Travel Village Group boss Phil Nuttall made a passionate plea for additional travel sector-specific government support during a BBC Radio 4 You & Yours slot on the TTG-led #SaveTravel campaign this week.
Nuttall explained how a tweak to the furlough scheme to allow travel staff to be furloughed while continuing to carry out vital, and often statutory, non-profit generating administration and customer care work, like processing refunds, would have greatly eased the burden on travel, and protected the sector from a lot of the negative publicity it has received.
An extension to the furlough scheme is one of the key asks of government by the #SaveTravel campaign, along with a holiday on Air Passenger Duty holiday to the end of summer 2021 to help with pricing and to stimulate holiday demand, akin to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme afforded to the UK hospitality sector.
#SaveTravel is also calling on government to develop a travel restriction regime that is more kind to the travel sector – such as regional quarantine or a comprehensive airport testing scheme.
The show heard from four travel industry workers, who previously told TTG of the struggles they’ve faced as a result of Covid-19 – Claire Moore, managing director of Peakes Travel Elite; Martin Sandland-Owens of The Holiday Village; James Rowe, formerly of Barrhead Travel; and Claire Farley, managing director of 2By2 Holidays.
The #SaveTravel campaign has now been backed by more than 10,000 people, including dozens of senior figures including, just this week, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren.
TTG will deliver the letter to the government on Tuesday (1 September) when parliament returns from its summer recess.
TTG group editor Pippa Jacks told You & Yours the aim of the campaign was to help government understand, and appreciate, the unique position facing the UK’s inbound and outbound travel companies.
"They’ve been paying out millions of pounds in refunds over the past six months, and many of them have no prospect of earning any real income until next year," she said.
"Abta research this week shows almost 40,000 jobs have already been lost, or are at-risk; the collapse of STA Travel last week was just one more recent example – and we expect hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost over the coming months if the government doesn’t step in."
You can listen to the full eight-minute You & Yours slot above, or you can catch up with the entire show via BBC Sounds (with the section on #SaveTravel starting at 31:00). More information is available from the BBC’s dedicated You & Yours site.