ABTA urges further opening ahead of government review
ABTA has written to Grant Shapps, the secretary of state for transport, outlining the actions still needed from government to open up travel to more destinations, make foreign travel easier for UK citizens and support the industry through to recovery.
The letter comes ahead of the next government strategic review on Friday, which will examine the requirements for international travel.
It also stressed the ongoing need for the government to provide a package of tailored financial support for the industry, including extension of furlough support and business rates relief at current levels, along with a grant scheme to help them get through the very difficult weeks and months ahead.
ABTA says this is vital given the government’s own acknowledgement that, while all restrictions have been lifted domestically, it is a different case for international travel, which means industry’s recovery is further behind the rest of the UK economy.
In the letter, the Association also raises questions about the government’s recent traffic light decisions to remove the exemption from quarantine for passengers returning from France who have had both vaccinations, arguing changes to the traffic light structure should only happen at strategic review points, and to place the Balearics on the amber list.
The letter also calls on government to make further progress on testing being more affordable and proportionate, including removing post-arrival testing for green list countries, or at very least use of lateral flow testing for those destinations.
Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at ABTA, said: “While there have been some positive developments in recent weeks – most notably that people who have received both vaccinations through the NHS don’t need to quarantine when returning from amber countries - the industry continues to suffer setbacks like the recent changes we have seen to France and the Balearics.
“Every unexpected change or unexplained decision puts another dent in consumer confidence, which is already fragile.
“The government must take action to support the travel industry – which is not only important in terms of jobs and contributions to the economy, but also the UK’s wider recovery from the pandemic.
“We’re a global nation and our international connectivity underpins this.”