LIVE: Afternoon reports from Travel Day of Action

To check out all the updates from this morning’s activity around the Travel Day of Action, click here.

Travel Weekly spoke to figures representing travel agents, tour operators, airlines, trade associations and many others, hear what they had to say here

We’ll be continuing our coverage of this afternoon’s events here, so keep checking back for the latest updates, interviews and social media activity from Westminster, Holyrood, Belfast and other locations across the UK

End of our live coverage

5.30pm: With the lobbying events over at Westminster, Holyrood and Stormont, that wraps up our live coverage from today’s Travel Day of Action. Thank you for joining us and look out for plenty more coverage on and in next week’s edition of the print magazine.

Day of Action comes to a close

Day of Action gets transatlantic support

Jason Oshiokpekhai, Maria Bety & BTA

5.25pm: Jason Oshiokpekhai, managing director of Global Travel Collection UK and Maria Baty, managing director of Altour UK, together represented the wider Internova Travel Group which pledged its support from the USA.

Oshiokpekhai said: “As one of the last industries standing, 15 months on, without trade or industry-specific support – we need immediate intervention to establish a sustainable, transparent and comprehensive global travel recovery plan. Not a string of false promises, mismatched information and changes at the eleventh hour.”

Mike Batt, chairman of Internova, which also owns Barrhead Travel, said from the US: “The UK outbound travel industry has been on house arrest since March 2020, but enough is enough. We need action and answers now. The industry cannot remain in this oblivion for any longer as the consequences of delaying the reopening of UK travel would be severe and would have a worldwide ripple-effect across the entire travel ecosystem.

“International travel must be a priority for the UK government.”

Travel Day of Action hits the national headlines

BBC Day of Action story

4.55pm: The Travel Day of Action has hit headlines in newspapers, TV and radio bulletins across the country as the industry puts pressure on the government to act.

The BBC reported: “Hundreds of travel professionals have gathered outside the Houses of Parliament – and in cities up and down the UK – to draw attention to the ongoing struggles of the industry and ask for government support.”

Independent agent Linda Hill Miller, of LAH Travel in Glasgow, told the BBC: “I’ve spent 17 years building my family business and over the last 17 months I’ve lost every single penny.”

Read the full story here.

Luxury agents unite for Travel Day of Action

4.26pm: Erica Bush, features writer for Travel Weekly’s luxury sister title Aspire, spoke to a range of high-end travel specialists who joined the Day of Action in Westminster.

Read the full story here.

TTNG member mounts persuasive argument to MP

SPAA criticises ministers for shunning Day of Action

4.20pm: The SPAA has voiced its disappointment that no Scottish ministers joined its Day of Action protest at Holyrood on Wednesday.

President Joanne Dooey said: “While we met with 15 MSPs during the event, we were disappointed that we were not joined by any of the Scottish ministers but we believe we delivered our messages with integrity and passion.

“We now turn to the UK government and devolved nations to revert with a clear and practical plan to reopen travel and support our industry.”

Read the full story here.

‘The industry has been forgotten’

4.10pm: Chris Harrison, managing director of 21-branch Dawson & Sanderson, said: “We as an industry have had to survive on 5% to 10% of our usual revenues, from which we have had to pay out refunds.

“I think the industry has been forgotten by a government that doesn’t understand the structure of our industry. We either need a traffic light system that is transparent and taken seriously, or we need tailored support as an industry. We need to make the government listen. There is metric evidence that borders can open.”

Chris Harrison Dawson and Sanderson

Agents have their say

4pm: Members of the Travel Weekly team spoke to a range of agents about their experiences at the Westminster Day of Action.

Airline crew add colour to Day of Action

3.53pm: Instantly recognisable crew members from Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and easyJet were among those gathering at Westminster.

Bamboo Travel team speak to local MP

3.44pm: Aito member Bamboo Travel managed to catch up with Conservative MP for SW Wiltshire Andrew Murrison.

Glasgow airport makes views crystal clear

Northern Ireland agents say ‘tide is turning’

3.30pm: Organisers of the Belfast Day of Action hailed the response of the trade after more than 150 people supported the event.

Damian Murphy, director and manager at Terra Travel and spokesman for the Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents (Anita), said: “It went extremely well – it absolutely exceeded our expectations and we had a  large number of MLAs (members of the legislative assembly).

“We definitely got our message across. I feel positive about the day, extremely positive. We have been really pleased with the day and how it was organised.”

Read the full story here.

Questions for the prime minister

3.20pm: Travel Weekly’s Ben Ireland poses a question to Boris Johnson – then the industry makes its voice clear as the PM leaves the Palace of Westminster…

Shadow tourism minister voices support

3.15pm: Shadow tourism minister Alex Sobel has explained his backing for the Travel Day of Action in a post on Twitter.

Huw Merriman joins trade leaders

3.00pm: Conservative MP and chair of the transport select committee joined trade leaders and cabin crew to show his support for the Day of Action. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch Merriman’s interview with Travel Weekly by clicking here.

Merriman and CEOs Day of Action

Tui and Virgin Atlantic send crew to back efforts

MP: ‘Government not penalising outbound travel’

Tom T with Aito's Rowles and Tangey

2.50pm: The chair of the foreign affairs select committee insists the government is making its decisions on international travel based on the science and not punishing individual industries.

MP Tom Tugendhat met Tangey Tours owner John Tangey, and Aito chairman Chris Rowles at the industry’s Travel Day of Action on College Green today.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, he said: “Most people [MPs] realise that this is a hugely important industry both in itself but also as an enabler of so many others.

“We all know that the same plane that carries holidaymakers carries business people and cargo – and if we take away one of these elements it adds to the cost of others.”

Read the full story here.

Great Rail Journeys chief writes open letter

2.34pm: Peter Liney, chief executive of Great Rail Journeys, has written an open letter in support of the Travel Day of Action.

He said: “The UK travel and tourism sectors remain essentially closed, mired in uncertainty and deeply concerned for our future. The UK is falling behind other nations in its travel restart plans and risks becoming an outlier, undermining our Global Britain aspirations.

“The health secretary has said that we cannot expect a return to international travel in the ‘medium term’ because of the need to protect domestic freedoms ‘at all costs’.  Those costs will be disproportionately met by those employed in the travel and tourism sectors, who feel increasingly abandoned.

“Without a meaningful summer season – a crucial period of the year for our businesses – many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of our sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.”

Former SPAA president speaks

2.27pm: The SPAA coordinated a lobby at Holyrood today alongside those happening at Westminster and in Belfast. Former president Alan Glen explains why the Day of Action is so essential.

CV Villas ‘stands in solidarity’ with industry

2.26pm: Managing director Tristan Symondson said: ‘As a business we are in support of the proposed action which is fighting for both an expansion of the green list to allow more travel, and targeted sector support in light of the impossibility of operating for much of the last 14 months.

“I have written to our local MP on behalf of the business and although coronavirus has affected almost every business, I do agree that as an industry travel has been hit harder than most.

“We ask that the government listen to these important demands.”

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