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Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Travel agents urged to write to MPs to ask for support






ABTA says members should write to their MPs to highlight the plight of the sector as the Association continues to press the Government for tailored for financial support.

It revealed that it has already send a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday to reiterate calls for financial help.

In the letter, ABTA also asked the Government for a 'recovery roadmap' for the whole sector delivered in consultation with industry experts and public health authorities

Additionally, the Save Future Travel Coalition wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week outlining considerations for reopening travel.

The template letter sent to ABTA members calls on MPs to ask both the Transport Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the Budget on 3 March for tailored financial support for the sector.

Specifically, ABTA wants to see an expansion of existing grant schemes in recognition of the fact that travel has been brought to a standstill.

"Targeted grants support will see many travel businesses through the crisis and into recovery," it said.

ABTA has also suggested:

  • Extending other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rates relief, loan re-payments
  • Enabling travel businesses to trade its way out of the crisis by setting out a plan to build consumer confidence while putting in place mitigation measures to ensure travel can operate in a risk-controlled manner.



The templates are available to download from abta.com for use by ABTA members and the wider industry.

ABTA's Director of Public Affairs Luke Petherbridge said: "This week it is one year since the start of travel restrictions, which started with restrictions on Wuhan (China), but then spread quickly to cover all destinations by March.

"Travel was the first industry in the UK to be affected by this pandemic, and ONS data shows travel agents and tour operators are the hardest hit businesses.

"However, unlike other sectors such as hospitality, there hasn't been any tailored financial support for the sector. While the vaccine rollout is positive, the industry cannot wait for the whole UK adult population to be vaccinated before travel restarts - and businesses cannot afford to lose another summer.

"We also know that many people have a desire to get back to experiences that they value highly and have missed dearly, including travel to visit family and friends abroad. ABTA will continue to press Government for roadmap out of the crisis and I urge members to do the same by getting in touch with their local MP."


 

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