Today, I met with local travel agents during the Travel Day of Action protest outside Parliament. Hundreds of pilots, cabin crew and travel agents protested the Government’s consistent failure to provide sector specific funding to an industry that has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic.
It has been estimated that around 307,000 travel jobs have been lost during the pandemic, and those who remain are battling confusion and uncertainty from the Government’s unworkable Traffic Light System. Travel agents told me that they don’t get paid unless their clients go on the holiday, so the Government’s last minute and rushed decision to put Portugal on the amber list was devastating.
Crucially, the current muddled system has been ineffective in allowing the Delta variant into the country which has set back the brilliant work our NHS has done on vaccinations. Whilst restrictions to travel are needed, there must be a better package of tailored financial support to help hard hit businesses through this crisis together with improvements to the current PCR testing which is too expensive and often too slow. Following my meeting today, I have also written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and you can read my letter here.