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Published on Monday, August 24, 2020

90,000 UK jobs lost or at risk in outbound travel industry

ABTA says 39,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk across the UK outbound travel sector since the Covid-19 crisis started, with the number rising to a staggering 90,000 when supply chains are taken into account.

Centre for Economics and Business Research statistics show that for every job in outbound travel, there are 1.39 jobs in the wider related industries. This equates to a total number of affected jobs of 93,210.

ABTA says the UK travel industry jobs situation is now 'critical' and, if a second wave forced a further shutdown, 96% of travel businesses report it would have a critical or serious impact on their ability to survive.  

Research among members reveals 18% of jobs in outbound travel have been lost or placed at risk and the situation is set to worsen with over 78% of businesses yet to enter redundancy conversations expecting to do so in coming months, based on current trading conditions.

Nine in 10 businesses have used the furlough scheme, but 65% have now either made redundancies or have started a consultation process.

Despite this, there is optimism that the travel industry can recover, if offered the right support by government, with four in ten businesses confident travel can return to 2019 levels by 2022.

ABTA has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, under its Save Future Travel initiative, to demand tailored help for the outbound industry.

ABTA wants to government to adopt a regionalised approach to quarantine rules otherwise it is 'difficult to see how the UK can reopen travel to critical trade partners, including the US, in the foreseeable future'.

It also wants an Air Passenger Duty (APD) 'holiday' covering summer 2021 to incentivise bookings from December.

If the Government does not act with tailored support for travel, as it has for other sectors, 83% of firms estimate that it will have a critical or serious impact on their business.

ABTA is also asking for a testing regime to enable travel to resume to major global trading partners and mitigate the risk of infection from high-risk countries; more recovery grants and other business support as well as ongoing salary support until March 2021.

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said: "With the government's stop-start measures, the restart of travel has not gone as hoped for the industry, and sadly businesses continue to be adversely affected and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate.

"Coming towards the end of the traditional period for peak booking, we have hit a critical point as existing government measures to support businesses begin to taper off, the consequence of which, according to this survey of ABTA members will be ruinous for more people's livelihoods.

"Travel desperately needs the government in its next review to provide tailored support or tens of thousands more jobs will be lost. We have already seen well-known and respected businesses that would normally be successful falling into administration, and more are sadly set to follow unless the government can Save Future Travel."

By Lisa James, Deputy Editor (UK)


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