01 Jun

Overseas travel this week

The return of international travel after two years of heavy government restrictions on the industry, and minimal levels of financial support, was never going to happen without challenge.

While the vast majority of people have been able to get away this week, it is of course disappointing for those who have been caught up in delays or who have seen their travel plans cancelled. 

ABTA has been speaking to the media and sharing messages on our social channels offering advice and reassurance to customers travelling this week; providing clarity on what is happening, putting the difficulties into context and helping people understand their rights if they do experience delays or cancellations. We have also highlighted the steps people can take to prepare for their trip, including arriving at the airport at the time advised by your airline and being ready for security. 

I also know Members have been working hard to support customers through this period. 

I was deeply frustrated to see the comments from the Government about this week. They do not correlate with the events of the last two years. ABTA, along with the rest of the industry, warned the Government time and time again that thousands of jobs would be lost, and the industry’s recovery would be delayed if the Government did not provide sector-specific support for the travel industry. 

The lack of recognition from Government that it was only March this year when all UK travel restrictions had been lifted, despite furlough being reduced from July 2021 and then removed altogether in September, is particularly disappointing. 

We have been in touch directly with the government to share our dismay with Ministerial comments this week, and to urge officials to look at how red tape in the recruitment process can be reduced to help the sector. It is welcome the Transport Secretary has committed to engagement with the industry and it is vitally important that any conversations involve the wider travel industry alongside airports and airlines.

We continue to work with colleague across the sector, including the Future Travel Coalition and other bodies such as Airlines UK and Airports Operators on the rebuild and recovery of the sector.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive