27 May

Policy and politics at the heart of what we do

We’ve continued this week to press the case with politicians to recognise the impact of the pandemic on travel agents and tour operators, and the urgent need for adequate financial support for our sector.
Monday saw a parliamentary debate on just that topic. Both ABTA and the wider industry – including many Members – engaged proactively with MPs before the debate so they were clear how we have been affected and what we are asking for. Thank you to all of you who took the time to contact your local MP.
We don’t yet have the financial support we’re after, but it was welcome that almost every speaker spoke in support of tailored assistance for travel companies, and there was widespread recognition that the Government needs to change its approach.  We are following up with speakers and will continue to engage with MPs so that this remains on the Government’s agenda.
Working with partners from across the industry, including Airlines UK, we have also written to the Prime Minister to stress the need for clarity around international travel and for an expansion of the green list to low risk countries. Our calls were featured in national media today including Sky and the BBC. 
With policy and politics so important to our industry and at the heart of ABTA’s activities, you may have seen that tickets are now available for this year’s Travel Matters conference.  The event is attended by CEOs and senior directors from the travel and tourism industry, political figures, government stakeholders and national and travel trade media representatives, and this year is free to Members. You can find out more and register here.  With a high-profile speaker line-up from the worlds of travel and politics, it promises to be a useful and thought-provoking event.
More widely, there is so much happening in travel at the moment that it’s useful to reflect on what our priorities are for supporting Members and ABTA’s focuses in addressing these over the months ahead.  I’ve filmed a short conversation between me and ABTA’s Chairman, Alistair Rowland, which covers this and I hope you’ll spare the time to watch.  You can see our ‘ABTA In Focus’ video here.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive