WARWICKSHIRE tourism boss Helen Peters is backing the Travel Day of Action lobbying for a safe restart of international travel in time for the peak summer period.
The Shakespeare’s England CEO will be attending a socially-distanced photocall at Birmingham Airport today (Wednesday), outside the terminal building with representatives from the travel sector across Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Helen has also written to three South Warwickshire MPs – Stratford’s Nadhim Zahawi, Warwick and Leamington’s Matt Western, and Kenilworth and Southam’s Jeremy Wright – calling for their support.
She said: “I will be joining employees and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries – airlines, airports, tour operators, travel agents, suppliers and partners – who are coming together to raise awareness of the challenges facing the travel industry, and to ask the UK Government reinstate a risk-managed approach around a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period and to think again about financial support offered to the sector.
“The UK has all but lost the 2021 inbound tourism summer market – through lack of clarity regarding countries on green list, the cost and frequency of testing and no recognition of vaccinated visitors. Our reputation for being open and welcoming is being damaged.
“This all has a knock-on effect for south Warwickshire and the surrounding areas. Domestic visitors spend just a third of that of international tourists.
“Having had little summer business and furlough ending at the end of September, the inbound tourism industry faces an autumn cliff edge and a bleak winter.”
A Twitterstorm is planned at 2pm today and everyone is welcome to join in using the hashtags #speakupfortravel #traveldayofaction #SaveInboundTourism.
Before the pandemic hit the travel industry in the West Midlands region welcomed 134m visitors each year, contributing £13billion economic value, and supporting 137,000 FTEs. The transport sector, fundamental to the viability to the overall sector itself, supported more than 8,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and contributed over £1.5billion to the local economy, according to Becky Frall, head of Visitor Attraction at West Midlands Growth Company.
The day of action is also calling for the government to bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support for the travel sector.
Other organised events will take place in London, Edinburgh and Belfast.
The Travel Day of Action is planned ahead of the next review of the traffic light system for overseas travel on June 28.