Travel Trade Urged to Re-Engage with Local Authority About Additional Restrictions Grants (ARGs) Funding

ABTA provides template letter to help trade apply for Additional Restrictions Grants following Omicron restrictions

Following the Omicron-related temporary travel restrictions imposed this weekend, ABTA is urging the industry to consider re-engaging with their local authority about Additional Restrictions Grants (ARGs) funding. To help, the Association has provided a template letter which can be personalised and used to support applications.

ABTA says the imposition of further restrictions is a clear reminder of the unique constraints facing travel businesses and should be used to encourage councils to think again where they have funding available but have been reluctant to direct it at travel businesses.

UK Government guidance for local authorities makes clear that both tour operators and travel agents in England, including those who received the Restart Grant, should be considered eligible for the ARG, subject to available funds. However, this advice was only updated in the middle of June, and as a result many councils have not yet considered the sector in their own support schemes.

The template letter says that the new restrictions will undoubtedly impact consumer demand and hold back the travel industry’s recovery. It also outlines the challenges faced by the industry throughout the pandemic.

The ARGs are only available in England, but ABTA is also continuing to make the case to the devolved administrations about the ongoing need for support.

This week, Mark Tanzer has also written to the Chancellor repeating ABTA’s calls for funding support for the sector considering the recent COVID-19 developments, and ABTA is reaching out to relevant ministers to discuss the case for funding, especially for SMEs including travel agents, homeworkers, and tour operators.

Luke Petherbridge, Director of Public Affairs at ABTA – The Travel Association said: “The industry’s recovery was always going to be bumpy. The temporary measures introduced by the government this week and the increasing number of countries bringing in additional restrictions are cases in point, which is why we have consistently argued the sector needs to be offered support to get through the pandemic.

“Over recent months we have been supporting Members to access the grant schemes available, including providing support for individual applications, as well as maintaining our lobbying for additional support. The Additional Restrictions Grant funding is available to all travel companies, and a lot of it remains unspent, so I’d really encourage ABTA Members to get in touch with their local authority.

“The industry did not experience the summer recovery we had hoped for, which means we’re less able to weather these further storms. We know that small to medium sized companies, in particular, will struggle without additional help as they don’t have the same financing options as larger companies, and that is the case we have put to the Chancellor and the ministers responsible for our sector.”

A copy of the template letter is available from ABTA’s website – which can be used to support your application. The website also has details on how much unspent ARG funding each local authority had at the end of the summer.