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Published on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Save Our Summer is inviting criticism, senior figures warn

The setting of a deadline by which travel should resume is inviting criticism and could be regarded as 'over-indulgent', senior industry figures have warned.

A new lobby group, Save Our Summer, is demanding travel re-start on 1 May as part of a wider plea for the Government to provide industry support.

Save Our Summer, which now has more than 600 business signatories, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson setting out the need for a Government roadmap.

"By 15th May 15 million of the UK's most vulnerable citizens will be fully vaccinated," the organisation says in its letter. "This group accounts for 88% of all deaths and 55% of all hospitalisations.

"In addition, all over 50s will have had at least one vaccination. We therefore ask that on 22nd February, the Prime Minister sets out a specific roadmap for the travel and aviation industries to resume operations responsibly from 1st May."

But writing on Twitter, Kuoni UK Managing Director Derek Jones warned that calls for such a specific timeframe could backfire.

"The #SaveOurSummer campaign is well intentioned but by setting a deadline to restart travel (summer) it inevitably invites criticism," Mr Jones wrote. "Calling for a roadmap to restart travel is fine but only when it's safe to do so.

"We all hope that's before summer but we can't will it to be so."

TourHound Managing Director Laurence Hicks also warned that such an approach by Save Our Summer may be misjudged.

"At the risk of being controversial we are in danger of becoming a bit over indulgent," he wrote. "We can make demands on the gov for a roadmap for travel but the fact is that travelling is a global issue with border opening globally being the key not just a UK gov roadmap!"

Travel Consultant Gillian Farr added: "A fixed date will just lead to more heartbreak if it's not achieved. I'd settle for a roadmap based on level of vaccination and a commitment to not enforce quarantine with little or no notice. That's what's putting folk off booking right now."

Another Twitter user working in the industry also distanced herself from the campaign.

"I'm glad to see I'm not the only one in the industry feeling uncomfortable with the arbitrary date proposal. Some of the tone of messaging around the campaign has made me feel uncomfortable tbh."

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