//Tanzer: financial support vital for recovery
Weekend break

Tanzer: financial support vital for recovery

ABTA’s Travel Matters conference takes place on June 22

The UK should be capitalising on the success of the vaccine rollout by safely relaxing testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, ABTA’s chief executive has said.

Mark Tanzer echoed comments from Andrew Flintham, Tui’s UK managing director, who has said that vaccination status should aid travel. Both are speakers at ABTA’s upcoming Travel Matters conference.

Other speaks include Robert Courts MP, minister for Aviation, Maritime & Security, Department for Transport; Garry Wilson, chief executive officer, easyJet holidays; and Joss Croft, chief executive officer, UKinbound (you can register here).

Tanzer said that, at this point, the government must finally deliver a “package of tailored financial support to see the industry through to recovery, in recognition that the unlocking of international travel, and hence businesses’ ability to trade and generate income, will be much slower than first anticipated.”

“This includes extending existing furlough and self-employed income support, extending full business rates relief and creating a new sector-specific ‘recovery grants’ regime for travel agents, tour operators and travel management companies,” he said. “This is particularly critical now, as furlough contributions are due to rise at the end of the month and business rates relief will be tapered, and many travel businesses will not have the money to cover these costs.”

His comments come as ABTA revealed that almost 200,000 jobs have been lost in travel as a result of the pandemic.

More: Sign up to our Weekly Digest newsletter
More: Register for Travel Matters here

“In the long term, we need a coherent, consistent and cost-effective system to facilitate international travel that returns some much-needed stability to the travel industry. The virus isn’t going to disappear, so we need to learn how best to manage it so public health is protected, travel businesses can run smoothly and consumers can feel confident about booking and travelling once again,” Tanzer said.

”We need to make sure we’re pushing for popular foreign holiday destinations to be opened up where vaccination rates are high and infection rates are low – this includes reintroducing the islands policy from last year which allowed islands to be looked at separately to mainland areas.”

Tanzer spoke of the damage to consumer confidence caused by the “anti-travel messages from government, coupled with the lack of any major holiday destinations on the green list.” However, he said he is confident that if we see more positive messaging from government that travel is allowed and safe, then consumer confidence will start to bounce back.

“Throughout the pandemic there’s been considerable pent-up demand for travel, which has often translated into enquiries and bookings in response to popular destinations opening up to British holidaymakers or announcements around the relaxing of domestic restrictions.”

Tanzer believes that the devastating impact of the pandemic has been felt in every corner of the industry but “times of crisis, by necessity, lead people and organisations to reflect and innovate”. He said that this means many are considering how we can work “collaboratively to rebuild a more responsible and resilient industry. ABTA’s Tourism for Good report acts as a strategic framework to guide our activities as the industry reopens and evolves. The core principles include the need for tourism to be sustainable and resilient against future shocks, for policies and actions to be designed in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the urgent need to accelerate decarbonisation and for tourism to deliver benefits to destination communities.”

Pre-registration for Travel Matters is essential as places are limited. For more information and to register, visit: abta.com/travelmatters2021