As a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak worldwide, the UK travel industry is challenged by an unprecedented crisis, travel businesses are currently in a massive battle to survive and save jobs. Travel agents and tour operators are also facing a huge drop in bookings and many thousands of their customers are hugely affected.
ABTA – The Travel Association, is calling for urgent support from the Government to take immediate action to prevent the collapse of UK travel companies that will result in tens of thousands of job losses, add significant delays to customer refunds and lead to long-term damage to the UK holiday market. Without this support, the Association believes that perfectly viable UK travel businesses are at risk of going bankrupt. Advice from Government and ABTA, our trade body, have been changing daily.
In the light of the uniqueness and unprecedented scale of the coronavirus pandemic, ABTA is urging for temporary changes to the UK Package Travel Regulations at European and UK government level, with immediate effect. The existing financial protection structures and regulations were not designed to cope with a large-scale collapse of businesses.
Given the current situation, it is perfectly understandable that many of you will have concerns at this time. We appreciate this. Rest assured that we will not operate any pilgrimage when it is regarded unsafe or not in your interest for us to do so as advised by the Government. It is increasingly likely that a number of our pilgrimages over the next few weeks will have to be cancelled. The extent of these cancellations may not be fully known for some time as the Government continue to move the goal posts in a bid to contain the virus. We would be extremely grateful if, for the time being, you could refrain from contacting us in relation to the cancellation of pilgrimages. This will free up our team to deal with customers due to travel imminently. Please bear with us and be patient - there are only a few of us.
Your safety, security and indeed enjoyment have always been our principal priorities. We appreciate that there may become frustration amongst our customers regarding the lack of concrete answers from us, we are not of course reluctant to give it, it is just that there are so many things we simply do not know ourselves at this stage.
We assure that over the coming days and weeks we will communicate with everybody whose trips are affected in as timely way as possible and advise you of the options open to you.