Abta is encouraging members and the wider trade to write to their MPs about the urgent need for tailored financial support for the industry ahead of the Budget.
A template letter published by the association calls on MPs to lobby the transport secretary and chancellor of the exchequer before the Budget on 3 March.
The letter asks for financial support and “a roadmap out of the crisis”.
Abta is calling for an expansion of existing grants schemes “in recognition of the unique regulatory restrictions placed on the travel sector”. “Targeted grants support will see many travel businesses through the crisis and into recovery,” it said.
Abta also wants other financial support mechanisms, such as furlough, VAT deferrals, business rates relief and loan re-payments extended “to avoid the impending financial cliff-edge facing many companies that have had little or no revenue for approaching a year”.
The letter also urges the government to enable travel businesses to trade out of the crisis “by setting out a plan to build consumer confidence while putting in place mitigation measures to ensure travel can operate in a risk-controlled manner”.
Abta’s director of public affairs, Luke Petherbridge, said: “This week it is one year since the start of travel restrictions, which started with restrictions on Wuhan (China), but then spread quickly to cover all destinations by March.
“Travel was the first industry in the UK to be affected by this pandemic, and ONS data shows travel agents and tour operators are the hardest hit businesses. However, unlike other sectors such as hospitality, there hasn’t been any tailored financial support for the sector.
“While the vaccine roll-out is positive, the industry cannot wait for the whole UK adult population to be vaccinated before travel restarts – and businesses cannot afford to lose another summer.
“Abta will continue to press government for a roadmap out of the crisis, and I urge members to do the same by getting in touch with their local MP.”
Letter templates can be downloaded from abta.com/savefuturetravel