Thursday, 30 July 2020

UK's travel trade calls for more aid for the travel industry

The UK's travel trade is calling on more help for the travel industry from the government,  in an open letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps and chancellor Rishi Sunak, the Travel Trade Gazette -TTG newspaper is demanding more sector-specific aid for the travel industry.

"We have detailed the unique challenges facing travel, explaining that barely any money has entered the sector since the coronavirus crisis began, but that huge sums have been paid out due to the eye-watering numbers of refund claims.

We have also emphasised that many travel professionals have been working with no salary coming in for months as businesses sort out customers who had holidays booked."

The letter has three demands:
  • Provide direct sector-specific support for the UK travel industry and companies operating within it (such as SMEs like travel agents and tour operators, not just airlines), which might include an extension to the furlough scheme. Without this, the country will see thousands of company failures and hundreds of thousands of job losses.
  • Consider a holiday on Air Passenger Duty until the end of August 2021, to help with pricing and encourage consumers to start booking holidays again. The hospitality sector has been aided by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The travel industry is urgently requesting similar support from the government too.
  • Commit to providing more advance notice of changes to destinations' quarantine statuses. Giving the travel industry just six hours' notice on Saturday night before the new Spain rules came into force caused huge confusion and anxiety for passengers, which the travel industry was left to sort out. Businesses cannot be run with such little planning and notice. Advance warning of destinations that may be "in the red zone" or are about to be switched off – and transparency on how decisions are being taken - is a necessity for the travel industry if businesses are to survive.
You can read the letter in full here.
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