Building up to the Travel Day of Action
Although we’re in what is normally the main summer holiday season, over-cautious Government restrictions mean that at a time when businesses should be making the most of their income, many are at financial breaking point. While the last 18 months have been the most difficult ever for the industry, these last few weeks have reached new lows. The situation is, for many, now desperate. These are points I made to the Tourism Minister yesterday and I’ll be continuing to push home at our Travel Matters conference next week, and the Travel Day of Action on Wednesday.
We are all intensely frustrated that the Government seems blind to the plight of the travel sector. The work we do as an industry to lobby the Government and make the case to reopen safely and support the sector through the crisis is more critical than ever. The Travel Day of Action is an opportunity for us to all come together – whether virtually or in person – to hammer home our message and put pressure on the Government to act. Like many of you, I will be there at College Green speaking to MPs and the media about the devasting impact the pandemic has had on the sector, and I look forward to seeing you there.
There are lots of ways you can get involved in the day, details so far are available at www.abta.com/traveldayofaction. Look out for ABTA Today emails early next week with more information. The ABTA team has been working hard with 20 other bodies to put together the arrangements for the day – including working with Airlines UK on the event in Westminster, reaching out to MPs, organising banners, placards and other collateral, as well as a social media pack and coordinating the other activities happening across the day.
I know some people wondered why the day does not involve a full and open protest, and we understand the frustration around this. As ABTA’s Luke Petherbridge explains in his blog, there are a number of constraints we have no choice but to work within, and we’re keen to ensure the day has the most positive impact it can.
Next week we also have our annual Travel Matters event, where leading figures from our sector will explore how we can restore consumer confidence, unlock the industry and build a strong foundation to withstand future challenges under the theme: ‘Politics and Policies: An Agenda for Recovery’. I’m delighted that over 500 people are registered to attend, with that number still expected to rise in the coming days. Places are still available and free this year for all Members – you can register here.
Travel Matters and the Day of Action come at a critical time for the travel industry, just ahead of the Government’s review of requirements for international travel at the end of this month.