NEW TRAVEL COALITION PUSHES FOR URGENT ROADMAP TO RE-OPEN TRAVEL
The Save Future Travel Coalition – made up of 12 leading travel trade organisations – says it is vital that the Government works with the industry to develop a roadmap to re-open travel.
While the rollout of the vaccine is progressing well, the Coalition is clear the industry can’t afford to wait until everyone in the UK is vaccinated before people start to travel again – otherwise insolvencies and redundancies will be inevitable.
Today is the first day of the February half term across most of the country, traditionally one of the busiest weeks for winter holidays. ABTA and Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBiT) estimate that in a normal year around 500,000 people would be heading off to the slopes over the period.
Instead new quarantine measures come into force today, and the Save Future Travel Coalition has said the Prime Minister needs to use the lockdown update on February 22 to provide a route forward for the travel industry.
They argue that a risk-based approach to travel, including a co-ordinated approach to vaccine certificates and use of passenger testing, will be critical in opening up the overseas travel market.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “In a week’s time the Prime Minister is due to update the nation on a route out of lockdown. That must include a way forward for the travel industry to ensure that people are able to take an overseas holiday this summer.
“We completely understand the need for the Government to bring in temporary restrictions, like the additional measures around quarantine being brought in today, but we also need a route out of this crisis and some tailored financial support to help businesses get through what will be very difficult months ahead for the sector.”
The Save Future Travel Coalition is formed of ABTA – The Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership, AITO – The Specialist Travel Association, ANITA, ATAS, the BTA, CLIA, Keep Travel Alive, the SPAA, SBiT, the Travel Network Group and UKinbound.
They have asked the Government to:
- Expand the grant schemes available to support all travel businesses.
- Extend other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rates relief, into the next financial year. It is particularly important that the furlough regime be extended in recognition that travel will likely restart gradually. To save jobs, salary support must be kept in place until recovery in the sector is gathering pace.
- Enable travel businesses to trade their way out of the crisis in the coming months. The industry is committed to working with Government to put in a place a roadmap to recovery, which ensure stability for travellers and travel companies, and crucially, which uses existing mitigation measures to ensure travel can resume in a risk-controlled manner.’