Abta has contacted the Department for Transport to raise concerns over “ill-judged and ill-informed” comments about travel agents made by transport secretary Grant Shapps during Friday evening’s government press conference.

Shapps was widely condemned by members of the travel trade after referring to travel companies as “what people would have called travel agents in the past”.

Abta confirmed it had made contact with the DfT about the comments and had also provided detailed feedback on the announcement of the first travel ‘green list’.


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Mark Tanzer, chief executive, said: “These were ill-judged and ill-informed comments, which simply do not align with the facts.  Travel agents are very much here and make a vital contribution to both the UK economy and to consumer confidence in travel.

“We have also highlighted our recent research which shows that more consumers than ever plan to book their next holiday with a travel professional – some 28% more now than before the pandemic – showing the value which the public places on their guidance and expertise.”

In its feedback on the content of Friday’s announcement, Abta “made clear the importance of adding more countries to the list at the next review stage” and called for further work on testing costs and availability.

It also repeated calls for ongoing financial support for travel businesses.

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