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Comment: Eyes now turn from Number 10 to Number 11

The inclusion of travel in the PM’s roadmap was a great relief but next week’s Budget is key to a viable future, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley  

The inclusion of the industry in the prime minister’s lockdown roadmap this week came as a great relief, although it would be wise not to get carried away given the experience of the past 12 months.

As with every moment of apparent momentum during the pandemic, the sense of positivity comes with many caveats – from the boxes to be ticked at each stage of reopening to vaccination progress in destinations and the strict border restrictions that will serve as a brake on consumer confidence as long as they remain in place.

But despite these potential hurdles to be overcome, the overt acknowledgement both of the importance of targeting a summer season and the ongoing impact of the crisis on the sector was a sign of progress when some commentators feared we may be overlooked entirely once again.

The recommendations of the new travel taskforce in mid-April will of course be key to the process and it is important the government has confirmed it intends to work with representatives of the industry and engage their expertise and experience.

In the meantime, all eyes will move one door along Downing Street, from Number 10 to Number 11, as we await details of the chancellor’s much-anticipated and much-needed Budget next week.

With months still to go before the green shoots of this week translate into a restart and meaningful income for agents and suppliers alike, the anticipated extension of the furlough scheme and business rates relief will be the very least the industry will be hoping for.

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