The speaker of the House of Commons has revealed he has raised the concerns of the #SaveTravel campaign and the wider travel sector with those in the highest echelons of government after he was contacted by Holiday Extras’ Lindsay Garvey-Jones.
Garvey-Jones wrote to her MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, member for Chorley in Lancashire, under the #SaveTravel banner, highlighting the impact of quarantine and the dire need for an alternative, such as airport testing, to allow the travel sector to properly resume operations.
In a follow-up letter, Garvey-Jones said the industry was "at an absolute point of crisis" with the lean winter months looming, placing thousands of livelihoods at risk.
In response, Hoyle said he appreciated Garvey-Jones’s "heartfelt concern" for the future of the travel industry.
"There is no doubt that the travel industry has been hit particularly hard as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis," he said.
"I do not want to see this sector decimated, and it is important that all efforts are made to support the industry and the tens of thousands of jobs which are dependent on it."
Hoyle added he had been contacted by a number of constituents on the issue since March and, as a consequence, had lobbied the chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps "to do everything they can to support the travel industry".
Garvey-Jones said it was vital everyone in the travel sector stood up for themselves and took a proactive stance by lobbying government.
"I haven’t enjoyed my 33 years in the industry and got to know so many talented, passionate and productive people to just sit back when it gets tough," she told TTG.
She said it was difficult seeing the industry lose experienced people while also having the sense that government is just standing by, not listening to or consulting with the sector on "intelligent solutions" such as testing.
"You cannot effect change without movement and action," Garvey-Jones added. "I chose to take action because so many in government have enjoyed the hospitality of our industry, and I feel it’s time for them to understand the crisis so many in it are facing – surely they can’t be happy losing so many millions of GDP?"
TTG has created a range of resources to help those in the travel sector lobby their MP, with several travel professionals having successfully made contact with their representatives – including agent Penny Gray, who sat down with former business secretary Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells.
The TTG-led #SaveTravel campaign, which has now been backed by more than 11,000 people, is continuing to call on the sector to lobby MPs to raise awareness of the cause, and to get as many people as possible to sign the campaign’s letter to chancellor Sunak and transport secretary Shapps.
Meanwhile, Riviera Travel has become the latest major travel company to throw its weight behind the #SaveTravel campaign.
Chief executive Phil Hullah has signed the campaign’s letter to Shapps and Sunak, and the business has encouraged staff to follow Hullah’s lead.
Riviera has also pledged to send the #SaveTravel letter to the business’s local MP, Kate Griffiths for Burton.
"The chancellor rightly recognised UK restaurants needed targeted support and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a lifeline for many pubs and restaurants," said Hullah.
"The travel industry supports tens of thousands of UK jobs too, and our sector has faced a double whammy of vastly increased costs and no income.
"Targeted support is vital if travel businesses are to emerge in 2021. A temporary helping hand will not only preserve livelihoods, but will enable the British public to enjoy a well-deserved holiday."