Abta has launched a campaign calling on the entire industry to lobby the government for changes to the PTRs, warning that should businesses go under, the taxpayer would be liable for billions of pounds of refunds – which the Atol scheme would not be able to cover.
The association is appealing to its membership, the wider travel and tourism industry, all travel agents and tour operators, their families, and anyone else who supports the industry and wants to protect the future of the industry, to contact their MPs.
Abta says it first called for urgent government intervention to support the travel industry and take action around refunds and other measures several weeks ago.
But since then, despite multiple discussions with and letters to the relevant government departments and the prime minister, it says it is “still waiting for action” on the government’s promise to “do whatever it takes” to protect businesses and jobs.
Abta is asking individuals to visit its new “very easy and quick to use” microsite savefuturetravel.co.uk and send an automated electronic letter to the relevant MP, highlighting the industry’s asks.
It is also asking supporters to use social media to contact their local MPs and government ministers using #savefuturetravel and calling for action, as well as the #OneTravelIndustry hashtag, representing a uniting movement by the travel trade media in the UK and Ireland amid the coronavirus crisis.
Abta has asked the UK government to act, “as governments have already done in many other countries”, for temporary changes to existing regulations that are “not fit for purpose” in this current climate. Businesses are refunding the mass cancellations of future trips, while still awaiting refunds from airlines and hotels.
“Without support from the government the reality is that businesses will go under, hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk, and the taxpayer would be liable for billions of pounds of refunds that the Atol scheme won’t be able to cover,” said Abta in a statement, adding the UK travel industry employs more than 500,000 people directly and indirectly across the country.
Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Abta has been doing all it can on behalf of the industry to make it clear to government the devastating impact this crisis is having and to provide workable solutions to help them to do what it takes to support us.
“We now need additional help from colleagues, friends and supporters to make our industry voice as loud as possible. The time has come for the industry and anyone who loves to travel to get behind our campaign.
“The chancellor promised UK businesses that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to help the country get through this pandemic, and we need the government to act.
“This crisis has created extraordinary difficulties for everyone, in ways that none of us could ever have predicted. Many sectors have been hit hard but few have been hit as hard as travel. The changes that we have asked for are reasonable, as has been shown by other governments taking similar action.”
Send an MP a letter:
Abta is asking its membership, the wider travel and tourism industry, all travel agents and tour operators, their families, and anyone who supports the industry to:
1. Visit savefuturetravel.co.uk and send an "electronic letter" to MPs in support of the travel industry
2. Show support on social media with the following example posts:
Post: I support @ABTAlovetravel’s call to @UKgovernment to do whatever it takes to protect travel industry jobs and customer money. I have emailed my local MP to help #SaveFutureTravel. Find out more at: www.savefuturetravel.co.uk #OneTravelIndustry
Post: I support @ABTAtravel’s call to @GOVUK to do whatever it takes to protect travel industry jobs and customer money. I have emailed my local MP to help #SaveFutureTravel. Find out more at: www.savefuturetravel.co.uk #OneTravelIndustry