The industry needs Government to work with us to take the steps needed to put travel on a firmer footing through the spring and into the summer season. The Save Future Travel Coalition brings together many of the leading bodies in travel and tourism, and the campaign has been urging the Government to:
To help Members share the campaign’s current asks, we have created social media graphics to use on your website and social media channels.
If you are a travel agent writing to your MP, we have made available an infographic which explains the booking cycle for a travel agent which should help to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on your business.
You can write to your MP to ask that they support Save Future Travel by using the relevant template, below. Not sure who your MP is? – find out here.
Please also consider inviting the MP to visit your business, if you feel confident to do so, as it’s important that your MP hears your story. There is no better way to do that than face to face.
MP letters updated 21 April 2021:
Write to your MLA, MSP or MS
You can also use the following templates to ask your devolved representative to support the Save Future Travel campaign.
Not sure who your local representative (MSP, MLA or MS) is? Check your postcode on www.writetothem.com
If you have any questions, please get in touch with ABTA’s Public Affairs team.
Save Future Travel began in response to the unprecedented global shutdown of travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to issue advice against all but essential travel. This resulted in travel businesses – travel agents and tour operators – struggling to deal with an avalanche of refund requests, often while significantly under resourced.
It soon became clear that the existing Package Travel Regulations were not able to deal with this unforeseen global shutdown, and without urgent additional help, perfectly viable and normally successful UK travel businesses, employing tens of thousands of people, were and continue to be at risk of going bankrupt.
We called on the Government to take immediate action to avoid mass insolvencies of UK travel companies, prevent the loss of hundreds of thousands of UK jobs, and to ensure customers could receive refunds or book alternative travel arrangements as quickly as possible.
Among our lobbying activities, ABTA’s Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer, participated in an industry roundtable hosted by the Home Secretary and gave evidence at the House of Commons Transport Committee, addressing the issues facing the industry and highlighting the areas where the Government can support travel agents and tour operators. ABTA has held several meetings with Public Departments and written letters to our Prime Minister and Home Secretary, calling for urgent Government intervention.
ABTA has grown the Save Future Travel coalition to 15 leading travel bodies and campaign organisations which together represent the vast majority of outbound and inbound organised travel to the UK.
ABTA’s Public Affairs team works tirelessly with MPs from across the political spectrum to develop support for our sector, and ensure those in the corridors of power understand the challenges facing our industry.
Thanks to your support, as part of the first phase of Save Future Travel, over 25,500 emails were sent from travel businesses, staff and supporters to a total of 648 Members of Parliament, making sure our industry’s voice has been heard loud and clear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our campaign has reached all national print and online publications, being featured hundreds of times, and on all the major broadcast stations, including the likes of BBC News, Sky News, BBC One, ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 4.
From the start of the crisis, we have appeared in the media calling for urgent Government intervention to Save Future Travel and a roadmap to recovery. ABTA is committed to continuing its lobbying efforts.
In addition to the UK-wide financial and business support schemes announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a number of grant funding schemes have also been made available across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in response to the restrictions placed on businesses by COVID-19 health regulations. ABTA has been working closely with the UK Government and each of the devolved administrations to make the case for travel businesses being included in any such funding decisions. Details of the grant schemes that are currently available, along with additional information on the broader range of financial support available for travel businesses, can be found in ABTA’s Member briefing.
Additional guidance is also provided below.
A number of these local authority administered schemes are discretionary, and the criteria will differ from council to council. If you have any questions about the guidance provided, or need further information about a scheme, please contact ABTA’s Public Affairs Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following representations made by ABTA to the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, the Local Government Association and local authorities, we have received confirmation that retail travel agents are eligible for grant funding that is applicable whenever non-essential retail is legally required close.
We are aware that a number of travel businesses, who do not fall into the retail category, may not be eligible to receive certain local grant funding, as they are not legally required to close. When this is the case, we advise Members to apply to their local council’s discretionary funding schemes, if available.
Not sure which Council area you are in? check that here.
While the current lockdown regulations remain in place, both the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Support Grant (ARG) continue to apply until the end of March 2021. Retail businesses are also eligible for a one-off ‘Closed Business Lockdown Payment’ during this time.
From April, as some restrictions begin to ease, retail travel agents in England will be eligible for a one-off ‘Restart Grant’, provided to non-essential retail businesses. Discretionary funding will also continue to be made available through a further round of the Additional Restrictions Grant. Government guidance for local authorities makes clear that tour operators should be considered eligible for the ARG.
As each Local Authority will have a different online application system, we have provided content which can be used in the application itself. It is not advised, at this time, to write to your local council, as this will slow your application.
In Scotland, the Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF), which provided funding for businesses legally closed by the regulations such as retail, has now closed to new applicants. On 19 April 2021, as restrictions begin to ease, all SFBF recipients will automatically receive a one-off Restart Grant. The local authority discretionary fund, which operates alongside the closed business fund, remains open.
In January 2021, the Scottish Government also introduced a one-off grant fund for outbound travel businesses. The fund is intended to be accessible to a wider range of businesses which sell outbound travel services. This covers travel agents, but also includes outbound tour operators, and adventure or activity holidays.
The Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has provided a range of support for eligible retail, tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses across Wales. The current Restrictions Business Fund, which closes on 31 March 2021, includes both grant funding for businesses in these sectors that pay non-domestic rates, and also a local discretionary grant. The Welsh Government has confirmed that both travel agents and tour operators are classified as ‘tourism’ businesses, and are therefore eligible for this funding, subject to other criteria being met.
In Northern Ireland, the COVID Restrictions Business Support Scheme (CRBSS) and the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS), are available to those businesses that have been directly impacted by public health regulations and have either been forced to close, or have had operations at their premises severely limited.
The Executive has also introduced a Travel Agents Coronavirus Financial Assistance Scheme, which provides a one-off grant payment to travel agents (including self-employed travel agents).
Additional one-off grant funding has recently been announced to support businesses as restrictions begin to ease in Northern Ireland. This includes a £50,000 grant for large businesses, a £10,000 grant for medium sized businesses, and a £5,000 grant for small businesses. It is ABTA’s understanding that, subject to other criteria being met, tour operators will be eligible for all three grants, while travel agents may be eligible for both the larger and the smaller grant. Final guidance is yet to be published, but you can read more about this funding here.