Just 15 per cent of people took a foreign holiday between February and July
ABTA has called on the government to provide urgent support for the travel industry in a bid to help boost consumer confidence.
The association made the call at its annual conference, The Travel Convention, which this year was held virtually as a one-day event.
In statistics released during the event, ABTA revealed that just 15 per cent of people took a foreign holiday between February and July 2020, compared to 51 per cent over the previous 12-month period. The year before it was 64 per cent.
More than half (53 per cent) of people said they took fewer overseas holidays this past year compared to the previous year, with 87 per cent of those saying they took fewer holidays because of coronavirus.
However, while coronavirus was the reason people did not travel, the government’s restrictions and last-minute changes concerned 93 per cent of people, rather than the virus itself. 80 per cent said they were concerned about having to quarantine when they returned.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive said: “There is no doubt that people’s confidence and trust in the industry has taken a huge hit – and we must work hard to earn that trust back. Not only is that by being creative and flexible in terms of the holiday and customer experience we offer, but also by making sustainability a fundamental principle of travel.”
ABTA also said that while government support has given breathing space to travel companies, without tailored support it would be a hard winter for many. The association also criticised the Job Support Scheme, which had been due to replace the furlough scheme in November.
Highlighting the sector as a powerful force for good, new research from CEBR shows that the aggregate global GVA (gross value added) of UK outbound tourism is estimated at $81.4 billion and supports 2.7 million jobs, while in the UK it generates £37 billion (1.8 per cent of GDP) in aggregate economic impact and 526,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
The CEBR also identified the sustainability challenges faced by the industry, including the need to accelerate decarbonisation and to ensure that tourism generates greater benefits for destinations and local communities. The report sets out a roadmap for how ABTA can help guide its members, partners and the wider travel industry through nine core principles.
Tanzer added: “We have to look at the whole spectrum of sustainability issues and ask ourselves – how can we do more? Out of every crisis is opportunity – for the travel industry – our opportunity is embracing sustainability. We have a duty to come back stronger and more responsible to ensure our future survival.
“We also need to make sure the UK government understands the huge value of the sector and takes urgent action to support it – not just in the immediate future so we aren’t counting the costs of coronavirus for decades to come, but also with long-term policies that will help the industry to rebuild in a greener way.”
ABTA’s webinars provide practical guidance, support and advice for travel businesses during this crucial time. The webinars are free for members and partners and can be watched live or on demand. Find out more at abta.com/abtaevents
Upcoming webinar: Covid-19 Business Resilience and Support, November 18, 2020
This 90-minute webinar will provide an update on the Covid-19 business support available for travel companies with a particular focus on employment and workforce issues including the extension of the Job Retention Scheme. Get practical guidance on how to access government employment support schemes plus a recap on the financial business support that is available and how to access it. Register here
Tourism’s unexpected standstill has given us a unique opportunity to reflect
ABTA has published a report designed to lay out how the travel industry must rebuild a responsible and resilient sector post-pandemic.
The report, entitled Tourism for Good – A Roadmap for Rebuilding Travel and Tourism includes a framework for collaborative action with tourism that benefits all of those involved.
New figures reveal that 52 per cent of people believe that the travel industry should open in a ‘greener’ way, with consumers increasingly interested in how their holiday benefits the people and places that they visit. About half (49 per cent) of people say that sustainability credentials are important, or essential, when booking a holiday. In 2011 it was just 20 per cent.
Clare Jenkinson, head of sustainability at ABTA, said: “Building on ABTA’s longstanding work on sustainability, the Tourism for Good report is designed to act as a strategic framework to guide our activities as the industry reopens and evolves. The core principles include, for example, the need for tourism to be sustainable and resilient against future shocks, for policies and actions to be designed in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the urgent need to accelerate decarbonisation. We commit to measuring the progress that is being made and identifying the areas where more work needs to be done.”
The report centres on the belief that tourism is a force for good – both for holidaymakers and destinations alike. However, there are issues that need to be resolved, including the need to further decarbonise and to ensure that more money stays in a destination and supports local communities.
The UK holiday market is also a major contributor to world and UK GDP. While in the UK, the industry supports 526,000 full time jobs and generates £37 billion in economic impact, for certain destinations – The Maldives, Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, Greece, Spain and Portugal – which rely heavily on tourism already, UK holidaymakers alone make a contribution of more than 1 per cent of national GDP
In order to accurately track the progress being made, ABTA has launched a sustainability indicator survey for its members to complete which will establish a baseline of how the travel and tourism industry is currently embracing sustainability. The findings will be used to identify the areas where progress is being made and the areas that require more focus.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, added: “Tourism’s unexpected standstill has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on the type of industry we want to rebuild, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good. I believe the future prosperity of the industry depends on putting sustainability at the heart of our recovery. This report therefore underlines ABTA’s commitment to working with our members, the wider travel industry, and the UK government to create a more sustainable industry that allows everyone a share in its success.”
The full report is available online at abta.com/tourismforgood