24 Jun

Building on the success of the Day of Action

Yesterday’s Travel Day of Action - which saw thousands of people from across the travel industry get involved in activities online and in person to speak up for travel - sent a clear, and very loud message to Government. Together we urged the UK Government and devolved administrations to support the sector by safely opening up travel and providing tailored financial support to help businesses survive the crisis.  
I was at the Westminster event yesterday and was very encouraged to see so many MPs from all parties – including Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman, along with many of his committee colleagues, and shadow ministers – come down to speak to their constituents, and representatives from industry, about the challenges they face. It was also great to see so many of you in person. I know the other events across the country, including the virtual lobby in Cardiff, and lobbying in Edinburgh and Belfast, were as successful. The media were also out in force, with coverage morning until night, and more today, leading to over 1,300 pieces so far. The online engagement was enormous – 13K mentions on Twitter, reaching 12 million people. Thank you to all of those who got involved, in whatever way, yesterday.
The day followed ABTA’s Travel Matters event on Tuesday which brought together over 600 people from across the sector to discuss some of the most pressing policy issues facing the industry now and into the future. Again, it was another opportunity for the industry to demonstrate to Government the precarious situation we’re in and the urgent action required. The discussions at Travel Matters I think will have certainly piqued the interests of the many MPs and media who engaged yesterday. 
So, what difference will this make to Government? Well, I know by now from our experiences in this pandemic that it is difficult to guess what happens next, but it is clear from some of the messaging over the last few days that we are starting to see some positive thinking from Government. It is no coincidence that yesterday, as the industry came together, the national newspapers splashed on the Government’s thinking around allowing those who have had ‘two jabs’ to travel more freely this summer. Obviously we are still awaiting confirmation, and whether any changes like this would come in time for businesses to make the most of the summer season.
We’re expecting the latest traffic light update later today. As usual, there has been much speculation as to what might change. More countries moving onto the green list would certainly be positive, but we also need to see a fundamental shift in the approach – doing as other nations are and capitalising on the vaccine rollout – in order to kickstart a proper recovery. The Government is also due to report back on its review of travel requirements, currently expected for Monday; this is when we’ll understand more about Government’s approach to travel for the rest of the summer. 
With furlough and business rate costs due to increase next week, it is vital that we continue to work together to push our arguments to government, MPs and the media on what we need to ensure the survival and recovery of our industry. This will continue to be our focus over the coming days and weeks, as we look to build on the success of this week’s Day of Action and Travel Matters event.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive