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The head of a travel association has said that travel management companies will miss out on support from the £5 billion ‘restart grants’ scheme announced by the UK government over the weekend.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said, “The restart grants will help our retail travel agent members but many more travel companies will miss out on this financial help – which would be a lifeline for many businesses at this stage, so it is important all travel businesses have access to some sort of grant support.”
The scheme will give high street shops and hospitality firms up to £18,000 each in grants.
The association said in a statement, “Unlike other sectors, the travel industry isn’t able to amend its business model to generate revenue. Retailers have been able to move sales online and offer click and collect, restaurants have provided takeaways and cook-at-home meal kits, but there is no alternative when it comes to… business travel. Yet the Government hasn’t provided any tailored financial support to the industry, while other struggling sectors like hospitality have received specific help.”
The association has called on the government to extend financial support to other travel businesses including travel management companies and home-based travel agents.
ABTA’s comments come two days before the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveils his Budget, which outlines the government’s spending plans.
It also says that since the reopening of international travel is likely to be gradual, the availability of the support should track the opening up of the market.
“Withdrawing financial help too soon could mean that whole swathes of the industry, which aren’t able to open until later this year or the start of 2022, lose the essential funding that is necessary to keep their businesses going,” it said.