Industry leaders criticise Tourism Recovery Plan

The Save Future Travel Coalition has written to the government to express its disappointment in the Tourism Recovery Plan and reiterated calls for key actions to support the outbound sector.

In a letter to Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, signed by 16 senior representatives industry-wide, the coalition said the plan published last month lacked tangible policies.

The coalition also said it was concerned by the government’s statement in the plan to “embrace” the current restrictions on overseas travel as an “opportunity” by “boosting domestic demand”.

It highlighted the outbound tourism sector was worth more than £37 billion, supporting more than half a million jobs in normal times across the UK.

In the letter, the coalition reiterated the key action points needed to support the industry and help the UK’s overall economic recovery from Covid-19.

These call for the establishment of a proposed inter-ministerial group for tourism, with a broader remit so it can ensure the views of the travel industry are heard by ministers across government, and for permanent structures to be set up to ensure a coordinated approach to travel and tourism between the four nations of the UK.

The coalition also asks the secretary of state for DCMS to make representations to HM Treasury for travel and tourism businesses to be a priority case for funding, and that financial support is not taken away while government-imposed constraints on trading remain in place.

It further urges government to include fully vaccinated overseas visitors in the changes to quarantine rules; make the case for borders to be resourced fully to ensure they can handle increased passenger numbers without significant disruption; and to make coronavirus tests for travel more affordable and proportionate in their use.

Emma Wade, public affairs manager for Abta, a coalition partner, said: “The Tourism Recovery Plan lacks many policies the industry is so desperate to see.

“We urge the secretary of state and his colleagues to engage with businesses and organisations across the travel and tourism industry to rectify that oversight, and to ensure that the plan continues to evolve in the coming weeks and months.”

The Save Future Travel Coalition is made up of 16 leading travel bodies and campaign organisations which together represent the vast majority of outbound and inbound organised travel to the UK.

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