Hundreds of travel agents and tour operators are preparing to lobby the government on 23 June as part of the Save Future Travel Coalition’s Travel Day of Action.
The day will see the travel and aviation industries come together in a united front across four venues to lobby the government on 23 June.
Plans have been made across London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to ensure the travel sector can put its point to the UK government ahead of the next round of discussions surrounding the traffic light system for overseas travel on 28 June.
As part of the Travel Day of Action, sector leaders will be calling on the government and devolved administrations to help in two main areas:
- Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk-managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the Green List in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong Red List to guard against variants.
- Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including an extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.
The recent decision by the government to, not only, shift Portugal to the Amber List but to not move any further destinations to the Green List added to the lingering frustrations within the industry that the powers that be were not listening to their calls for aid.
This change also saw a backlash from some international tourism authorities who felt they were being unfairly overlooked for coveted spots on the UK’s Green travel list, despite their individual responses to the pandemic being successful and boasting low nationwide infection rates.
The Travel Network Group chief executive Gary Lewis said of the event and the reasoning behind it:
The Travel Day of Action has been organised in response to the latest announcement from the government which effectively cancelled travel for the foreseeable future and went against the expectations set in the Global Travel Taskforce report. We are asking Members of Parliament to join the events on 23rd June, meet with travel businesses from their constituencies and speak up for travel.
Until people can travel freely, and the travel industry is able to get back on its feet, we need the government to provide direct financial sector-specific support which we have been calling for since summer 2020.
UK wide support
On the day 800 travel and aviation professionals will head for Westminster where two time slots have been arranged to ensure COVID-19 regulations around mass gathering’s in the capital can be met. Supporters are hoping to gain national media coverage for the Day Of Action campaign to help pile further pressure on the government to change its current stance around international travel restrictions.
Agents across the country have been busy writing to their local MPs asking them to make the invitation to meet with the campaign at College Green in Westminster on Wednesday. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales-based agents, however, have been lobbying their parliamentary members to attend events at Holyrood, Belfast and a virtual event in Cardiff.
The Scottish Passenger Agents Association (SPAA), the Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents (ANITA) and ABTA CoR rep, Helen Tustin are at the heart of organising those Day Of Action events with the devolved administrations.
The event on 23 June is aimed at ensuring government takes more action when it comes to reviewing the traffic light system again on 28 June.
Industry leaders like Airlines UK Chief Executive, Tim Alderslade said of the importance of events like the Travel Day of Action:
The UK is falling behind other countries, including many of our competitors in Europe, when it comes to restarting our aviation and travel sectors. With the success of the vaccine rollout, it is vital the Government takes steps to capitalise on the progress that has been made, otherwise we face doing severe long-term damage to the economy and the competitiveness of our world-leading aviation sector.
Quite clearly the time has come for every corner of our industry – from aviation to inbound and outbound tourism and business travel – to come together if we are to have any hope of getting international travel properly up and running in time for the main summer weeks. Failure to do so would be truly catastrophic with so many tens of thousands of jobs hanging in the balance
Whereas, ABTA Chief Exec, Mark Tanzer said:
We have been working together since the start of the pandemic to make the sector’s case on what the industry needs to get through this crisis and return safely to international travel. We’re in a situation where the Government is curtailing overseas travel but isn’t providing tailored support for the travel industry. The longer this goes on the more jobs, livelihoods and businesses are at risk
Julia Lo Bue, Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Travel Partnership, recently spoke of the importance of the travel and aviation industries coming together to support the Travel Day Of Action stating:
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 businesses
Away from Westminster, Belfast, and Edinburgh, the industry are also encouraging people to get involved with the event via social media.
By following the #traveldayofaction campaign or taking part in the Twitterstorm, you can stay up to date with all the latest developments.
There will also be plenty of posts and graphics uploaded throughout the day. ABTA are asking people to share and tag their local MP in posts to keep the conversation going.
For more information on how to get involved with the Travel Day Of Action head to: https://www.abta.com/traveldayofaction