The Department for Transport has promised the Global Travel Taskforce, reconvened to explore how international travel can be restarted safely this summer, will continue to engage with the travel sector before it reports to government on 12 April.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the new taskforce on Tuesday (2 March), which the DfT said was attended by several government departments, along with "industry bodies, transport operators and travel agencies".
However, no independent travel agencies feature on a full list of attendees supplied to TTG by the DfT.
The list, broken down by government department and mode of transport, comprises 31 businesses, organisations and industry bodies, largely representing travel operators rather than travel sellers, with Tui the only recognisable "agent" listed.
TTG has asked the DfT to confirm the actual composition of the taskforce after its earlier incarnation comprised just 12 government departments, bodies and taskforces, with no actual representation from travel industry stakeholders.
The list is also broadly representative, though, of the stakeholders consulted by the taskforce last year, with 27 of Tuesday’s meeting’s 31 attendees having contributed to the taskforce’s November 2020 report, which laid the foundations for the government’s test to release scheme.
The full list of attendees at Tuesday’s meeting ran:
A DfT spokesperson told TTG: "Further engagement will continue throughout the process."
The taskforce will report to government by 12 April with a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way. This will happen no earlier than 17 May.
The work of the taskforce will "take place in parallel and be closely integrated" with a review of "Covid-status certification" being led by chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove.
The DfT said a decision on when international travel can resume would depend on four factors: the domestic and global epidemiological situation; the emergence, location and prevalence of variants of concern; the progress of the UK’s vaccine roll-out and programmes overseas; and new data on the efficacy of the vaccines currently being deployed on variants, transmission, hospitalisation and death.
Separately on Tuesday, members of Abta’s Save Future Travel coalition, including the Advantage Travel Partnership and UKinbound, as well as members of the newly formed Travel Industry Alliance, presented to a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation on travel and tourism.
Grateful to @UKinbound @AdvantageHQ and the Travel Industry Alliance for presenting at the APPG for the Future of Aviation's meeting on travel and tourism this morning. Thanks also to our Chair @HenrySmithUK and the 30 parliamentarians who joined us on the call. pic.twitter.com/A9ZhBERI6o— The Future of Aviation Group (@aviationfutgrp) March 2, 2021
The meeting was chaired by Gatwick MP Henry Smith and attended by 30 parliamentarians, including chair of the transport select committee Huw Merriman.