rishi

Rishi Sunak’s financial help scheme may not help travel industry: AITO

Disapproving the latest financial help scheme to help the travel industry get back on its feet, AITO chairman has claimed that the UK PLC has given the public no confidence and several members have carried just 5% of their normal client numbers this year, with little to no peak season business.  

At the same time, they have been faced with blanket refunds clearing out their bank accounts while having to struggle to keep staff on, unfurloughed, to be able to handle the huge number of enquiries and refunds in a responsible manner. The government has encouraged to take loans but has given n way of earning to pay back. Government is guaranteeing that huge numbers of travel industry people will be on the dole, needing massive Government support, as a direct result of its policy to ignore the travel industry’s pleas for financial help.

AITO chairman Chris Rowles said: “The plight of the aviation industry is often mentioned, but tour operators and travel agents seem to have been forgotten, despite the best efforts of the travel trade associations, including AITO. European countries have offered the travel industry – airlines, tour operators and travel agents alike - a decent level of government support during the pandemic; just look at the massive €3 billion handed out to industry giant TUI by the German government.

“But the UK Government policy has destroyed our businesses, making it impossible for us to trade. UK PLC has closed a virtual door in our faces by setting up quarantine rules at short notice while failing to take the simple, common sense step of enforcing testing at airports, despite many requests by airport authorities.”  

“Ordinary people will be denied the option of a good-value, financially-protected annual holiday put together by our specialist tour operator members and travel agents because we will all have been pushed out of business by government inaction and lack of consultation with us.

“We are still waiting for Refund Credit Notes post September 30 to be endorsed as having financial protection by the CAA, after the fiasco of earlier in the year when it took government two months to take such a simple but essential step, despite such Refund Credit Note protection already being enshrined in the ATOL rule book.  This simply creates still more lack of public confidence to book holidays.

“Rishi Sunak – talk to us!  Come and meet AITO, ABTA and the huge number of travel organisations who need your ear right now.  The Transport Minister, Grant Shapps, has ignored us throughout, as have the BEIS Ministers, Alok Sharma and Kwasi Kwarteng.  There is no joined-up thinking between the DfT, BEIS, the CAA and the FCO.

“We need the Exchequer’s ear and your understanding, and we need action and financial aid for the travel industry immediately.”

Image credit: Number 10/Flickr


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