Travel Day of Action supporting the UK travel industry

The UK travel industry is coming together on Wednesday 23 June 2021 to put pressure on the UK government to support a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period. Follow the Travel Industry Day of Action - #traveldayofaction

Travel Day of Action in support for the UK travel industry
Travel Day of Action in support for the UK travel industry

The view from Weather2Travel.com

Colin Carter, Director at Weather2Travel.com, shares his views on what the UK government needs to do to support the travel industry.

The last 18 months have been the most challenging I've experienced in over 15 years in the travel industry. In fact, during the course of my whole working life.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating. Millions of people have died and even more have suffered through the illness and the grief of losing relatives, friends, livelihoods and businesses. And we know it's not over yet, from the prevalence of new variants to the lasting physical and mental health side effects.

But we, as an industry, cannot survive with the current uncertainty. Thousands more travel jobs will be lost if the UK government persists in undermining the fragile remains of consumer confidence.

Why the travel industry matters

Of course, many industries have suffered, travel is not alone. However, travel, in its many forms, continues to take a kicking due to the uncertainty around international travel, such as the many restrictions that remain and the requirements for quarantining and testing when travelling to and returning from destinations overseas.

This is not helped by the fact that no one government department is responsible for travel in the UK, as it spans the Department of Transport, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the much smaller office of the Minister for Tourism and Heritage, and that's before you consider the different nations within the UK.

Government policy on the return of international travel was meant to follow the science and offer a clear path to build consumer confidence through the official Global Travel Taskforce, but it's been anything but. The vaccine rollout in the UK has been amazing, however, the UK is now being left behind when it comes to opening up.

The UK travel industry generates a combined total of over £53 billion from inbound and outbound travellers. This income has been slashed through the pandemic and it's time that the UK government supported the industry by getting people moving again, albeit safely, and stimulating the economy.

Pent-up demand

There are many who are desperate to travel to see family, friends or enjoy a well earned break, while some business travellers (we recognise not all) are itching for the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and partners around the globe.

International travel reuniting family & friends © Yakobchuk Olena - Adobe Stock Image
International travel reuniting family & friends © Yakobchuk Olena - Adobe Stock Image

The UK traffic light system, including the quarantine and testing required as well as the massive costs involved, has led to even more confusion for consumers and continued disruption for travel companies.

Travel businesses rely on people being able to travel and in many cases don't get paid until travellers have departed. Many businesses have future income tied up in existing bookings in 2021 and into 2022. We are no different. The majority of our income is based on commission from travel products purchased via our site.

What the UK government can do

Without the ability for the general public to readily and feasibly travel internationally, we cannot generate enough income to bring back staff back from furlough full-time to maintain the website and create new content to support travellers and holidaymakers.

The travel industry is looking for the UK government to do the following:

  • Implement the Global Travel Taskforce's plan by expanding the green list based on scientific evidence with transparency while maintaining a strong red list to guard against variants
  • Update the requirements for testing and quarantining to include fully vaccinated travellers with the use of vaccination passports
  • Reduce the costs of Covid-19 tests for travel to make them more affordable for all
  • Implement a package of tailored financial support, including an extension to the furlough scheme and offer long term support to all types of travel business that will require a long recovery period.

Let us help you travel safely: use our interactive Covid travel planner to find viable holiday destinations and our comprehensive travel advice section which has everything from statistics on the vaccine rollout and new cases by country to the latest UK's travel list.

† Figure from ABTOT.

Posted on Wednesday 23 June 2021

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