries without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.

The call for more international travellers into the Square Mile arrives despite widespread plans to close roads with the aim of providing extra space needed to maintain social distancing on City streets.

International business workers with luggage or travelling in a group will be expected to walk or cycle to meetings in the city, as taxi access becomes restricted in the financial business district.

The City of London Corporation are also exploring the reallocation of some street space to al fresco dining as part of its plan to safely reopen the Square Mile’s cafés and restaurants.

The UK Government continue to urge the public and travellers not to use public transport which includes buses, trains and the underground networks. Travellers arriving into Heathrow will be asked to take reduced train services to Paddington and then potentially finish their journey by either walking or cycling to their end destination over 4-miles away. Black taxis, the only form of public transport fully wheelchair accessible, are still available at Paddington and throughout London, however access to key areas across the City of London looks set to be lost.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 6.6 million overseas business visits were made by UK citizens in 2018. Business trips into the UK stood at 8.4 million in the same year, accounting for 22% of all inbound visits to the country.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “The current quarantine proposals are having a major impact on a range of sectors, including the City’s financial and professional services firms as well as our cultural institutions.

“As restrictions are gradually eased, enabling business travellers to fly safely alongside holidaymakers should be a priority for the Government.

“After all, millions of households across the country need businesses and the economy to thrive so that they can afford to pay for their next overseas holiday.”

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