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ABTA calls for UK travel and tourism industry support plan

ABTA – The Travel Association, has called on the UK government to consider extraordinary support measures for businesses operating in the UK’s travel and tourism sector, in the wake of the coronavirus.

The call comes as the new UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, prepares to deliver a budget 11 March amidst growing demands to support the economy.

Following a meeting with the Tourism Minister the previous week, ABTA conducted a survey among its members to ask them about business impacts if the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen.

In its letter to the Prime Minister, ABTA has called for the government to consider steps to protect healthy businesses that may suffer financial distress. These measures could include bridging loans, a relief to business rates, VAT and PAYE deadline extensions and reliefs and a six-month ‘holiday’ from Air Passenger Duty.

As the situation has developed, ABTA members have received an increasing number of questions from concerned customers about their travel plans, and 88% said that they are receiving enquiries from consumers that are due to travel to areas that are not even affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

ABTA says it is conducting a high level of media and communications activity to provide perspective, give accurate information and guidance to the travelling public. ABTA has also been running a proactive paid for Facebook campaign to target people looking to travel with its latest advice. So far this has resulted in over 850,000 impressions and will continue to engage with travellers over the coming weeks.