Abta asks for ‘tailored support’ for travel industry with 90,000 jobs already at risk

Abta is calling for the government to offer “tailored support” for the travel industry during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The travel association has warned that more than 90,000 jobs are currently at risk, and “the situation has already reached a critical point with the potential to lead to even more job losses”.

Following a survey of its members, which include some of the biggest travel firms in the UK such as Tui and Jet2, Abta found that 18 per cent of jobs in outbound travel have already been lost or have been placed at risk.

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This includes those working for tour operators, travel agents and airlines, and is estimated to total around 39,000 jobs.

The travel association believes that businesses further up the supply chain will also be impacted, leading to a further loss of 54,210 jobs.

It warned that many more jobs are at risk as 78 per cent of the businesses it surveyed said that they are considering redundancies in the coming months based on the current situation.

Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “With the government’s stop start measures, the restart of travel has not gone as hoped for the industry, and sadly businesses continue to be adversely affected and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate. Coming towards the end of the traditional period for peak booking, we have hit a critical point as existing government measures to support businesses begin to taper off, the consequence of which, according to this survey of Abta members, will be ruinous for more people’s livelihoods.

“Travel desperately needs the government in its next review to provide tailored support or tens of thousands more jobs will be lost. We have already seen well-known and respected businesses that would normally be successful falling into administration, and more are sadly set to follow unless the government can Save Future Travel.”

Abta said it has written to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak with a “Save Future Travel” plan, which include five action points.

It wants to regionalise quarantine, which means certain low-risk destinations within a country could be exempt from the Department for Transport and FCO’s blanket bans. Examples could include Spain’s Canary and Balearic islands.

Testing should be introduced to enable the resumption of travel with major global trading partners such as the US, argues Abta.

It hopes an air passenger duty holiday will be implemented to boost passenger demand for travel, in particular for summer 2021.

To help travel businesses during the low season, Abta has proposed that a recovery grant should be made available, which could see many small businesses survive until next Easter.

And finally, it’s called for a targeted extension to the furlough scheme, as seen in Australia, to help support businesses where there’s been little recovery.

It comes as STA Travel became the latest operator to fold due to the impact of coronavirus.

On Friday evening, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that the London-based firm had failed with the loss of 500 jobs.

The news leaves thousands of customers who are owed refunds uncertain about when they might get their money back.

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