The leading UK travel industry trade body has warned that further job losses are inevitable unless the sector receives greater government support.

The call follows the announcement that STA Travel had stopped trading on 21 August, a move that has placed 500 jobs in peril.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta), some 39,000 job losses have already occurred in the UK travel and tourismindustry due to COVID-19. Many more are predicted once the government’s furlough scheme expires at the end of October.

UK Travel Industry Criticises Government

Mark Tanzer, the CEO of Abta, has questioned the UK government’s layered approach.

“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,” he told The Guardian newspaper.

“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.”

An estimated 65% of UK travel companies have either made redundancies or have started a consultation process.

In August, Hays Travel announced it would cut some 900 jobs. In July Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator, said it would close 166 stores in Ireland and the UK, affecting a further 900 jobs.

A Blunt Instrument

John Hays, owner of Hays Travel, has called the government’s nationwide bans on travel to countries, “blunt instrument”.

Abta is also requesting the government introduces regionalised quarantines, as is the case with Germany.

In recent weeks the UK Government has removed several countries from its safe travel corridor list, including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia, a move that has led to thousands of UK holidaymakers rushing to get back home to beat the 14-day quarantine period.

Abta has asked the chancellor Rishi Sunak, for greater support for the UK travel industry, including a suspension of Air Passenger Duty.

“Travel desperately needs the government in its next review to provide tailored support or tens of thousands more jobs will be lost,” said Mr Tanzer.

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