A leading travel accountant is urging the travel trade to contact their local MP following a successful meeting with his representative culture secretary, Oliver Dowden.
Jonathan Wall, managing director of Elman Wall, met with Dowden, MP for Hertsmere, on 25 June, two days after the Travel Day of Action.
“I contacted him a couple of weeks ago and was subsequently invited to a constituency meeting,” Wall told TTG.
“[Advantage chief executive] Julia Lo Bue-Said had said to me, ‘who better than an accountant in travel to tell the government how money is earned in the travel industry’, so I thought this was a really good opportunity to describe to my MP how it works and why this sector needs urgent support.”
Wall said he explained why many businesses still have no income, despite countries being added to the green list and some customers booking breaks for 2022/23. And he used an analogy about the restaurant chain Nandos to demonstrate his point. “I stressed that it’s not like going to Nandos, which might be closed one day, but then can open the next day and start taking money immediately from day one.
“Even though countries have been placed on the green list, I explained that money won’t be coming in today. He said he hadn’t fully appreciated how it worked.”
Wall said Dowden asked him when “the tipping point” for the industry was, with Wall replying: “it’s already passed! We reached the point of no return some time ago – unless the government agrees to some kind of extension to furlough”.
Wall said Dowden was keen to stress the Travel Day of Action on 23 June had “made a difference”. Dowden also said the more people in travel who contacted and spoke with their MPs, the more the message would be carried through the halls of Westminster.
“He said lots of people talking to their MPs will make a difference. If everyone has that same conversation with their MP it will make an impact. And he said Travel Day of Action will make a difference because a lot of people were talking about it in Westminster.
“I said there are many businesses which are running on empty – and that’s why that support is needed,” Wall added. “He needed a better understanding as to why travel won’t recover quickly. He was much more informed at the end of the call. I would urge everyone to contact their local MP to keep getting the message out there.”