Government urged to provide ‘basic tools’ to help travel firms during Covid-19

PA

The Government is failing to provide “basic tools” to help travel firms during the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body has warned.

Existing support “doesn’t work” and “won’t avoid job losses”, according to Abta.

The travel trade body commissioned a survey of 2,000 consumers which indicated only 15% of people took a foreign holiday between February and July.

More than nine out of 10 respondents (93%) are concerned about potential last-minute changes to travel advice issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Speaking at Abta’s annual convention, which is being held remotely, chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “We understand that the Government is facing a difficult balancing act, trying to limit the spread of the virus while keeping the economy moving.

“We’re more than six months into this crisis now, and the basic tools that would help build customer confidence to travel are still missing.

“We must now move away from the blanket Foreign Office advice and have a regionalised, targeted approach to both Foreign Office advice and quarantine.”

He added: “The virus does not travel on a passport so adopting a whole country approach to health measures makes no sense at all.”

Mr Tanzer said 20 travel firms who were members of Abta have collapsed since March.

“The travel sector has been experiencing effectively cardiac arrest, resulting in mass redundancies and company failures,” he said.

“Some of those failures included names that have been around for generations, Shearings, STA, Cruise & Maritime, to name but three.

“Every failure is a personal tragedy for those employed.”

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