Grant Shapps says he will not be booking a summer holiday yet due to pandemic
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed he has no plans to book a summer holiday during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cabinet minister said consumers will “want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential international travel since March 17, while domestic holidays have been made impossible in nearly all cases due to the Government’s lockdown orders issued six days later.
These measures have hit travel firms hard, with trips being cancelled and many people – such as Mr Shapps – delaying making future bookings.
A number of companies have furloughed staff due to the sector grinding to a halt.
Mr Shapps said the Government “won’t be able to save every single business in every single circumstance” but predicted that once the pandemic recedes, there will be “new types of economy in lots of different ways, including the travel world”.
Travel trade association Abta has warned that many firms will not be able to survive unless the Government amends refund rules.
Under EU law, travel companies must refund customers within 14 days if their package holiday is cancelled.
But Abta says the deluge of claims means many firms will not survive if they are forced to pay out cash refunds.
It wants companies to be allowed to offer credit notes as a short-term alternative.