02 Dec

Latest COVID developments – making the industry’s case

After a few short months of international travel picking up, the emergence of a new variant and the tightening of travel restrictions at home and overseas is a great cause for concern. We’ve always known the industry’s recovery was never going to be smooth, which is why we have consistently argued for targeted support to see the travel sector through the pandemic.

This week, I wrote to the Chancellor to reiterate the importance of providing tailored financial support for travel businesses, highlighting that these latest measures are sure to impact consumer confidence and create challenging trading conditions in the run up to the peak booking period. I also made the case that travel businesses have barely had the opportunity to trade over the last 20 months, so have nothing to fall back on. Similar letters have been sent to each of the responsible finance ministers in the devolved administrations.

ABTA’s Luke Petherbridge also attended a roundtable on the new restrictions hosted by the Minister for Aviation, Maritime & Security, Robert Courts MP, to make the case for our sector. ABTA will continue to contact ministers to discuss the case for funding, highlighting the particular challenges faced by SMEs including travel agents, homeworkers, and tour operators.

What can you do? As Additional Restrictions Grants (ARGs) funding is still available for tour operators and travel agents in England, we are urging Members to contact their local authority and use our new template letter as supporting evidence, which outlines the challenges posed by the new restrictions and throughout the pandemic.

ABTA is also working closely with destinations that have recently made changes to their entry requirements to ensure these updates are communicated accurately and swiftly to our Members, and to highlight where new policies will create a significant barrier for UK travellers.

We will continue to make your case with destinations and the UK Government to urge them to keep the new restrictions under regular review, so they are not kept in place for a moment longer than is necessary. In the meantime, we have updated our #ReadySteadyTravel hub on our website to include an explanation of the temporary measures, so Members can keep their customers up to date with the latest guidance.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive