Weathering the storm…
The CAA’s confirmation at the weekend that deferred refunds for ATOL bookings are protected under the ATOL rules was welcome to businesses and customers alike. Although life is coming back to our sector as quarantine and travel restrictions start to be eased, we are still weathering an intense storm, and many ABTA Members are in the process of radical restructuring to ensure they come through intact. The Government continues to have a crucial role to play in helping our sector. We were pleased that sense prevailed and that the blanket advisory against all cruises was adjusted last week to allow for river cruising, and we shall continue to work with our cruise Members to make sure that the various government bodies are aware of the significant operational changes that are being introduced to allow for sea cruising to resume.
More broadly, we need to have an effective UK testing and tracking regime, as well as clear and accurate sources of information on the obligations of travellers – including around entry checks and rules in resort. This is a major exercise, but is essential for restoring customer confidence and industry resilience. We have sadly already seen a number of company failures within ABTA’s membership, and lost some landmark travel brands. ABTA will continue to make the Government aware of the precarious situation we are in, and of the urgent need for support.
We shall shortly be launching a survey of Members to quantify data and collect evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 and the recovery process so far. Your assistance in completing and returning this survey, which will be fully aggregated and anonymised, is invaluable to our ongoing lobbying work and I urge you to take part.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive