Save Future Travel Coalition critical of government tourism recovery plan
A coalition of travel industry organisations has written to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Oliver Dowden, to express disappointment at the tourism recovery plan.
The document was released last month and details how authorities intend to get the second back on its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter signed by 16 senior representatives from across the industry, the Save Future Travel Coalition expressed disappointment with the lack of tangible policies in plan.
They also showed concern with a statement in the plan that the government wants to “embrace” the current restrictions on overseas travel as an “opportunity” by “boosting domestic demand”.
The coalition emphasised that the outbound tourism sector is worth more than £37 billion and supports more than half a million jobs in ordinary times across the UK.
One of the coalition partners, ABTA public affairs manager, Emma Wade, said: “The tourism recovery plan lacks many policies the industry is so desperate to see.
“We urge the secretary of state and his colleagues to engage with businesses and organisations across the travel and tourism industry to rectify that oversight, and to ensure that the plan continues to evolve in the coming weeks and months.”
Highlighting the importance that retaining the strategic international connectivity will play in the overall economic recovery of the UK from Covid-19, the coalition reiterated its proposed key actions to support the industry, including:
- To establish without delay the proposed inter-ministerial group for tourism, and broaden its remit, so that it can act as a conduit to ensure the views of the travel industry are heard by ministers across government.
- To set up permanent structures to ensure a coordinated approach to travel and tourism between the four nations of the UK.
- That the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport make representations to the treasury for travel and tourism businesses to be a priority case for funding and that financial support is not removed while constraints on trade imposed by the government remain in place.
- To include overseas visitors who have been fully vaccinated in the changes to quarantine rules.
- To make the case for borders to be resourced fully to ensure that increased volumes of passengers can be handled without significant disruption.
- To make coronavirus tests in travel more affordable and more proportionate in their use.
The Save Future Travel Coalition is made up of 16 leading travel bodies and campaign organisations which together represent the vast majority of outbound and inbound organised travel to the UK.
They include ABTA, AITO, Advantage Travel Partnership, UKinbound, Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association.
A government plan for the hospitality sector received a warmer response earlier.