Travel businesses “cannot wait to see what may happen in the months to come”, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer has said.
The association on Tuesday (10 March) urged the government to draw up a support plan for the country’s travel and tourism sector.
Abta’s call for “extraordinary support measures” comes ahead of new chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first budget on Wednesday (11 March).
Last week, Abta met with the tourism minister to discuss the issue, and is surveying members to assess the business impact of the worsening coronavirus crisis.
“As the outbreak of coronavirus develops, travel businesses are under increasing pressure,” said Tanzer.
“They cannot wait to see what may happen in the months to come, [so] we are asking the government to act now in taking steps to protect them.
“Among the travelling public, our priority remains to be proactive in providing up-to-date, fact-based information and to give perspective so they can make informed decisions.
“We are also explaining the protections that are in place if they’re no longer able to travel.”
In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson ahead of the budget, Abta has asked the government to consider steps to protect healthy businesses from any undue financial distress.
Proposed measures include bridging loans; business rate relief; extensions to VAT and PAYE deadlines, and reliefs; and a six-month Air Passenger Duty “holiday”.