Thousands of people from across travel are taking part in today’s Travel Day of Action to pressure the Government to reopen travel and provide tailored financial support to save the industry.
ABTA estimates 200,000 jobs have been lost or at risk and IATA says hundreds of thousands of people currently on furlough in aviation are facing a bleak future as the furlough scheme starts to wind down.
Events are taking place across the UK, with 800 ticketed places at an organised lobby outside Parliament, 200 people at an event in Holyrood, Edinburgh and 100 gathering in Belfast.
It’s expected events are likely to see a much bigger turnout, as many more are planning to protest, with hundreds travelling down to London today.
“The outbound travel sector has been decimated by this pandemic and by the Government’s haphazard response to it. We are united in one message today: we want to see the safe re-opening of international travel alongside targeted financial support for businesses which have not been able to trade for well over a year.”Kuoni CEO Derek Jones
In addition, there will be a virtual lobby in Cardiff, protests at UK airports, meetings with MPs locally, all backed up by a social media campaign, and a Twitterstorm throughout the afternoon.
The protest has been timed to coincide with an update on the traffic light list within the next week, and a review of the requirements for international travel is due on 28 June.
It also comes as the Government starts to wind down the furlough support system, meaning companies will have to pay more from July, and payments towards business rates will also go up.
“It is now or never for the Government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season, not just for families desperate to get away but the tens of thousands of jobs which rely upon this once thriving sector.”Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade
Rob Russell, CEO of inbound operator AC Group said: “We need Government to actively engage with us and understand how the industry actually works, and why the current support structure isn’t fit for purpose in the travel industry, so we can help the UK to build back better.”
Business Travel Association (BTA) CEO Clive Wratten said: “Today’s day of action highlights the dire straits of our industry. Business travel is essential for the UK economy and our ability to trade on the international stage. The Government must provide targeted support and extend the green list at its next review.”
Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee warned: “Unless the Government makes a meaningful restart of international travel possible, this summer may be worse than 2020, putting more jobs in those communities at risk. The Government cannot afford to let those jobs go.”
Join the industry Twitterstorm from 2pm, by tweeting the following: Let’s build on the great progress of the vaccination rollout and safely open up travel this summer @borisjohnson. Jobs and livelihoods depend on it. People are desperate to see friends/family overseas, make business connections & have a break #speakupfortravel #traveldayofaction