LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s travel sector is bracing for a new wave of job cuts, with an industry trade body saying that more than two thirds of its members were planning to make redundancies shortly due to the government’s restrictive holiday rules.
Airlines and travel companies have slammed Britain’s travel rules as overly expensive and complicated, and blame them for a second lost summer of holiday trade in 2021.
Travel industry body ABTA, which represents 4,300 travel brands, said that new bookings were 83% lower in summer 2021 compared to their pre-pandemic levels, and as a result most of its members were planning more job cuts at the end of this month when a furlough scheme ends.
“The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk,” ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said in a statement.
Estimated new redundancies will bring the total number of jobs lost during COVID-19 to nearly 100,000 in the outbound travel sector, said ABTA, a figure which rises to 226,000 once the impact on the supply chain is included.
ABTA echoed calls from airlines and airports for the government to scrap the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK to take expensive PCR tests.
It also said that the government should provide tailored financial support to the travel industry which continues to suffer financial hardship while the domestic economy has been able to recover.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton)