//Travel organisations urge chancellor to deliver support

Travel organisations urge chancellor to deliver support

ABTA and 11 other travel associations join forces

A number of the travel industry’s biggest associations have joined forces to pressure the chancellor to produce a tailored package of support for the sector in next month’s Budget.

Coming together under the banner Save Future Travel Coalition,12 travel organisations are looking to represent an industry that is heading towards 12 months of lost income, deadlines for Government-backed loans and the end of furlough in April.

In a letter to the chancellor, the coalitions said: “As you prepare for the Budget, we urge the Government to consider the following priorities to Save Future Travel:

  • Expand the grant schemes available to support all travel businesses. Liquidity is the single biggest challenge facing travel businesses today, but existing grants schemes do not address the trading consequences of severe restrictions on international travel. With the vaccine rollout progressing well, companies need help to bridge the gap and survive through to recovery.
  • Extend other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rates relief, loan re-payments, into the next financial year. It is particularly important that the furlough regime be extended in recognition that travel will likely restart gradually. To save jobs, salary support must be kept in place until recovery in the sector is gathering pace.
  • Enable travel businesses to trade their way out of the crisis in the coming months. The Government must work with the industry to put in a place a roadmap to recovery, which ensures stability for travellers and travel companies, and crucially, which uses existing mitigation measures to ensure travel can resume in a risk-controlled manner.

The Save Future Travel Coalition is formed of ABTA, Advantage Travel Partnership, AITO, ANITA, ATAS, the BTA, CLIA, Keep Travel Alive, the SPAA, SBiT, the Travel Network Group and UKinbound.

Mark Tanzer Chief Executive of ABTA said: “Government policies to curtail international travel have had a devasting impact on the industry. Despite its significance to the UK economy and its recovery, travel has become the forgotten sector, and businesses are running on empty due to a lack of tailored financial support from the UK Government. The Chancellor has an opportunity to address this in his Budget. Supporting the sector through this time of crisis will payoff for the taxpayer and the wider economy.”

Julia Lo Bue Said, CEO, Advantage Travel Partnership said: “While the policy measures introduced, such as quarantine, travel corridors, testing, and localised restrictions on travel, are understandable from a public health perspective, they also diminish consumer confidence and damage trade. Yet, to date, these measures have not been combined with tailored financial support targeted at addressing the consequences of these policies for the businesses affected – as a result our members are under enormous pressure. We need Government to address this as a matter of urgency and work with the industry to develop a roadmap to reopen travel.”

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said: “Many businesses are stuck between a rock and a hard place – they can’t trade to generate income but they’re also shut out of support. Businesses in the travel sector, including destination management companies, coach operators, and tour operators, as well as many others, are entirely excluded from existing grants support packages. The UK Government needs to show they value the UK’s world-class travel and tourism industry.”

Clive Wratten, Chief Executive, The Business Travel Association said: “The business travel community has been almost entirely forgotten. Alongside our colleagues in the leisure industry, we are asking the Chancellor to set out targeted support for our industry in his Budget. If we are to be a global Britain, business travel must commence at the earliest safe date and there needs to be an industry to support this vital economic contributor. Without targeted support, many businesses will rapidly collapse and thousands of jobs will be lost.”

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