In a letter sent to the chancellor, businesses in all parts of the UK inbound and outbound travel sector stressed the need for the governments’ assistance in recovering the tourism sector.
The coalition urged financial support being provided to the declining travel industry in the next budget next month. The Save Fututre Travel Coalition is made up of 12 travel organizations. They emphasized on receiving support being vital at this time period, as businesses head towards 12 months of lost income, the deadlines for government-backed loans, and the end of furlough looming in April.
Along with many others across the globe, the travel industry of the UK had little opportunity to generate significant income the previous year, due to the negative impact of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. Numerous restrictions and regulations were implemented by governments across the globe as a preventative method for spreading of the coronavirus.
Writing in the letter, the coalitions urged the government to take a series of actions:
- Expand the grant schemes available to support all travel businesses. Liquidity is the single biggest challenge facing travel businesses today, but existing grant schemes do not address the trading consequences of severe restrictions on international travel. With the vaccine rollout progressing well, companies need help to bridge the gap and survive through to recovery.
- Extend other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rate relief, loan re-payments, into the next financial year. It is particularly important that the furlough regime be extended in recognition that travel will likely restart gradually. To save jobs, salary support must be kept in place until recovery in the sector is gathering pace.
- Enable travel businesses to trade their way out of the crisis in the coming months. The government must work with the industry to put in a place a roadmap to recovery, which ensures stability for travelers and travel companies, and crucially, which uses existing mitigation measures to ensure travel can resume in a risk-controlled manner.
The Save Future Travel Coalition – formed of ABTA – The Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership, AITO – The Specialist Travel Association, ANITA, ATAS, the BTA, CLIA, Keep Travel Alive, the SPAA, SBiT, the Travel Network Group, and UKinbound – also says that the travel industry cannot wait for a full rollout of the vaccine before people start traveling again.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said, “Government policies to curtail international travel have had a devasting impact on the industry. Despite its significance to the UK economy and its recovery, travel has become the forgotten sector, and businesses are running on empty due to a lack of tailored financial support from the UK government. The chancellor has an opportunity to address this in his budget. Supporting the sector through this time of crisis will pay off for the taxpayer and the wider economy.”
Photo: Chancellor Rishi Sunak