ABTA Encourages Members to Write to MPs to Push for Support

ABTA encourages Members to write to their MP on the plight of the sector as it continues to press Government for support

ABTA – The Travel Association is encouraging Members and the wider trade to write to their MPs again about the extreme challenges facing the sector and the urgent need for tailored financial support.

It follows a letter from ABTA to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, ahead of further discussions about possible travel restrictions today, to reiterate calls for financial help and a recovery roadmap for the whole sector, delivered in consultation with industry experts and public health authorities.

Last week the Save Future Travel Coalition wrote to Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, outlining considerations for reopening travel.

The template letter calls on MPs to reach out to both the Secretary of State for Transport, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the Budget on 3 March, to urge them to consider providing tailored financial support to the sector and a roadmap out of the crisis by:

Expanding existing grants schemes, in recognition of the unique regulatory restrictions placed on the travel sector. Targeted grants support will see many travel businesses through the crisis and into recovery.
Extending other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rates relief, loan re-payments, to avoid the impending financial cliff-edge facing many companies that have little or no revenue for approaching a year.
Enabling travel businesses to trade our way out of the crisis, by setting out a plan to build consumer confidence while putting in place mitigation measures to ensure travel can operate in a risk-controlled manner.

The templates are available to download from abta.com/savefuturetravel for use by ABTA Members and wider industry.

ABTA’s Director of Public Affairs, Luke Petherbridge, said: “This week it is one year since the start of travel restrictions, which started with restrictions on Wuhan (China), but then spread quickly to cover all destinations by March. Travel was the first industry in the UK to be affected by this pandemic, and ONS data shows travel agents and tour operators are the hardest hit businesses.

“However, unlike other sectors such as hospitality, there hasn’t been any tailored financial support for the sector. While the vaccine rollout is positive, the industry cannot wait for the whole UK adult population to be vaccinated before travel restarts – and businesses cannot afford to lose another summer. We also know that many people have a desire to get back to experiences that they value highly and have missed dearly, including travel to visit family and friends abroad. ABTA will continue to press Government for roadmap out of the crisis and I urge Members to do the same by getting in touch with their local MP.”

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