//ABTA: 90,000 jobs at risk
Future travel

ABTA: 90,000 jobs at risk

Association warns of massive job losses as it outlines its Save Future Travel plan

ABTA has revealed that 90,000 jobs have either been lost, or are at risk, in the travel industry and its supply chain since the global pandemic began.

ABTA has called on the chancellor to offer tailored support for the travel industry.

While the Job Retention Scheme has been used by 90 per cent of travel businesses, 65 per cent of companies have either made redundancies or have started consultations.

Four in ten businesses believe that travel will return to 2019 levels by 2022.

To do this, according to ABTA, the government should adopt a regionalised approach to quarantine rules.

At the same time, if the travel industry is to retain the maximum number of jobs, it is vital that consumers are incentivised to book holidays. With the peak booking season starting from December, ABTA is therefore urging the Government to use the Autumn Budget to announce an Air Passenger Duty (APD) holiday covering Summer 2021.

If the Government does not act with tailored support for travel, as it has for other sectors, 83% of firms estimate that it will have a critical or serious impact on their business.

To Save Future Travel, ABTA’s plan is to:

  1. Regionalise quarantine: moving to a regionalised quarantine and Foreign Office travel advice policy will provide additional certainty for businesses and consumers
  2. Introduce testing: a testing regime will enable travel to resume to major global trading partners and mitigate the risk of infection from high risk countries
  3. Grant an APD holiday: to boost demand for travel, including Summer holidays in 2021
  4. Provide recovery grants and other business support measures: travel agents, the vast majority of whom are SMEs, receive the majority of their income through commission that is paid on the departure, so these businesses will need support to get them through to the next major travel period next Easter. The government can support these businesses by issuing another round of grants, based on those offered to retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses earlier in the crisis, and extending other business support measures into 2021/22
  5. Give ongoing salary support: with the furlough scheme drawing to a close at the end of October, the government should consider extending support for businesses that have not seen a significant recovery in revenues, as has happened elsewhere such as Australia. Targeting salary support where it is needed until March 2021 would reduce the cost to HM Treasury and could preserve tens of thousands of jobs in travel

If a ‘second wave’ inspired a further shutdown, 96% of travel businesses report it would have a critical or serious impact on their ability to survive.  

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive, said: “With the government’s stop start measures, the restart of travel has not gone as hoped for the industry, and sadly businesses continue to be adversely affected and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate. Coming towards the end of the traditional period for peak booking, we have hit a critical point as existing Government measures to support businesses begin to taper off, the consequence of which, according to this survey of ABTA Members will be ruinous for more people’s livelihoods.

“Travel desperately needs the government in its next review to provide tailored support or tens of thousands more jobs will be lost. We have already seen well-known and respected businesses that would normally be successful falling into administration, and more are sadly set to follow unless the government can Save Future Travel.”

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.