Several MPs have taken time to listen to the travel sector’s concerns and calls for greater government support after their industry constituents sought their help as part of the #SaveTravel campaign.
Penny Gray, founder of Kent-based agency Gilchrist & Gray, met with former business secretary Greg Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, to discuss the plight of the industry last week. “We had a really useful discussion,” she told TTG.
“My main focus is to get people in parliament to really understand the issues the industry faces. We need direct sector-specific support right now because furlough is coming to an end, and there is no restart for travel in sight.”
Gray said Clark told her he would update her after discussing the issues with his Westminster colleagues when parliament returns on 2 September.
C The World’s Steve Giles heard from his local Bath MP, Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse, who said she remained “very concerned” about the impact of Covid-19 on travel, “particularly as more countries are added to the quarantine list”.
“Although I understand the need to try and prevent infections being brought into the country, this should not be at the expense of the travel industry,” wrote Hobhouse. “If we do not prevent the collapse of travel operators, tens of thousands more [people] will lose their jobs through no fault of their own.”
AmaWaterways’ senior marketing executive, Manisha Chaggar, shared her reply from Jonathan Lord, Conservative MP for Woking, who promised to raise concerns “with relevant ministers at the next opportunity”.
Meanwhile, Lee Harrison of Malvern World Travel forwarded TTG a response from his local MP, Conservative Harriett Baldwin, who has agreed to meet and discuss the issues raised by #SaveTravel.
Every TTG Media employee has contacted their local representative too.
Bob Neill, Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, told TTG sub editor Mary Ann Pickford he had highlighted the “considerable pressure” faced by local travel firms to government, calling for more flexible financial support – including an extension to the furlough scheme, or an equivalent.
“I believe [such a move] would have provided relief to many travel agents and would perhaps help avoid redundancies down the line,” he said.
Meanwhile, TTG Media sponsorship sales manager James Francis was told by his MP for Bracknell, Conservative James Sunderland, that he was "fully supportive of efforts to aid the travel industry".
Sunderland said he backed quarantine measures being brought in with "substantial notice" giving travellers and travel companies more time to react - after being "caught up in the recent changes to France".
"Please be assured that this issue has been raised repeatedly amongst MPs and I know that backbench MPs are working with the government to look at viable support," he added.