20 Oct

ABTA makes industry’s case to the new Chancellor ahead of fiscal statement

ABTA – The Travel Association has written to the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, ahead of the fiscal statement on 31st October, to demonstrate the value of the travel industry to the UK economy and highlight what the industry needs to recover from the pandemic and get through the cost of living crisis.

The letter says that while many of the challenges currently facing the UK are economy-wide in nature, including rising energy costs, not all sectors of the economy are entering the crisis from the same starting point. Businesses in the travel sector are only just emerging from considerable trading restrictions that were in place for two years from March 2020, and many travel businesses have been unable to recover their financial positions to the same level as other areas of the UK economy. 

As the Government, and ultimately the British taxpayer, is on the hook for 80% of loans made to these businesses under COVID loan schemes, it is vitally important that sustainable longer-term solutions are found that enable businesses to trade their way through the crisis.

It is also critically important that the case of the travel industry is examined carefully within the review of Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which will decide upon future targeting of energy support. ABTA has submitted evidence through DCMS and encouraged many businesses to do so directly.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“The new Chancellor must take the opportunity to use the full Budget statement later this month to establish a plan to help businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and facilitate their growth. 

“The outbound travel sector is a major contributor to the UK economy, generating £49bn in GVA and supporting 720,000 jobs. Our latest research forecasts that outbound travel has the potential to grow 15% by 2027 but that is dependent on the right support and framework from Government. 

“There are steps that Government can take help to support the sector, in recognition of the delayed recovery from the pandemic and current cost of living crisis, and we urge the Chancellor to use the Budget to take this action. Allowing businesses to flounder would be costly for the Government and sacrifices the growth potential for the industry and the economy.” 

In the letter to the Chancellor ABTA calls on the Government to:

  • Extend existing retail-based business rates support beyond the end of the financial year April 2023.
  • Provide business support to travel businesses that are not based in retail premises, such as tour operators, who have been unable to benefit from existing support mechanisms. 
  • Work closely with the British Business Bank and lenders to encourage a sympathetic approach to businesses that are struggling to repay COVID debts over the coming months. 
  • Freeze Air Passenger Duty in the upcoming fiscal statement for the remainder of the current Parliamentary term.


Notes to editors

ABTA is a trade association for UK travel agents, tour operators and the wider travel industry. We’re the largest travel trade body, with over 3,900 travel brands in Membership who have a combined pre-pandemic annual UK turnover of £40 billion. We work closely with our Members to help raise and maintain standards and build a more sustainable travel industry, and provide travellers with advice, guidance and support.

Our Members sign up to a code of conduct and commit to agreed service standards and fair trading. When you need clear travel information, and accurate and impartial advice relating to your trip, we’re here for you. We’ll help you understand your level of financial protection, and what to do next, in the unlikely event that an ABTA Member goes out of business. So, whatever happens, when you book with an ABTA Member, reliable advice comes as standard. This means that booking with our Members brings peace of mind. Together with our Members, we help you travel with confidence. www.abta.com.