The UK Parliament has launched the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Business Travel, raising the profile of the sector within the government.
Our very own CEO, Suzanne Horner, spoke to MPs during the inaugural session to spot a spotlight on the plight currently facing the billion pound industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group is made up of MPs from across the political spectrum with an interest in business travel and is chaired by Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon and former parliamentary under secretary of state for transport.
During the APPG’s first meeting on Tuesday, MPs heard from industry speakers such as Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA); our very own Suzanne Horner, CEO of Gray Dawes Group and chair of the BTA; Drew Crawley, CCO of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT); and Thomas Haagensen, group markets director of Easyjet.
The group has been formed as the business travel sector continues to struggle under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions hampering companies’ plans to return to international business trips. According to the BTA, the sector contributes more than £220 billion to UK GDP every year, but with demand remaining low around 10,000 jobs are at risk.
Speaking at the meeting, Wratten re-iterated the BTA’s call for urgent government support for business travel as the “lifeblood of the economy”. The BTA has proposed a ‘parachute package’ of measures, including an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the temporary suspension of Air Passenger Duty, business rates relief and the development and approval of traveller testing to replace the current quarantine rules.
Meanwhile, Crawley re-iterated GBT chief executive Paul Abbott’s recent letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps and chancellor Rishi Sunak in which he proposed exempting business travellers from quarantine measures. “We believe that bilaterally agreed quarantine exemptions for business travel, booked through a TMC, is a very viable proposition,” Crawley said.
Hammond commented: “I look forward to making the case for business travel and making some quick submissions to government to help the industry, as well as formulating longer-term policy ideas with the APPG.”
A version of this article by Molly Dyson also appears on the BTN Europe website.
SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP SAVE TRAVEL
Extend furlough beyond October for the travel industry.
Show your support for the UK’s ravel Industry by signing a Parliamentary Petition to consider extending the furlough scheme for those industries still being affected. The travel industry for example is still directly affected by decisions the government is making in regard to travel restrictions and quarantine which is preventing us from trading properly.
Whilst many industries are now able to trade either fully or partially, the travel industry is being disproportionately affected by travel restrictions and quarantines being imposed by the government. Many people have spent their lives working in the industry and once all this is over, those skilled employees will be once again required to plan and take the nation on holiday. Whilst restrictions remain in place, imposed by the government we cannot trade fully or make a recovery.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.
You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. With common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers can have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be back business as (un)usual.