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Agents voice mixed reaction to Abta campaign

Agents have backed Abta’s Save Future Travel grassroots campaign but some warned it does not go far enough to force the government’s hand on key issues such as refunds.

Save Future Travel calls on anyone employed in the sector, and friends and family, to lobby their MP to ensure the government upholds its promise to do “whatever it takes” to protect jobs and businesses.

Abta has already written to the prime minister and been in talks with government departments to demand regulatory change and financial support to help firms survive the coronavirus crisis, but the government has yet to respond.


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Supporters can send a templated email to their local MP highlighting the sector’s demands by visiting savefuturetravel.co.uk.

Abta’s initiative came as the World Tourism Organization called on the global travel community to work together to plan for the future in a #TravelTomorrow campaign.

Frontline agents admit they have grown frustrated by a perceived lack of lobbying on their behalf.

Tailor Made Travel chief executive Simon Morgan said: “I’ve been pretty frustrated about the lack of agent-focused lobbying to date; most has been around airlines and operators. It’s great to see Abta being proactive.”

He called for more government support for agencies, many of which have furloughed staff and are operating with reduced teams.

Full Circle Travel managing director Niall Douglas called Abta’s campaign a “good step”. He added: “It makes it easy to get information sent to your MP.”

But Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan feared the campaign may not succeed and urged Abta to give suppliers the green light to ‘say no’ to customer refunds until airlines pay up, to force the government to take a tougher stance with carriers.

“Airlines are getting away without refunding,” he said.

“If all holiday companies did the same, there would be a huge public outcry and it would gain the attention of government and the media.”

Westoe Travel director Graeme Brett said the campaign did not go far enough and called for more practical support, such as Abta-endorsed messages to use on social media.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said the association had done all it could to make the devastating impact of the crisis clear to government.


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