‘The wolves are at the door,’ warns ABTA

By Louise Longman
22/06/2021
Home » ‘The wolves are at the door,’ warns ABTA

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer warns ‘the wolves are at the door’ for travel businesses, claiming ‘every day counts’ for regaining this summer season.

Speaking at the annual ABTA Travel Matters Conference on Tuesday, Mr Tanzer said: “The danger we face is here and now – the wolves are at the door. Every day counts in regaining this summer season – getting customers confident to book and to travel, and getting money into cash-starved businesses.”

Mr Tanzer urged members of the travel industry to join the Day of Action tomorrow outside Parliament and the Devolved Administrations where travel professionals from across the UK will be presenting directly to MPs ‘the extremity of the situation we face, and what we need from Government’.

“The pandemic has brought together the many different parts of the travel sector into one united voice, to be carried through multiple media channels. The Save Future Travel coalition has been working together for months now, and tomorrow brings together leisure and business travel, outbound and inbound, travel agents, tour operators, airlines and airports with a single, common cause.”

ABTA said it will be asking the Government to use the traffic light system as it was designed, rather than ‘overlay(ing) on it a general and not understood warning against travel’.

He called for consistency, saying the industry and customers ‘have no idea’ how countries are moved from one category to the other and the idea of a green ‘watch list’ to give prior notice of changes was ‘certainly not in evidence’ when the status of Portugal was changed 10 days ago.

He said ABTA would ask the Government to recognise that double vaccinate passengers have a different risk profile to non-vaccinated passengers, both in respect of infection and transmission.

“Other countries are ahead of us in this, as in many other respects. There have been press rumours that this will be recognised as part of first review of the system – due on 28 June – and we plead for this change as soon as possible.”

And he said ABTA would be calling on extending ‘crucial financial life-support mechanisms’ for the travel sector.

“The Chancellor seems bent on phasing out of furlough payments and business rates relief, but surely he must recognise that the travel sector has not yet even started its recovery trajectory.

“The investment he has already made – limited though it is – will be entirely wasted if these companies fail now.

“Job losses will mount around the country adding to pressure on the benefits system.”

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