ABTA has provided a written submission to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee which has been looking at the difficulties some passengers experienced when travelling over the May half-term period.
In a letter from Chief Executive Mark Tanzer, ABTA highlights the valuable role – and passion - travel agents have both in helping their customers organise their holiday as well as supporting them in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.
The submission also aims to provide MPs on the Committee with contextual information and background on the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry, including how Government decisions not to offer sector-specific support, and to withdraw furlough support significantly ahead of the lifting of travel restrictions, have worsened the recruitment challenges facing travel businesses.
Mark Tanzer said: “It’s important MPs on the Committee understand the travel industry’s complex supply chain. Travel agents in particular are wholly reliant on the published inventories and flight schedules of airlines and tour operators and have no control over some of the operational issues seen in recent weeks. The hearing rightly focused on what had happened and how the companies involved responded, but we felt it was necessary and helpful for the Committee to hear from the wider industry.
“It’s also important these recent issues continue to be put into context. For anyone caught up in the delays or cancellations it will have been a stressful and upsetting time, but most people were able to travel without issue. This is something we continue to emphasise in all of our communications – with media, politicians and consumers.
“We continue to work hard to make sure that politicians don’t lose sight of the challenging environment the whole industry has had to operate in over recent years and the solutions the industry needs to support its recovery. Government does need to act to make the recruitment process easier and should look at adding the aviation-specific jobs to the UK’s shortage occupations list, which would enable staff to be hired more easily from abroad.”