“All we are asking is that people are allowed to dream – not be dissuaded from booking a holiday.” A year ago, this sentence would have been unthinkable.
Now it is just one more plea to government from a bruised and battered travel industry, which, on top of being effectively shut down, is now contending with a Foreign Office‑led PR campaign reminding the public it is “illegal” to go on holiday.
“Just a subtle change in government communication is all that is needed,” points out Sunvil’s Chris Wright in the Opinions section of February’s new-look TTG magazine. Because, as Westoe Travel’s Graeme Brett highlights, while no one should be travelling right now, having something to look forward to is vital – not just for the travel industry, but also for the nation’s mental health.
In December, the government offered pubs in tiers two and three that were forced to close (an admittedly paltry) £1,000 one-off grant “in lieu of Christmas trade”.
One month into this latest lockdown and there is radio silence from government regarding specific support for travel, despite the industry being effectively closed during a period equivalent to its own version of “Christmas trading”.
Like much of the industry, TTG believes this isn’t good enough and has launched a new #SaveTravel petition, already attracting more than 2,500 signatures (savetravel.co.uk).
The crucial question as to why this industry continues to be ignored by ministers will – and must – come later. For now, the focus must be on establishing the much discussed “roadmap” out of this crisis.
If this roadmap can lead towards a Budget on 3 March that might finally offer more support to travel companies and employees, it will truly show the impact of a united travel industry – and a solid future that will be more than just dreams.