09 Dec

Another week, another set of travel restrictions

Saturday’s announcement that travellers need to take a pre-departure test when returning to the UK dealt another blow to the industry’s fragile recovery. 

As we highlighted in our interviews to the media over the weekend and earlier this week, these tests were a huge barrier to travel over the summer and significantly impacted consumer confidence. They will do so again. 

As such, we have continued to emphasise the urgent need for Government to provide tailored financial support for the sector in the shape of grant funding and the return of furlough for travel staff. We have also stressed that the cost of PCR tests needs to be tackled, through introducing a price cap and removing VAT. 

Following our letters to the Chancellor and devolved administrations last week asking for funding for the sector, we further strengthened our arguments this week by releasing new research which demonstrates the toll travel restrictions have taken on the industry. 

New data from a survey of ABTA and Save Future Travel Coalition Members show:

  • Employment across the travel industry has halved since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
  • The volume of new bookings taken across summer and autumn 2021 is reported, on average, to be at 28% compared to the same period in 2019.

The findings were reported in the national media on Tuesday, including The Guardian and my interview on Sky’s Ian King programme. Ahead of the Scottish Government’s Budget today, we also secured a comment piece in the Scottish Daily Mail yesterday arguing why the Government should use the Budget to support the sector. 

We have also been working with our Tourism Alliance partners to make the case that £1.5bn Business Rates Relief Fund is allocated to travel businesses without delay. You can read more about this in our press release.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive