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Published on Thursday, January 14, 2021

We must plan ahead for post-crisis travel, insists ABTA chief

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer has stressed the need to map out future travel protocols amid fears the current rules and restrictions are bamboozling the public and, if left in place too long, could further dent forward bookings. 

Tanzer said it was imperative the government draws up plans to kick-in when the worst of Covid is over and international travel begins to resume.

If the current restrictions remain in place for too long, further damage could be inflicted on the industry, he warned.

Tanzer also revealed ABTA is in discussions with overseas destinations over their plans regarding UK travellers who are vaccinated.

In a blog on the ABTA website, Tanzer recognised the need for the current measures to fight Covid, but said the government's Global Travel Taskforce should explore how travel can safely resume once the virus is subdued.

"The pre-departure testing…..joins a myriad of other measures which if still in place when more people start to travel would be confusing, expensive and logistically difficult for customers," Tanzer said. "It would also serve as a barrier to travel putting many people off booking in the first place.
"It is worth pointing out that the Government hasn't given any confirmation that pre-departure testing will be removed once international travel opens up more widely - only that it will be reviewed as we come towards the end of this lockdown.

"What the industry needs to hear from Government is a clear plan for recovery.  

"We currently have travel corridors, quarantine, testing on departure to the UK, testing to reduce quarantine and advice against travel to whole countries all in place - not to mention the various restrictions overseas countries place on UK tourists.

"This situation is not a viable way to open up the travel market and get people travelling again."

The travel taskforce should address each of the issues, in addition to examining what the roll out of a vaccine in the UK will mean for overseas travel, Tanzer said.

"We hope this will lead to a roadmap which can be used to drive future policy for business and leisure travel and get people moving again," he went on.

"We know how important it is for the industry to work together on these matters, which is why we continue to discuss these, and other pressing industry issues, with our Save Future Travel Coalition partners," he added.

"We're also engaging with partners in the wider industry, including the aviation sector, through the Future Aviation Group, which is an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that ABTA helped bring together last year."

Tanzer used the blog to again call for tailored financial support for the industry. 

By Steve Jones, Contributing Editor (UK)

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