Kuoni boss Derek Jones has made a fresh appeal for the government to support the travel industry as it has the hospitality sector.
Last month Jones posted a “tongue-in-cheek” suggestion that an Eat Out to Help Out-style scheme should be introduced for travel, which he said was “born out of frustration at the lack of support for the outbound sector”, but later said that a fall in public trust in the industry meant it was not yet ready to back such a campaign.
On Tuesday he renewed calls for financial support for the industry after receiving a half-price coffee in a branch of Starbucks, arguing that the discounts would be better spent saving jobs in travel.
Posting on Twitter, he said: “I bought a Starbucks coffee this morning and was surprised to get it half price. @rishisunak kindly used £1.45 of taxpayers’ money to give me a discount I wasn’t expecting and didn’t need. There are nearly 1,000 Starbucks in the UK, each I guess selling about 200 coffees a day. That’s 200,000 coffees at £1.45 each so £290k discount per day. Let’s call that £2million a week.”
He continued: “£2 million per week on coffees for people who were probably going to buy a coffee anyway and who weren’t expecting to get it cheap. Like me.”
“Meanwhile, the outbound travel industry has been decimated. Covid-19 has brought the whole sector to its knees. With almost no new revenue being generated, jobs are being lost at an alarming rate. Unlike the UK restaurant sector, travel businesses have had no additional support.
“The average salary in travel is £26k a year or about £500 per week. Now remember how much those reduced priced coffees are costing the taxpayer? It’s the equivalent of saving the jobs of 4,000 people employed in overseas travel…and that’s just Starbucks.”
He added: “The money being spent in total would protect almost all travel jobs until it’s safe to travel abroad on holiday again. Don’t get me wrong. I love a coffee and don’t doubt cafes and restaurants need the support but travel jobs and travel people matter too.”
Jones concluded: “So the next time you’re served a discounted coffee maybe take a second to think of the last overseas holiday you had, and then think about the people that helped to make it happen. And then ask yourself why there’s no support for them – and if you think that’s wrong, then maybe let your MP know.”
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