//ABTA writes to transport secretary ahead of review

ABTA writes to transport secretary ahead of review

Association pens letter to Grant Shapps ahead of next week’s strategic review of travel requirements

ABTA, the travel association, has written to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, outlining key actions that are needed from government ahead of its next strategic review, which is planned for July 31.

The letter includes a request to open up more destinations and to make foreign travel easier for UK citizens. ABTA also stressed the need for ongoing government support, including an extension of the furlough scheme, business rate relief and grants for travel businesses.

ABTA said that a tailored package of support from the government was vital given the government’s own acknowledgement that the industry’s recovery was further behind the rest of the UK economy.

The letter also calls on Government to:

  • Make further progress on testing being more affordable and proportionate, including removing post-arrival testing for Green list countries, or at very least use of lateral flow testing for those destinations.
  • Add more destinations to the Green list, as other countries begin to make significant progress with their own vaccine programme rollouts.
  • Resume international cruise in light of the detailed operating protocols for handling COVID-19 which have been put in place and worked successfully in domestic cruising.
  • Progress mutual recognition of vaccination certification systems, especially with key markets such as the EU and US.
  • Introduce an additional checkpoint review of the requirements for international travel at the end of August – waiting until the end of October is too long during what is such a critical period for the industry.

Luke Petherbridge, Director of Public Affairs at ABTA said: “While there have been some positive developments in recent weeks – most notably that people who have received both vaccinations through the NHS don’t need to quarantine when returning from Amber countries – the industry continues to suffer setbacks like the recent changes we have seen to France and the Balearics. Every unexpected change or unexplained decision puts another dent in consumer confidence, which is already fragile. 

“We agree with the Aviation Minister’s comments earlier this week that the best way of supporting the industry is to enable businesses to trade their way to recovery, but it is increasingly clear that the Government is failing to provide the predictability and stability required to rebuild consumer confidence and bring about the necessary conditions for a recovery.

“The Government must take action to support the travel industry – which is not only important in terms of jobs and contributions to the economy, but also the UK’s wider recovery from the pandemic. We’re a global nation and our international connectivity underpins this.”

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