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Travel firms urge consumers to ignore government travel advice

Written by: Emma Lunn
A group of more than 120 UK travel companies are calling on the government to allow overseas holidays to restart on 1 May.

The group, called Save Our Summer, is encouraging holidaymakers to ignore ministers’ advice not to book a summer holiday.

Many travel agents and tour operators haven’t been able to operate or generate income since the start of the pandemic last March, due to government advising against travel to the majority of destinations, or in the case of school trips and ocean cruises, directives from the government to cease all operations.

Save Our Summer argues that vulnerable groups in the UK should have been vaccinated twice by mid-May, leading to reduced Covid pressure on the NHS.

Members of Save Our Summer include Trailfinders, Teletext Holidays, easyJet Holidays, Travelopia and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The group guarantees that anyone booking through them will be entitled to either a refund or a change of date if travel is cancelled or not possible due to government Covid-19 restrictions.

Paul Charles, chief executive of The PC Agency and co-founder of Save Our Summer, said: “Give us all a break, Boris. The industry is united in outrage.

“Senior government ministers have done a good job of torpedoing recovery in the travel sector and threatening jobs across travel and tourism.

“UK citizens should ignore their conflicting advice and book summer trips with confidence, knowing that they can get a refund or refix their travel dates if booking through a reputable travel provider signed up to SOS.”

The call comes as new hotel quarantine measures come into effect today. It is also the start of half term – traditionally one of the busiest weeks for winter holidays.

Another travel group, the Save Future Travel Coalition, has said the Boris Johnson needs to use next week’s lockdown update on 22 February to provide a route forward for the travel industry.

Despite the government’s effective shut down of all overseas travel, there hasn’t been any tailored financial support offered to travel companies. Other industries which have been required to close, such as hospitality and the arts, have received direct support.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “In a week’s time, the prime minister is due to update the nation on a route out of lockdown. That must include a way forward for the travel industry to ensure that people are able to take an overseas holiday this summer.

“We completely understand the need for the government to bring in temporary restrictions, like the additional measures around quarantine being brought in today, but we also need a route out of this crisis and some tailored financial support to help businesses get through what will be very difficult months ahead for the sector.”

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