15 Jan

ABTA's response to travel corridor announcement

An ABTA spokesperson said:

“Public health is the absolute priority and the Government needs to take the steps it feels necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus and new strains entering the country. There are already a number of restrictions in place which means people aren’t travelling for holidays at the moment and haven’t been able to for most of the pandemic.

“Travel has been affected by the pandemic for over 10 months now, with travel businesses generating little or no income during this time, yet unlike other sectors, such as hospitality and the arts, the Westminster Government hasn’t provided any sector-specific support. The Government needs to address this as a matter of urgency, not only for the jobs and businesses at risk in the sector, but in recognition of the important role the travel industry will play in the UK’s economic recovery and achieving their vision of a Global Britain. 

“It is also important the Government engages with industry to come up with a plan for future overseas travel for when restrictions are lifted. We will continue to lobby government to highlight the challenges faced by the industry and the need to have a pragmatic plan in place.” 

Summary of current financial support and the impact of the pandemic on travel businesses

  • The Government’s approach to general financial support to businesses is tied to the restrictions around tiers and lockdowns based on whether premises need to close or social distancing measures need to be put in place. 
  • It has been the additional policy measures placed upon the travel industry that have had the greatest impact, making it impossible to trade or generate income. Even if the businesses could open their doors – they had little or nothing to sell. 

Since March 2020:

  • School trips/residentials are not allowed to operate (there is a sizeable and specialist market for school travel)
  • The majority of destinations have had an advisory against travel – meaning package holidays are cancelled and businesses must provide a refund or rebooking. 
  • A small number of places had the advice against travel lifted and were also placed on the travel corridor, only for them be removed after a short period and the advice against travel reinstated. For example, Spain was on the travel corridor list for just 22 days in July. It was removed and passengers were once again advised against all but essential travel to Spain.