The trade is to call on the UK government to allow international travel to return safely and bring forward a package of tailored financial support on its Travel Day of Action.
Abta confirmed details of the Save Future Travel Coalition’s plans for June 23, when trade bodies from across the travel and aviation sector will come together to put pressure on the government to allow travel to restart for the peak summer period.
The day will include organised events in London, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Those who wish to attend the organised lobby at College Green in Westminster, London, need to register in advance. Permission has been granted for 800 people to be on Westminster’s College Green – with two separate time slots of 400 people each, including press, MPs and organisers – to meet Covid requirements.
The trade’s first plea to government is for travel to return safely in a risk managed way by implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic light system by expanding the green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, while keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
The second call is for the government to bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including the extension of furlough, recognising that the travel industry’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than expected and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.
Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at Abta – The Travel Association, said: “The Travel Day of Action is an opportunity for the whole industry to urge the UK government and devolved administrations to speak up for travel.
“Throughout this entire pandemic the UK travel industry has had nowhere near the level of support needed to deal with the devastating impact this crisis has had on people’s jobs, livelihoods and businesses. Figures don’t do justice in explaining the financial and emotional toll this has taken on those working in travel.
“It has been fantastic to see such great support and interest in the Travel Day of Action, and there are lots of different ways that people will be able to get involved – including via social media, meeting with their MPs or joining events in London, Edinburgh or Belfast.
“It is really important that people strictly follow the rules and requirements around COVID-19 and arrangements for the Day. We want the Day of Action to generate positive sentiment and constructive support for the industry.”
The day of action is timed to take place ahead of when the government discusses and makes a decision on the next steps for international travel, which is due to take place on June 28.
The whole industry is being encouraged to take part in the day, including airlines, airports, tour operators, travel agents, suppliers and travel partners.
The activities include meeting with local MPs as part of the organised events in Westminster, Edinburgh or Belfast, or locally in a business office or shop, or a virtual meeting. There are also ways to get involved online and on social media.
There are also ways to get involved online and on social media such as sharing posts, taking part in a Twitterstorm, tagging MPs or devolved representatives into social posts, or sharing template posts and graphics across social media channels. More details on this will provided later this week.
Guidance will be issued to those wishing to attend the events in London, Edinburgh and Belfast. Events in other locations are also being considered.
In London, there will be an organised lobby in Westminster from 12.30pm, with 400 people in attendance at any one time and two time slots to ensure maximum industry attendance.
Those attending are being urged to invite their MP to meet them on College Green for a meeting. Abta has provided a template email to send to MPs and has asked members to let the association know so it can coordinate MP attendance.
To attend, registration is required to meet Covid-19 requirements and risk assessment. Abta members have been emailed a link. Agents need to register to attend via their trade association.
Those people who are near, but not on College Green, will need to abide by all social distancing measures, meaning groups of no more than 30 people together are allowed.
The event in Edinburgh is being organised in Holyrood by the Scottish Passenger Agents Association and those planning to attend should contact the SPAA directly for more details.
In Belfast, the event is being run by the Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents is organising. Similarly, those attending should contact ANITA directly for more details.