Green Light For Business Travel
Now we need a furlough extension, says BTA chief executive Clive Wratten
At last the government has lifted its blanket travel quarantine.
It is a welcome relief to the business travel sector, which remains in danger of losing one in two jobs in the coming months, and to businesses which have been deeply frustrated as they were unable to travel, trade and start to rebuild their balance sheets.
The new solution of ‘traffic lighting’ destinations will help get business travel underway once more and allow millions of Britons a summer break.
Aviation Industry Hails 'Turning Point' As Quarantine Scrapped For 60 Countries
People from England will be able to go to more than 50 countries from 10 July without having to quarantine on return, the government has announced.
The full list of countries will be published later today but ministers have already named France, Germany, Spain and Italy among those exempted from the blanket restrictions.
The announcement met with relief from the travel sector, which has repeatedly warned the government that the quarantine rules risked causing huge economic damage to an already battered sector.
BTA Welcomes Traffic Light System
The Business Travel Association has welcomed the Government’s plans to replace the blanket quarantine and travel ban with a more targeted 'traffic light' system.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Monday that the FCO is reviewing its blanket ban on non-essential travel and said details would follow later this week.
Instead, there will be a traffic light system in place with countries classified as green, amber or red based on the prevalence of coronavirus. Only arrivals from countries in the red category would need to quarantine for 14 days
Travel Industry Hopes Air Bridges Are A Ticket To Survival
Ryanair calls government plan to allow travel to some countries this summer "more idiotic rubbish" and wants quarantine scrapped entirely.
From the beaches of Malaga to faraway Greek islands and retreats in the South of France, hopes are rising that holidays and business trips to Europe could be back this summer and revive the travel industry in the process.
The anticipated introduction of "air bridges" - or "travel corridors" as the Government prefers to call them - will enable trips to destinations including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany without the need to quarantine for 14 days on their return.
UK Opts Out Of EU Travel Data-Sharing Scheme
The UK has allegedly opted out of a new EU data-sharing scheme designed to reboot tourism across the continent, eliciting a fresh round of criticism from travel companies.
The scheme, called Re-open EU, sees member states share real-time information on border restrictions and available means of transport and tourism services, as well as public health and safety measures such as physical distancing or wearing of facemasks. According to the European Commission, the website and app where travellers can find the information have been developed to allow them to make “responsible and well-informed decisions on how to manage continuing risks related to coronavirus while planning their holidays and travels”.
Exclusive: Half Of Business Travel Jobs At Risk, Says BTA Boss
The boss of Britain’s corporate travel industry body has warned that one in every two jobs in the sector is at risk due to the government’s blanket quarantine plans for all incoming travellers, City A.M. can reveal.
Speaking at the Business Travel Association’s (BTA) annual conference, which was held virtually, Clive Wratten said: “Our government is not listening carefully enough to the grave challenges our sector is facing. They need to wake-up quickly”.
BTA Members Report Pent-Up Demand
“With every day that the Government keeps its 14-day quarantine in place, more and more travel industry jobs are being placed at risk. Ministers need to bear carefully in mind that business travel contributes £600m a day to the UK economy.
In his latest column for The Business Travel Magazine, Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, says he's frustrated the quarantine on UK arrivals is holding back business travel recovery, especially with recent research showing there is pent-up demand. But, on the plus side, he is encouraged by recent talks with Number 10 and by airlines restarting flights.
New Credit Restrictions for Corp Travel Agencies Will Bring Heavier Financial Burdens
The business travel rebound could place undue pressure on corporate travel agency finances, the CEO of a travel management company has warned, and even lead to some going under.
A return to pre-coronavirus levels of bookings should be welcome news after months of corporate travel freezes, but Gray Dawes Group boss Suzanne Horner said some suppliers have stopped offering credit to agencies after their cover was withdrawn by nervous trade credit insurers.
As a result, some of the smaller agencies that previously relied on credit from suppliers will need to fund hotel bookings themselves, or change terms with clients and request payment upfront.
Get Us Out Of UK Travel Quarantine Madness By Doing THIS Now, Says Clive Wratten
WE UNDERSTAND that the decision to impose quarantine was not taken lightly. It is wholly correct that it should be applied to business and leisure travellers coming from countries with a high R (replication) rate. Today that would include Russia, India and Brazil.
However, across our European neighbours the R (replication) rate is far lower than in our own country. Equally, many of those in the EU, such as Italy, Germany and Austria, are now removing their barriers to entry. Yet, the Foreign Office is still suggesting we should not travel to these countries unless it is essential. Such advice seems inconsistent in light of the science. It makes no sense.
BTA Travel Corridors Press Coverage
From the moment quarantine measures were announced, the BTA has been at the forefront of industry criticism
of the sanction. Whilst campaigning through briefings with MPs/Special Advisers, the media and online for these
not to come into force, we have also been looking for alternatives.
This week, Pembroke and Rye created a new dialogue for the BTA to use in conversation with Government, moving it from one of outrage to offering a solution: testing on arrival at UK ports.
Working with partners to ensure feasibility, Pembroke and Rye devised a campaign which included:
- Identifying partners and creating a pilot scheme to end quarantine
- Writing a letter for the BTA to send to Priti Patel, MP and Grant Shapps, MP to explain the solution and its
- benefits to the economy
- Securing an exclusive with the Daily Telegraph (print and online) revealing the benefits of the solution vs current quarantine measures.
- Placing the story with a wider range of media including: CityAM, Evening Standard, Skift and travel industry titles.
- Amplification on social media
Bosses To Avoid Quarantine Under 'Business Travel Corridors’ Plan
Business Travellers Association submit proposal that would allow for corporate commutes to Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam
Bosses could avoid Boris Johnson’s controversial quarantine under radical proposals to create “business travel corridors” with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Corporate travel agents have hatched a plan they hope to have in place within a week allowing business leaders to jet off to meetings and sidestep the new rules.
Executives arriving from the three cities would take an “on the spot” PCR coronavirus test under proposals spearheaded by the Business Travel Association.
Backed by the likes of American Express Global Business Travel and Reed & Mackay, major operators say “a blanket quarantine that blocks important international business journeys makes no sense”.
Agents To Lobby MPs Over Quarantine and Blanket Travel Ban
Agents are being urged to lobby their MPS over the 'damaging' quarantine and existing blanket travel ban.
Travel Counsellors has provided its business owners with a letter to send to their local MP requesting a withdrawal of mandatory 14-day quarantine periods on UK arrivals.
Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed yesterday that the Government will insist that almost everyone entering the UK from June 8 goes into self-isolation for a period of 14 days, with the risk of £1,000 fines and prosecution if they break the quarantine.
But she said in the longer term the Government is looking to establish 'international travel corridors' to allow travel without quarantine from countries deemed to be safe.
Business Travel To Kickstart The Travel Market
In a joint press release issued by both organisations, Chairman of the TRIP Group and travel risk expert Lloyd Figgins explained that he believes risk management is the key to getting business travel safely underway once again. “Rather than looking at the situation from a commercial perspective, what’s actually required is a risk management approach to getting people travelling again and that’s where the business travel industry comes into play,” he said. “Any return to international travel needs to be staged and thoroughly risk assessed in order that travellers and the public, both at home and abroad, can be best protected.
“Business travellers offer the opportunity to not only be the pioneers for a return to mainstream travel, but also to help restart the international economy. They and their employers are in a unique position and this could be used to help regenerate the industry.”
Air Bridges Likely As ‘Draconian’ Quarantine Measures To Be Watered Down
Controversial government quarantine plans are set to be watered down by the end of the month with the introduction of air bridges with low virus countries.
A rethink is expected in the face of growing travel industry and political opposition against the imposition of a blanket 14-day isolation on all arrivals in the UK from June 8.
The measures are now expected to be eased three weeks later as part of a planned review amid warnings that a hard line quarantine approach would devastate the travel and tourism sector already struggling with the impact of Covid-19.
Furloughed Staff Permitted To Work Part-Time From July
The chancellor has confirmed that furloughed staff are permitted to work part-time from July and that the scheme will be closed by the end of October.
Rishi Sunak also announced that the government’s contributions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be gradually reduced in today’s daily coronavirus briefing.
The Treasury will continue to fund 80% of furloughed employees salaries up to the end of August, up to £2,500 a year. However, from August, employers will be asked to cover employees’ national insurance and pension costs, which Sunak said typically equates to 5% of overall costs.
Travel Bodies In Talks To Create Lobbying Alliance
A group of travel industry organisations plans to create an alliance to work together on key issues impacting the trade.
Advantage Travel Partnership, The Specialist Travel Association (Aito), the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, Iata and the Business Travel Association have had an initial video conference call to discuss how they can collaborate on issues currently affecting the industry as a result of Covid-19.
A spokesman for the group said: “We have had one conversation so far about how we, as stakeholders, can work together.
“Travel is always seen as segmented. If we are going to talk to government, for example, we can say we represent a variety of stakeholders and this is our view.”
Industry Reacts To UK Quarantine Measures
The travel and hospitality industry has lashed out at the UK government’s decision to implement a 14-day quarantine period for international travellers, saying the measure will cause sever economic harm and slow the industry’s recovery as Europe prepares to enter the peak summer season.
The rule, which will come into force on 8 June, requires all incoming international travellers to fill in an online form before they travel to provide the government with their journey and contact details, including the address where they will carry out their self-isolation period. During those 14 days, travellers will not be allowed to leave their accommodation except for emergencies and Border Force agents will carry out spot checks. Anyone found breaching their quarantine faces a £1,000 fixed penalty notice or potential prosecution and an unlimited fine.
Travellers To Face 14 Day Quarantine Measures To Prevent Second Wave Of Coronavirus
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced plans to quarantine international travellers for 14 days as she leads the daily government Covid-19 briefing.
The plans mean people arriving in the UK from June 8 with have to self-isolate for 14 days, although certain workers will be exempt.
People face spot checks and £1,000 fines for failing to self-isolate for 14 days under the measures aimed at guarding against a second wave of coronavirus in the UK.
Ms Patel is expected to announce exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials will apply, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected.
Arrivals from France will not be exempt, officials have already confirmed, following confusion earlier this week.
Travel Industry Reacts To UK Furlough Scheme Extension
The UK government has announced that its coronavirus job retention scheme, which pays some of the wages of employees on furlough due to the pandemic, will be extended until October 2020. The news has been welcomed across the travel industry, with many saying it will be a “lifeline” for companies.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the four-month extension of the scheme today after several industries called for more support over the summer due to the expected slow recovery in many sectors. There are currently 7.5 million people currently being paid 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month before tax through the scheme.
However, Sunak said employers will be asked to “start sharing” the cost of the scheme from August by bringing furloughed staff back on a part-time basis.
Why The UK’s New 14-Day Quarantine Rule Is Particularly Troubling to Business Travel Managers
The UK on Sunday became one of the latest countries to announce quarantine measures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson issuing airlines an advance warning of a 14-day period for most people arriving from abroad.
“What we will be asking people to do on entering the UK is supply their contact details and details of their accommodation, and to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days, other than those on a short list of exemptions,” the government said in further details released on Monday.
Experts have warned it sounds the death knell for corporate travel in the short term, affecting suppliers not just in the UK but other countries as well.
Quarantine ‘A Non-Starter’ For Corporate Travel
A 14-day quarantine of arrivals is “a non-starter” if travel is to resume, the UK Business Travel Association (BTA) has told the government
The BTA also urged the dropping of Foreign Office advice against “all but essential travel” in a five-point plan to restart the industry.
The association outlined the plan in a letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Alok Sharma.
BTA chief executive Clive Wratten told the secretaries of state: “There is indefinite advice against “all but essential travel”. No one knows when travel can begin and consumers and businesses cannot be confident about future journeys.
BTA Calls On Government To Support Restart Of Business Travel
The Business Travel Association is calling on the UK government to support its five-step plan to allow businesses to begin travelling again, asking for actions on areas such as the timeframe to travel, international cooperation and clarity, protecting travellers, safe services and competitive pricing.
In letters to transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Alok Sharma, BTA chief executive Clive Wratten said the government needs to take action on crucial components in order for businesses to start planning trips to kickstart the UK’s economy.
The BTA, which represents the UK’s TMCs, outlined five steps to getting businesses back on the road
No Flights, No Problem: Investment Bankers Embrace WFH
Bankers planning a return to work are aiming to adopt the lessons of coronavirus to work more productively, cut costs and appeal to a broader workforce.
Investment bankers are rethinking their pre-coronavirus lifestyle of exhausting global travel, interrupted family time and all-nighters in the office as they plan an eventual return to the workplace.
Many bankers are finding they can do their jobs without the cost of frequent flying or time wasted in airports thanks to videoconferencing and other technology that has become ubiquitous during the lockdowns resulting from coronavirus pandemic.
Business Travel Will Still Matter In A Post-Pandemic World
The outcome of the Government’s review of lockdown this week may provide a glimpse of the steps necessary for economic recovery. Yet, the business community is fully aware that recovery will be a gradual process. There will be no magic panacea. Recovery requires long and careful planning and for many industries to work closely together.
I represent the business travel sector and believe it has its own critical role to play in our economic recovery. In a typical year it contributes £220 billion to UK GDP from the 6.5m business journeys it arranges. It is a lifeblood to airlines, train companies and accommodation providers, and an ‘invisible’ hand that helps turn our wheels of trade.
Comment: The Path To Recovery
We need stability to move forward, argues Clive Wratten, BTA chief executive
This week marks our seventh in lockdown. Since the lockdown started, companies across the business travel sector and more widely have been focused on the actions necessary to deal with the immediate consequences of the pandemic - from repatriations to refunds, short-term financial measures and, sadly, the need to furlough large numbers of employees.
BTA: 'BUSINESS TRAVEL HAS CRITICAL ROLE IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY'
The Business Travel Association (BTA) has unveiled a five-point plan to "reignite" the business travel sector, which it says has a "critical role to play" in the post-coronavirus economic recovery.
Its proposals call for vital action on issues ranging from travel timeframes, to international co-operation and clarity, traveller safety and competitive pricing to rebuild the sector’s £220 billion annual contribution to UK GDP.
Holiday Sales Unlikely To Return To 'Normal' Until 2021
Travel firms are not expecting business to return to “near normal” levels until the first half of 2021.
A survey of more than 200 delegates attending Elman Wall’s Covid-19 online seminar on Thursday (30 April) found that 46% thought trading would get back to pre-crisis levels in either the first or second quarter of 2021.
BTA Urges Airlines To Stick To Refund Rules
The Business Travel Association (BTA) is urging airlines to adhere to IATA regulations and offer cash refunds for corporate travellers when their flight is cancelled due to the coronavirus.
While most UK airline have continued offering refunds, the BTA said it has noted international carriers refusing to do so, even when flights have been cancelled as a result of government advice or action. The association said this is in contravention to IATA’s ruling 824r on refunds.
BTA Urges Airlines To Speed Up Refunds
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, calls for airlines to speed up refunds for corporate clients and urges one leading rail provider to drop its admin charges for TMCs and their customers. Here’s what he had to say:
“As we enter the fifth week of lockdown, our minds are focused not just on how we withstand this crisis, but how we recover from it.
Industry Concern As Trainline Persists With Refund Fee
Trainline is at the centre of a storm after charging its TMC customers administration fees for refunding unused tickets during the coronavirus outbreak.
While the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and its members - the UK’s train operating companies - are currently waiving the usual admin fee for refunds and changes, Trainline is still charging a fee, typically £10, to its TMC partners who are largely passing it on to their clients.
We Must Collaborate On Refunds
Failure to do so a zero-sum game, warns Clive Wratten, BTA chief executive
Many of us are entering our fifth week of working remotely and operating businesses in a new, virtual environment.
Like all segments of the industry, the business travel sector has been massively impacted by Covid-19. It was the first to feel the pain as business travel ground to a halt at the end of February.
Why It’s Time to Reboot the Corporate Travel Agency Business Model
Adopting a business model that went out of fashion 30 years ago might not seem like good advice, but this kind of recycling could actually safeguard the corporate travel agency’s future.
Traditionally, an agency charges its corporate client a transaction fee. Up until about a month ago, that worked perfectly. But today the crisis has caught agencies out as bookings dry up and the work switches to processing cancellations — requiring man-hours for which you can’t charge.
60% Of UK Event Suppliers Could Fold Within Three Months
Around 60% of suppliers to the UK's event industry are facing collapse within three months unless event businesses receive further support from the government. Of those businesses, 6% said they are unlikely to make it to the end of April.
That's according to an online survey carried out by the Events Industry Forum (EIF), Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) and Production Services Association (PSA) between 3-7 April.
Commercial Rent Relief ‘Urgently Needed’ Says HBAA
HBAA chair Lex Butler calls for the government to help commercial renters.
“With payments and commission being unacceptably withheld, Government funding delayed until June and loans payments slow, it looks as if, as I feared, that too many events industry businesses are in danger of not surviving this crisis,” said Butler.
ON THE SOAPBOX: Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA)
Clive joined BTA from Amber Road, the travel management provider, in August 2019 where he has been chief executive officer since 2015. Previously he was UK general manager Etihad Airways for eight years, bolstering his aviation experience which included roles with Qantas, Gulf Air and British Airways.
Events in the UK and across the globe in recent weeks are unlike ones any of us have witnessed before. The growing breadth and depth of the coronavirus pandemic will touch all of our lives - and our livelihoods too..
Global Airline Trade Group Deals Massive Blow to Travel Agencies by Opposing Refunds
This isn’t the news travel agencies were hoping for. The International Air Transport Association has just dealt a fresh blow saying it is now backing member airlines’ moves to issue vouchers, not refunds, to cash-strapped travel agencies.
“The message I have to deliver is not one that will provide comfort,” admitted Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the association, in an open letter sent on Friday.
BTA: UK Business Rates Relief Not Open To TMCs
The Business Travel Association (BTA) has claimed the business rates holiday introduced by the UK government to help companies impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic is not available to TMCs and has called on the chancellor to change the rules to allow companies to access support.
According to the BTA, its research shows that the rates holiday, which was unveiled for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, is being given to leisure travel agencies by not TMCs.
Association Calls For Rates Relief Across Entire Travel Sector
The Business Travel Association (BTA) has urged the government to take a fair and equitable approach to the business rates holiday recently announced by the chancellor of the exchequer to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19.
Research by the BTA has confirmed that the business rates holiday, which was unveiled for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, is being given to (leisure) travel agents but not to travel management companies (TMC).
Business Travel Specialists 'At The Sharp End' Of Industry Rebuild
Business travel has been dealt just as hard a blow as its leisure counterpart, but TMCs and corporate specialists are diversifying their models to survive.
The business travel industry will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery.” That was the rousing sentiment of Business Travel Association (BTA) chief executive Clive Wratten, speaking to TTG last week.
BTA Calls On Airlines To Adhere To IATA Regulations and Offer Refunds
The BTA (Business Travel Association) is today calling on all airlines to adhere to IATA regulations and offer refunds to corporate travellers.
Whilst major UK airlines are now offering refunds, the BTA has noted that many major overseas carriers are continuing to refuse to do so, even where flights have been cancelled as a result of government advice or action. This is in contravention of IATA ruling 824r.
Coronavirus: Business Travel Association Urges Airlines To Offer Cash Refunds
Airlines are being urged to adhere to Iata regulations and offer cash refunds to corporate travellers.
The call came today from the Business Travel Association which accused many “major” foreign carriers of refusing to issue refunds even where flights have been cancelled as a result of government advice or action in contravention of Iata rules.
BTA Urges Airlines To Make Cash Refunds
Flights around the world have been cancelled amid the pandemic, which has seen numerous countries close their borders and disrupt many consumers’ travel plans.
Although the BTA concedes many major UK airlines are adhering to the International Air Transport Association (Iata) ruling 824r, which stipulates tickets should be refunded in the same form of payment they were bought, it said many major oversees carriers are offering credit notes instead.
Coronavirus: The Impact On The UK's TMCs
TMCs across the UK are demonstrating their benefit to clients during the coronavirus outbreak ??" but the long-term economic impact could threaten jobs across the sector.
Corporate Travel On The Front Line Of Global Incidents
As the effort to contain COVID-19 drives countries to close their borders and airlines to ground fleets, the corporate travel management community remains on the front line of getting people home or to their place of work.
Industry Associations Welcome HS2 Approval
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the high-speed rail project will go ahead despite spiralling costs and “become the spine of the country’s transport network, bringing our biggest cities closer together, boosting productivity and rebalancing opportunity fairly across the country”.
Governments Vow To Level Up Regions Will 'Take A Long Time'
The government will struggle to meet its objective of levelling up the UK regions with London despite promising to spend more on transport infrastructure.
Don't Expect Travel To Be Part Of The EU Trade Deal
Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'is in dreamland' if he expects to negotiate a comprehensive free-trade deal with the EU by the end of the year, corporate travel leaders were told last week.
The beginning of a new decade is an apt time to reflect on the progress of the business travel industry has made and to set future goals.
Getting The Green Light
Athletes participating in the summers Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will rest their weary bodies on beds with frames made from recyclable cardboard and mattresses formed of polyethylene materials that will be reused for plastic products after the event.
Boris Johnson ‘In Dreamland’ On EU Trade
The UK government “is in dreamland” if it expects a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU by the end of the year, corporate travel leaders have been told.
In Conversation | Clive Wratten
The newly appointed boss of The BTA tells Andy Hoskins about his vision for the industry organisation.
The Collapse Of Thomas Cook
There is huge knowledge and expertise among ex Thomas Cook staff...
Reflecting on the so-called quieter summer season, it transpired to be anything but.
BTA Launches Job Board For Thomas Cook Staff
Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, the Business Travel Association (BTA) has launched a job board on its website to support the travel firm’s former staff.
Business Travel Association Reveals New Members and Re-Brand
The Business Travel Association (BTA) has welcomed eight new members to its growing portfolio of travel management companies (TMCs), only a few weeks after its rebrand.
As rewarding as travelling can be, certain elements of the logistics can get tiresome. Booking the best flights and accommodation, fighting your way through the airport “experience”, be away from home for days on end and encountering delays can take the enjoyment out of travel.
How To Keep Stress Levels Low During A Business Trip
As rewarding as travelling can be, certain elements of the logistics can get tiresome. Booking the best flights and accommodation, fighting your way through the airport ’experience’, being away from home for days on end and encountering delays can take the enjoyment out of travel.
Working On Hot Topics
The re-branded BTA aims to address the crucial issues impacting business travel.
BTA Teams Up With 2019 Aviation Festival
The Business Travel Association (BTA) will be hosting a series of panels at the 2019 Aviation Festival in London as its TMC Zone returns to the event.
Wratten To Replace Parkes As BTA Chief
The Business Travel Association (BTA - formerly GTMC) has named Amber Road chief executive Clive Wratten as its new CEO following the retirement of Adrian Parkes.