25 Mar

ABTA’s continuing engagement with the Global Travel Taskforce

Since the Global Travel Taskforce’s launch, ABTA has been engaging with its various workstreams, as well as contributing to high level discussions with officials and Ministers. Yesterday we also shared a written submission to the taskforce, outlining ABTA’s principles and a suggested approach for restarting travel, looking specifically at operational matters.
Our submission has been informed by discussions with ABTA Members, including with those at our ‘restart meeting’ on Monday. Thank you all for your input and contributions. You can read ABTA’s submission here.
We will also be submitting the evidence from the ABTA Member survey, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on travel businesses so far, and the potential future impact, depending on how and when travel reopens. There is still time to respond to this survey – a unique link has been sent to each Member, which will be with your primary ABTA contact. If you do not have the link, please email publicaffairs@abta.co.uk. The consultation closes at end of business tomorrow, Friday 26 March.
The Global Travel Taskforce is focused primarily on England, but ABTA is pushing for a four nations approach as much as possible. We are speaking to the devolved nations on their restart plans and will be providing a version of our written submission to the Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Speculation on travel restart date
Once again there has been much speculation in the media about the restart of international, and unhelpful comments from senior Ministers and advisers about booking holidays. ABTA has been briefing journalists and broadcasters this week, as well as giving interviews to Sky News, ITV, Channel 5 and local BBC radio stations, emphasising that we believe travel can restart in a risk-managed way and that consumers can book with confidence by booking a package holiday with an ABTA Member. We have also published information on our website to offer reassurance for consumers and are sharing this across our social media channels. Members can share this information on your own channels and there is a social media asset to help you.  
We know that comments about not booking have an immediate and significant negative impact, and we have raised this matter again with Government officials. We are keen to provide some evidence on the damage this causes, so are currently asking Members to complete a short poll to provide feedback on how recent comments have affected bookings. You can complete the poll here.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive