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PM “NOT GIVEN UP”: On prospect of international travel & foreign holidays

PM “NOT GIVEN UP”: On prospect of international travel & foreign holidays

Credit: Sky News

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he has not “given up” on the prospect of Brits being able to go on holiday from 17th May.

It’s the next major date in the roadmap out of lockdown restrictions, but as Europe tried to combat a new wave of coronavirus infections, there are doubts.

In a document published on Monday, the government explained that when non-essential travel is allowed, it will be based on a “traffic-light” system, with those returning from “green” countries not needing to self-isolate upon return.

But the uncertain messaging has been criticised. When we spoke to travel experts last week, they were keen to get a definitive answer from the government.

Specialist Travel Association, AITO have explained sector-specific support is now vital, as their Chairman, Chris Rowles says the PM and his cabinet have ‘sabotaged’ UK outbound travel industry. 

“We all listened to Boris Johnson’s broadcast at 1700 hours yesterday, Easter Monday, and felt reasonably encouraged that things were going in the right direction and that the Global Travel Task Force, due to report in 7 days’ time, would have steps in place to enable us to trade after the past 14 months of negative cash flow.

“The bombshell hit post-broadcast, when an embargoedRoadmap Reviews: Update document became available. Carefully tucked away on page 5 of the short document, in paragraph 22, this damning statement appears: ‘For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.’

Continues Rowles: “This is death by back-stabbing, with no sector-specific support whatsoever proffered to help the outbound industry to survive the coming weeks and months until travel abroad is again feasible to whichever countries are on the green and amber traffic light lists.

“AITO’s 200-plus specialist holiday companies and specialist travel agents, along with plenty of other travel businesses that sell overseas travel, have been left to rot by this deceitful and simply uncaring government. 

“Rather than discussing anything with the outbound industry, or offering us help – as they have with the Creative Arts and Hospitality sectors, listed by the government’s own Office for National Statistics as second and third worst hit industries they’ve simply ignored us and treated us as if we don’t exist. 

“They must be hoping that staycations will mean that all those millions of pounds of furlough money are spent in the UK. They forget – or are so ignorant of how the outbound industry operates that they don’t realise – that we have not been able to furlough staff as others have because of the hundreds of thousands of holidays that we’ve had to cancel throughout 2020, to defer to 2021 - and now, in many cases, to 2022 - or to refund in full despite the lack of refunds from airlines/accommodation providers; we’ve had to dip into our own modest reserves.  

“The government’s SAGE advisers stopped bookings dead about three weeks ago by advising the public not to book summer holidays abroad, which we complained bitterly about as confidence had been returning. Now we understand why – they knew the Government was going to state “don’t book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer” yesterday.  We know, too, that another round of deferrals and refunds will now commence, with no new bookings to give us any income or hope of survival.


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