Leading travel figures met via video conference on Wednesday (2 September) to hammer out a plan to make sector-specific support for travel a key focus of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget.
Abta, the Advantage Travel Partnership, Aito, Atas, the Business Travel Association (BTA), Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association and UKinbound discussed a range of shared objectives, which included regionalised quarantine, airport testing, and ongoing salary and grant support schemes.
The Abta-led coalition resolved to increase coordination ahead of the budget through regular meetings, and through joint activities to raise awareness of the travel sector’s plight.
Abta believes 39,000 travel jobs have already been lost, or placed at risk, with more than three-quarters of companies yet to launch what is expected to be a flurry of redundancy consultations.
"The entire travel industry is going through a period of uncertainty and challenge like it has never seen before," said Abta’s director of public affairs Luke Petherbridge.
"It is our job as travel associations to make the case for our industry. We must come together to highlight the vital strategic importance of travel for the wider UK economy, as businesses that underpin the country’s aviation connectivity, and support inward investment and export earnings.
“Alongside championing the importance of the sector, we must also offer ministers practical and workable solutions to problems facing the leisure and business travel sectors."
The coalition’s asks echo many of the TTG-led #SaveTravel campaign, and include:
It comes after the #SaveTravel campaign on Tuesday (2 September) delivered letters to the Treasury and Department for Transport, signed by more than 11,000, calling for sector-specific support for travel from government as parliament reconvened.
Editor Sophie Griffiths and group editor Pippa Jacks were joined by Petherbridge, as well as Aito executive director Martyn Sumners and BTA chief executive Clive Wratten for the handover.
Others in attendance included Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership; Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group; Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound; Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA of Intrepid Travel; Brian Young, managing director EMEA of G Adventures; and Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos Tours and Cruises and Avalon Waterways UK.