Ahead of the Budget this Wednesday, Abta and the Save Future Travel Coalition (SFTC) have delivered a very clear message to chancellor Rishi Sunak about what the travel industry is hoping to see.
Priorities include the extension of furlough and other business support, the expansion of existing grants schemes to all travel businesses and a renewed focus from government on enabling businesses to trade their way out of the crisis by reopening the economy.
The prime minister’s statement on 22 February, which confirmed the establishment of a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce – something Abta and the coalition had also been calling for – is an important signal on the last of these asks.
The industry must now engage with ministers, officials and public health bodies to set out our stall for how the restart of international travel can be delivered, while also managing the risks of Covid-19. We are already engaged with the taskforce, and Abta will seek to ensure the voice of the industry is both united and heard.
We have also already had confirmation from the chancellor, in the media over the past weekend, that there will be further grants worth around £5 billion to support retail businesses.
Dubbed “restart grants”, Abta hopes and expects that these will extend to retail travel agents. That is good news and will hopefully help many travel agency businesses through the difficult weeks ahead.