The travel industry came together today at Westminster and around the country on a day of action to ‘speak up for travel’.
More than 1,000 turned up outside Parliament with placards and banners despite numbers being limited officially to 400.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer hailed the success of the day, organised by the Save Future Travel Coalition.
He said: “It’s great the industry came together – travel agents standing together with airline pilots. I hope we can carry on that level of collaboration.”
Tanzer argued: “The momentum is growing, but the longer we get into the summer season without restarting the more likelihood there is of businesses failing.
“It is a pressure cooker and we need to keep up the pressure.”
Kuoni UK chief executive Derek Jones agreed: “Today is an opportunity to come together with a single voice with a single message for government. It’s been a long 18 months and we’ve not always spoken with one voice.”
He argued: “It’s about the government understanding the consequences of its actions. Now the government needs to respond and support the industry.”
UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft also hailed the success of the day, noting: “It has generated a lot of positive publicity. Bringing together the outbound, inbound, aviation and business travel sectors is a great precedent for the industry. We need to build on it.”
Jeanne Lally, joint managing director of the The Travel Bureau said: “The government needs to engage with the industry because we’ve not had a proper consultation. And it needs to sort out the traffic light system and ensure it is not so haphazard.”
Rachel Greenwood, manager of Althams Travel in Ilkley, argued: “This has been the hardest 16 months of our lives.
“It has been all refunds and doom and gloom and there is so much uncertainty. Confidence is built up and then knocked again.”
Chris Harrison, managing director of agency chain Dawson & Sanderson, said: “The industry has been forgotten by a government that doesn’t understand the structure of our industry.
“We’ve had to survive on 5%-10% of our usual revenues, from which we’ve had to pay out refunds.
“We need to make the government listen. We either need a traffic light system that is taken seriously and is transparent or we need tailored support.”
David Allen of Andara Travel in Birmingham agreed, saying: “We need clarity and certainty about what we can do and support for what we can’t do.
“The mixed messages from government have been a problem.”
Allen said: “We had to scale down our business. We are in the process of closing our shop and will be working from home. We had no choice. There were seven of us in the team and now there are just two.”
Miles Morgan Travel chairman Miles Morgan told Travel Weekly: “I just had a positive meeting with my MP David Davies [MP for Monmouthshire]. He believes countries on the amber list will open in August for double vaccinated holidaymakers and children.
“His feeling was the mood music is changing and that today’s Travel Day of Action would make a difference.”