29 Apr

Keeping up the pressure

Travel and tourism feels a little in limbo this week.  Although retail premises can now open and the Global Travel Taskforce has reported, all eyes are really on the Government’s announcement, promised for ‘early May’, on which countries will fall into green, amber and red under the new traffic light system. With this, of course, we hope to have confirmation that travel can restart on 17 May, and to get much needed detail on how the traffic light system will work.
That doesn’t mean that we haven’t been active though – we have continued to press Government on travel’s restart, and support for the sector, in a number of ways.  
You may have seen reports in the travel trade media yesterday that we are considering legal action in respect of grant funding.  We wrote to the Government earlier this month in response to the Taskforce report, outlining the need for specific and extended financial support for our sector, including restart grants.  We hope for a positive response, but if that doesn’t come we’ll look at all options for next steps including the potential for a legal challenge.  To this end we are currently in discussion with specialist solicitors.  
Earlier this week I presented to the All-Party Future of Aviation Group, explaining to parliamentarians our views on the Global Travel Taskforce Report.  And, together with our colleagues in the Save Future Travel Coalition, we’ve written to Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to stress both the urgent need for the development of the department’s Tourism Recovery Plan and to outline what it should cover.  The plan not only has the potential to help support our industry through this immediate crisis but also over the next few years as we seek to return to normal, so it’s important that we understand soon what the plan will contain.
Away from this work, you may have seen that our charity ABTA Lifeline is teaming up with TTG to deliver a week of activity for our sector – Get Travel Talking.  This will focus on issues of mental wellbeing, tying in with Mental Health Awareness Week which starts on 10th May. Do take the time to look at what’s planned here.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive