03 Mar

ABTA – The Travel Association responds to the Budget

ABTA has responded to the Chancellor’s Budget statement today, welcoming the extension of general business support measures, but saying that travel companies without retail premises must also be eligible for financial support. 
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:
“We’re pleased to see the Government has responded to many of our calls to extend furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions. This will help to support jobs and businesses over the coming months. However, the Chancellor must move beyond the Government’s blind-spot concerning the impacts of international travel restrictions, and make support available to all travel companies whose business has been effectively closed by public health policy. 
“The Chancellor said there are extra grants for struggling businesses, yet many travel companies remain excluded from this critical support, despite not being able to generate income over the last 12 months. By focusing the grants on retail outlets, businesses including tour operators, online travel companies and home-based workers remain shut out of this much needed support. It is also worth remembering that with overseas travel still closed, in the short to medium term, the income retail travel agents can generate will still be limited. As such, it’s important they qualify for higher levels of support.
“We urge the Government to reconsider this approach by making grants available to all travel businesses, not just those with retail premises, recognising that the reopening of overseas travel will come later than the other sectors and will likely be gradual. The Chancellor has said he will do all that is necessary to support struggling businesses and these words should be matched with action to support the whole travel sector.”

Notes to editors

The impact of the pandemic and government policies on the travel industry:

  • 164,000 jobs have either been lost or placed at risk in the travel and associated industries 
  • Figures from the ONS show the economic output of travel agents and tour operators fell by 86% in December 2020 compared to February 2020, making it the second worst-hit business sector during the pandemic. 
  • ABTA estimates that a contribution of £13.7bn to the UK economy from sales of overseas holiday and business travel services has been lost since the start of the pandemic – equivalent to £1.6m every hour.
  • 9 in 10 holidays were cancelled during last year’s peak summer season 

About ABTA

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.