20 May

Government’s mixed messages on travel

It was great to see ABTA Members sending people on their first foreign holidays of the year this week, as the restrictions on travel lifted on Monday and customers made their way to destinations on the green and amber traffic light lists. But the negative sentiment and mixed messages from Government about foreign travel took the shine off what is an important week for the industry and will have damaged consumer confidence and the recovery, just as travel restarted. 
In response to the comments, ABTA issued a statement to national media yesterday highlighting that it doesn’t make sense for the Government to tell people they shouldn’t travel to amber destinations when the Government itself has put a plan in place that allows them to do this in a risk managed way, with mitigations such as testing and quarantine. This was reported in The Times, The Guardian and The Sun and has been a point we have been echoing in interviews with national and local media including Sky News, LBC and Times Radio.
In April, the Government laid out a workable plan to enable people to travel overseas, with a traffic light system of measures and mitigations to help prevent the reimportation of the virus on the return home. This is supported by the Foreign Office advice which manages the risk to people in destination. International travel is now legal again and the traffic light system needs to be allowed to work as originally intended.
In other political activity, we are briefing MPs ahead of a debate in Parliament on Monday and have created a toolkit to help Members engage with your local MP prior to the debate. Please do contact your MP using these tools to help make the industry’s voice heard. At a time when the EU is looking to make it easier for UK tourists to travel safely, and in a risk managed way, to foreign holiday destinations, we are strongly putting forward the industry’s argument that the UK governments should be doing the same.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive