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Trade bodies from across the travel industries in
the UK are to hold a joint day of action on 23 June to put pressure on the UK Government to support a safe return to
international travel before the summer. CEOs of the organisations supporting the planned day of lobbying say the industry has “been thrown under a bus” and that the Government is guilty of "woeful neglect".
The day of action, which will happen just ahead of the 28 June date when the Government is expected to decide on the next steps for international travel, will involve an organised lobby at the Houses of Parliament. Events are also planned to target the devolved administrations.
The organisations behind the day of action, which include the Business Travel Association, the
Focus Travel Partnership and the Advantage Travel Partnership, are part of the Save Future Travel Coalition and are calling on the
government to allow international travel to return safely in a risk-managed way
and to deliver a package of tailored financial support that recognises that businesses’
ability to trade and generate income will be much slower than first anticipated.
Abby Penston, CEO of Focus Travel Partnership, said: “While the UK has been leading the way in terms of the vaccination roll-out, the government has now abandoned this lead; turned its back on its own guidance and thrown the travel industry under a bus. We were told by the government that we were working towards sustainable recovery. This isn’t it. We know that the extensive measures that the travel industry has been working on means that we can return to safe, responsible business travel.
“It’s about time that the UK really understood what is being lost as a result of the government’s shameful disregard to people’s livelihoods. The 23 June is an important date that we can all get behind.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive officer of Advantage
Travel Partnership, said: “We all need to be pulling together towards this one
single date, so it has the greatest media and political impact. It is
imperative the industry speaks with one clear voice to demand action from the
Government urgently on the safe recovery of travel and tourism.
“Not only are we trailing behind other countries on opening
up travel, we are trailing behind every other British industry which has had
the benefit of conforming to the domestic road map outlined by the Government.
This is tantamount to woeful neglect and we as industry intend to redress the
balance and get Government to back us as we strive to save jobs and
Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA said: “The BTA and its members are supporting this day of action as the Government’s approach to business and leisure travel needs to change quickly.
“Business travel generates £220 billion for UK GDP each year. For more than 18 months, we have been at a virtual standstill. The Government’s latest announcement was tantamount to a death knell for our sector.
“There needs to be ongoing targeted financial support for the industry and much clearer guidelines for international travellers if we are to continue being a successful trading nation.”
Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel Management, said: "We totally support this day of action. Our buyer members are working hard to plan the safe resumption of business travel for their travellers, but lack of clarity from the government, confusion over traffic light systems, quarantine and testing protocols is making this incredibly difficult.
"Corporates are telling us that business travel for client relationship development and new business opportunities is becoming essential as they haven’t been able to meet face to face with colleagues, clients or prospects for 18 months. For many this is having a detrimental effect on their companies’ commercial performance. We need to see the government supporting ways to facilitate business travel such as vaccine passports and air corridors on key business travel routes."
Other bodies supporting the day of action include ABTA,
Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association and BAR UK, with other industry
organisations welcome to join.
• The BTN Group, incorporating Business Travel News and BTN Europe, are pleased to support the Save Future Travel Coalition and the day of action on 23 June.