Abta representatives have met Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to stress the “urgent need” for financial support for travel businesses.
Luke Petherbridge, Abta’s director of public affairs, and Henbury Travel managing director Richard Slater told Burnham about the “unique circumstances facing travel companies” and the need for sector-specific financial support, especially with the winding down of the furlough scheme.
“International travel and tourism is hugely important for the Greater Manchester area, and the government needs to ensure that a risk-based approach is followed to enable people to travel again safely,” said Slater, who is also Abta’s north-west chair.
“Travel businesses will play a vital role in Manchester’s economic recovery and were not only viable but thriving ahead of the pandemic. They deserve to be supported and mustn’t be abandoned as domestic unlocking progresses.”
Burnham agreed that travel firms in Manchester and the rest of the UK had endured “significant difficulties for almost 18 months”.
“It’s important that government acknowledges these ongoing struggles,” added Burnham. “I will continue to speak up for the sector and the people who work in it to ensure they receive the attention and the support they need.”
Meanwhile Abta hopes the Foreign Office’s move to relax advice against all non-essential travel to key destinations such as Spain, Greece and France will unleash “pent-up demand” from British holidaymakers.
The FCDO began changing travel advice on many amber list countries on Thursday (8 July) following transport secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement that fully vaccinated people would no longer have to quarantine when returning from amber countries from 19 July.
Among the 21 destinations to benefit from this change of travel advice are Spain, Greece, France, Switzerland, Morocco and Jamaica. Advice against all non-essential travel to the US for Covid reasons was also lifted by the FCDO on Friday (9 July) although current US restrictions prevent Britons from visiting.
Graeme Buck, Abta’s director of communications, said: “There is huge pent-up demand for overseas holidays after so many months of travel restrictions, so many people will be very excited to be able to finally take a well-deserved break to favourite destinations like Spain, Greece and France.
“We’re encouraging anyone who is planning to head overseas this summer to speak to an Abta member.”
The association has also set up a new information hub, called Ready Steady Travel, featuring a guide to help holidaymakers prepare for their trip including information on the latest government requirements and a Q&A section.