June 14, 2024

Industry to hold day of action to ensure safe return to travel

Travel buyers, TMCs and suppliers are being urged to take part in a day of action on June 23 to put pressure on the UK government to support a safe return to international travel.

The event is being led by a number of associations, including the Business Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership, ABTA and Airlines UK, who are among the members of the Save Future Travel Coalition.

It will involve an organised lobby at the Houses of Parliament and events across other parts of the UK and will be the culmination of intense lobbying and political engagement pledged over the next few weeks.

The event is intended to generate and attract national media attention and will also seek to gain traction on social media.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Chief Executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We all need to be pulling together towards this one single date, so it has the greatest media and political impact.

“It is imperative the industry speaks with one clear voice to demand action from the government urgently on the safe recovery of travel and tourism.”

Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA, said: “Business travel generates £220 billion for UK GDP each year. For more than 18 months we have been at a virtual standstill. The Government’s latest announcement was tantamount to a death knell for our sector.

“There needs to be ongoing targeted financial support for the industry and much clearer guidelines for international travellers if we are to continue being a successful trading nation. We urge everyone across the business and leisure travel industries to come together on June 23.”

Bev Fearis, Editor of The Business Travel Magazine, added: “It’s vital that as many people as possible get behind this day of action to make sure the industry’s voice is heard.

“We will be fully supporting the campaign, both on the day and in the preceding weeks, by helping to spread the word through our website, newsletter and social channels.”

ITM CEO, Scott Davies, said: “We totally support this day of action. Our buyer members are working hard to plan the safe resumption of business travel for their travellers, but lack of clarity from the government, confusion over traffic light systems, quarantine and testing protocols is making this incredibly difficult.

“Corporates are telling us that business travel for client relationship development and new business opportunities is becoming essential as they haven’t been able to meet face to face with colleagues, clients or prospects for 18 months. For many this is having a detrimental effect on their companies’ commercial performance. We need to see the government supporting ways to facilitate business travel such as vaccine passports and air corridors on key business travel routes.”

The coalition is calling for the UK Government to allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan.

It is also urging ministers to bring forward a package of tailored financial support to recognise that the unlocking of international travel will be much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

The day of action will take place just ahead of June 28, when the Government is due to review both the traffic light list and the requirements, measures and systems in place for international travel.

Activities on June 23 will start from 12.30pm, allowing attendees time to travel down to London for the day.

Organisers say more information will be shared as plans are finalised.