Comment: Is the government alert to the travel industry?

Few other sectors face such a lengthy and uncertain road back, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley

“How is an entire sector supposed to survive and re-emerge from this crisis ready to provide services to customers when almost an entire year’s trading will be decimated?”

Those were the words of legal expert Joanna Kolatsis this week, and they perfectly encapsulated the concerns of the industry, despite some positive news for employers with the extension of the furlough scheme.

Though not unexpected, the news that the UK would join other countries in introducing a quarantine period for international arrivals was yet another blow for an industry already reeling from the pandemic.

If the entire summer season is indeed “cancelled”, as health secretary Matt Hancock all but confirmed this week, then suppliers and agents will now be looking forward not to an imminent bounce-back but to more cancellations and even greater pressure on their businesses.

Travel and aviation aren’t the only industries facing massive challenges, and they are not alone in calling for special support. But few others face such a long period in lockdown or such a lengthy and uncertain road back to generating meaningful income and some form of normality.

Last week, I wrote about the need to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on both lives and livelihoods, and it was interesting to see the government using the phrase ‘Saving Lives, Saving Livelihoods’ prominently in its communications this week.

We can only hope it heeds its own updated advice and is alert to the very specific needs of our industry and the many thousands of people who rely on it.

Comment from Travel Weekly, May 14 edition


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