Abta has pleaded with the government to relax rules on amber destinations by the end of July to save “the most important ever” summer season.
The Association has written an open letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps urging them to add more countries to the green list and remove quarantine for those travelling to amber list countries who have been vaccinated.
In addition, the letter urges tailored financial support for the sector as businesses face increased furlough costs and business rates payments from 1 July.
It said: “This summer season is the most important ever for the outbound travel industry. We are asking you to act now to save jobs and businesses and to set the industry on the road to recovery.
“We are encouraged that the government has confirmed an intention to relax rules for fully vaccinated people visiting amber destinations, and to remove advice against travelling to these places. However, these changes must be implemented quickly – before the end of July – if they are to make a meaningful difference. A vague promise to do so “later in the summer” will not be enough to save jobs and businesses in the travel industry.”
Further financial support was also needed, Abta said.
“While paying 10% of furlough contributions and a third of business rates may well be affordable for those businesses who have been able to trade during the pandemic and reopen since lockdown lifted, it is a terrifying prospect for many of our members.
“The gradual removal of support across the wider economy is based on parallel giving back of freedoms, and lifting of restrictions, which will enable businesses to trade again successfully.
“The prime minister, and many other cabinet ministers, have publicly acknowledged that this process will not be followed for international travel for many months to come. Yet we hear nothing from the government in terms of a plan for ongoing support, only the repeated message that the aviation industry has received £7 billion in support. This support, as you say yourselves, was given to the aviation industry, not to travel agents or tour operators.”
The letter concluded: “Our latest analysis shows that the industry has seen 195,000 jobs already lost or put at risk. This figure will increase notably in the coming weeks in the absence of government action.”