ABTA warns 90,000 jobs at risk across troubled travel sector

Travel association ABTA estimates over 90,000 jobs could be at risk across the industry and its related supply chains as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions put in place to control its spread.

A survey of its members by ABTA found that 39,000 jobs have already been lost or placed at risk across the outbound travel sector since the crisis started, and when supply chains are also considered this number amounts to over 90,000 people affected. It warns that the situation is set to worsen with 78% of businesses yet to enter redundancy conversations expecting to do so in coming months based on current trading conditions

ABTA has urged the government to step up its support for the sector with a package of measures to support businesses and employees. It says the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a significant help for businesses in the travel industry, with nine in ten businesses taking part in the scheme to support staff. However, 65% of businesses have either had to make 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.

Among the measures ABTA recommends are a regionalised approach to quarantine and Foreign Office policy, increased testing for travellers from high-risk countries, and a break from Air Passenger Duty to cover the summer 2021 period. It is also calling for recovery grants for travel agents and others, as well as targeted salary support after the end of the furlough scheme through until March 2021.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s Chief Executive, says: “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.”

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