Some good news to start the year
To say that yesterday’s announcement on the relaxation of testing is welcome is an understatement. ABTA has been working hard alongside colleagues across the industry, including our Save Future Travel Coalition partners, to push the Government to act as quickly as possible to remove those measures, and it is very encouraging to see these changes happen at the start of the year – during the peak booking period. Hopefully consumer confidence will start to return.
This is a point we made in our media interviews yesterday with ABTA spokespeople and Regional Chairs appearing on BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel and regional news and radio programmes. We will continue to stress to the devolved administrations the need for a consistent approach to testing requirements across all four nations.
We were also clear in our response, which was covered widely be the national media, that the sudden introduction of travel requirements caused untold damage to the industry and that similar disruption needs to be avoided in future. These are arguments we were making to Government at the end of last year and points we will continue to make as the Government carries out its strategic review of travel this month.
There is no getting away from it that we are almost two years into this crisis and restrictions for travel have remained throughout – undermining confidence, flattening bookings and pushing many businesses to the brink. We will continue to advocate strongly for a measured and safe approach to international travel, both with domestic and international governments, to secure the industry’s recovery.
We’ll also continue to make the case for support. Securing accessing to grant funding has been an essential part of our lobbying and we were pleased to see the Government respond to our calls this week by publishing guidance which references travel companies as businesses that should be considered for support. In this edition of ABTA Today we outline the grant funding available in England and Wales, and business rates relief available in England, and how Members can look to access this support. Please read on for more information. ABTA is also continuing to push the other Devolved Administrations to bring forward similar support for travel businesses in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
I really do hope that the positive step this week is the start of a recovery for the industry in 2022 and wish for all a steady return to the world of travel as it was before the arrival of the pandemic.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive