Today, as part of our work with the Save Future Travel Coalition, we have written to the Chancellor asking him to use next month’s Budget to provide tailored financial support to the travel industry. We are highlighting the unique set of challenges travel agents and tour operators are experiencing and the need to support businesses until a time when travel can restart. I also made these points on Sky News this morning.
I share the frustration from across the industry that, despite being 12 months into this crisis, with travel affected more than any other sector, the Government has not been forthcoming with any specific support. The sad loss of Tucan Travel this week shows just how difficult things are for businesses and that companies can’t keep running indefinitely without new revenues coming in. Which is why it’s important that we continue to work with our partners in the Save Future Travel Coalition to provide a united and consistent voice on what we need as a sector to recover.
Members can support this work by using our template letters to write to your local MPs, highlighting the specific challenges your businesses are facing and asking your MP to raise these issues with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on March 3.
Despite the deepening crisis in the industry, it was encouraging and heartening to hear, through the recent round of Regional Business Meetings, the different things Members are doing to keep going, as well as how they are supporting their staff through what is a very stressful and emotional time. And don’t forget the important role ABTA’s charity Lifeline plays in helping people through difficult times. There was also much optimism that the demand is there - the sector just needs to get to a point where browsing turns to bookings, and bookings turn to travel. ABTA will continue to press the Government on the need for a roadmap to reopen travel.
As always, Members’ views and insights are critical in shaping and directing the work we do, and next week, we’ll be launching our annual Member survey. This will be your chance to give your views on, and influence our ongoing activity and services, including the work to support Members and influence policy through the COVID crisis. It’s important that we get views from as many Members as possible, so please look out for it and – if you can – put aside a small amount of time to let us know what you think.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive