The travel industry gathered outside parliament for a day of protest organised by ABTA.
The travel industry has held a day of demonstrations in major cities around the UK to protest against the lack of government support for the sector.
The Travel Day of Action saw about 800 industry professionals come together in London – plus groups in Belfast and Edinburgh – to pressure the government to support an industry which has been on hold for 15 months.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “We’re here for the first Travel Day of Action to make the case to MPs and ministers as to how deep the crisis is and how urgently we need the government to act operationally to get travel ready again, in terms of using the traffic light system and recognise that vaccinated passengers are different – but also financially.”
Brian Young, managing director of G Adventures, said: “I’m here to get the government to understand that the travel industry can’t continue on hold in the manner it has. I need the government to start understanding the travel industry properly because I don’t think they have any idea of the impact of the stop/start or the traffic light system that’s broken.
He added: “I can’t have a system that pulls a core destination from under our feet within three weeks of opening up. Furlough doesn’t work for travel agents. Travel agents have had massive disruption to deal with and they need staff to handle that. Furlough works for some sectors but not for travel.”
Miles Morgan, the founder of Miles Morgan Travel, said: “I hope we’re going to achieve awareness of the plight that the industry is in – without a summer this will be the end for many. It’s all about cash and people’s cash is running out. In the past, you could understand the government’s rationale but that has now gone completely. Decisions like not putting Malta on the green list – there is no logic with the government’s decision making. That’s why so many people are out here today – they’ve lost the plot.”
Kelly Cookes, leisure director of Advantage, added: “We need one person representing the industry. It’s very fragmented. There are different parts of the industry represented differently but there’s no one minister that understands the whole end-to-end industry and is responsible for it.”