Transport secretary makes controversial speech at The Travel Convention.
Mark Tanzer has criticised Grant Shapps’ Travel Convention address, reminding the transport secretary that “we are still in the middle of this crisis”.
“It was very retrospective, about what they’ve done and how grateful the industry should be for this,” ABTA’s chief executive said. “Furlough did save jobs but it’s about what happens over the next six months ”
Speaking at The Travel Convention, Grant Shapps said that the travel industry has been supported by “unprecedented measures”, but proceeded to list a series of non-industry-specific schemes.
Shapps also listed the travel corridors and the recently announced Global Travel Taskforce among the steps taken by the government with the travel sector in mind. However, Tanzer noted that the travel corridors are mainly shut. “They may exist in theory but there’s very few places you can go.”
“He said an awful lot of work had gone in to testing [but] we’ve seen none of the results,” Tanzer said. “We have to hit the ground running if we’re going to move out of this [crisis]. “[The government] seems to have just disproved various theories; you can’t do a day zero test on arrival because of asymptomatic cases.”
Tanzer also said he “was not optimistic about global collaboration” between nations, adding that the “level so far has been very poor; each country has looked after itself.
“If we can’t collaborate, we must at least talk to each other. We have to have an understanding of what’s happening in other country. Dialogue is absolutely essential,” he said.
Speaking about the need for regionalised quarantine measures, Tanzer noted the three-tier system in the UK, asking why more nuanced measures couldn’t be applied to international destinations. He also said he didn’t feel as if the transport secretary was “going in to bat” for the tourism sector.
Meanwhile, ABTA has called on the government to provide urgent support for the travel industry in a bid to help boost consumer confidence.
The association made the call at its annual conference, The Travel Convention, which this year is being held virtually as a one-day event.
In statistics released during the event, ABTA revealed that just 15 per cent of people took a foreign holiday between February and July 2020, compared to 51 per cent over the previous 12-month period. The year before it was 64 per cent.
More than half (53 per cent) of people said they took fewer overseas holidays this past year compared to the previous year, with 87 per cent of those saying they took fewer holidays because of coronavirus.