UK Travel Sector Demands | Travel Reopening In Nationwide Protest
LONDON: Travel agents, pilots, tour operators, aviation workers and cabin crew are among the thousands of people who will ‘speak up for travel’ today, as part of a day of action.
The sector is seeking to put pressure on the government to capitalise on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout by safely reopening travel for the summer season and provide tailored financial support to businesses.
The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end.
Data from ABTA estimates that as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry, with IATA research indicating that hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs are supported by the furlough scheme.
Although travel is no longer illegal, the industry says the government has failed to deliver a restart to international travel as promised, by undermining the risk-based system ministers established for a safe return to travel.
In contrast, other countries are forging ahead with pragmatic, risk-based schemes that allow safe travel including most recently Germany, France and Spain.
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “It is now or never for the government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season, not just for families desperate to get away but the tens of thousands of jobs which rely upon this once thriving sector.
“Airlines are at the absolute limit of what they can borrow and without a genuine reopening this summer they will require Government support to survive.
“The best way to save UK aviation is to enable a return to the skies – safely – by taking advantage of our vaccine dividend and allowing fully vaccinated passengers to travel without restrictions from amber and green countries.
“This is now happening across much of Europe and the UK is in grave danger of needlessly falling behind.”
Without a meaningful summer season – a crucial period of the year for travel businesses, airlines and airports many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of the travel sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.
As part of the day of action there are a range of events and activities happening across the UK, including 800 people attending an organised lobby outside parliament in London, 200 people at an event in Holyrood in Edinburgh and 100 gathering in Belfast.
There will be a virtual lobby in Cardiff, as well as activities at a range of UK airports and meetings with MPs locally and campaigning on social media.