Pressure mounts on UK government re travel
Trade bodies from across the aviation and travel industries in Britain are planning an industry day of action (#traveldayofaction) on June 23 to put pressure on the UK Government to support a safe return to international travel.
This is ahead of June 28, when the government will review both the traffic-light list and the requirements, measures and systems in place for international travel.
According to a statement on the UK travel industry association website, ABTA, the day of action will call on the UK Government to:
Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk-managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan.
Bring forward a package of tailored financial support to recognise that the unlocking of international travel, and hence businesses’ ability to trade and generate income, will be much slower than first anticipated, and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.
The day of action will involve an organised lobby at the Houses of Parliament – which will see MPs meet with a large number of their constituents at Westminster on a single day.
It will also be the culmination of intense lobbying and political engagement over the next few weeks. Activity ahead of the day included ABTA’s Mark Tanzer’s appearance at the Treasury Select Committee on Sunday (June 7) and the parliamentary debate on Thursday, June 10, which looks at support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.
Organisers and supporters of the cross-industry day of action already include ABTA, Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK, UKinbound, the Business Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership, TTNG, and the other 11 members of the Save Future Travel Coalition, with other industry organisations welcome to join.
The African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) is also involved in the action day as one of the 11 members of the Save Future Travel Coalition.
ATTA also continues to use its position on key travel boards to put pressure on the UK government to use the correct scientific information to allow countries in Africa to move from red to amber to green. ATTA CEO, Chris Mears, told Tourism Update: “This was discussed at our meeting on Friday with everything being confirmed yesterday (Monday, June 7) with more details being finalised in the coming days.
“We will be sharing information directly with the ATTA members as we receive it and will be setting up a group on our members’ waterhole in order to keep interested parties updated on this.”
According to Mears, ATTA also continues to use its position on key travel boards to put pressure on the UK government to use the correct scientific information to allow countries in Africa to move from red to amber to green. Proposed interventions include:
A push for transparent criteria and communications on the traffic-light list and ongoing monitoring.
Addressing the ‘totally unacceptable’ cost of PCR tests and the push to get the UK government to accept a Lateral Flow test and then only if PCR negative.
COVID vaccination certificates for travel.
Continued financial support such as furlough, tax and VAT concessions until such time as UK travel businesses can achieve positive cash flow from bookings.
Industry urged to get involved
The UK travel trade bodies are calling on all corners of the travel industry – every airline, airport, tour operator, travel agent, supplier and partner – to get involved and support the activities of the day.
“These next weeks will be critical for the travel industry. We have been working together since the start of the pandemic to make the sector’s case on what the industry needs to get through this crisis and return safely to international travel,” said Tanzer.
“We’re in a situation where the Government is curtailing overseas travel but isn’t providing tailored support for the travel industry. The longer this goes on, the more jobs, livelihoods and businesses are at risk.”
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK added: “The UK is falling behind other countries, including many of our competitors in Europe, when it comes to restarting our aviation and travel sectors. With the success of the vaccine roll-out, it is vital the Government takes steps to capitalise on the progress that has been made, otherwise we face doing severe long-term damage to the economy and the competitiveness of our world-leading aviation sector.”