Said the Foyle MP: “Since last February, I have been in contact with local travel companies who are members of the Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents (ANITA.) They have struggled through this pandemic which has seen a marked decline in the travel industry.
“Last year, I contacted Chancellor Rishi Sunak to urge him to initiate a package of measures including subsidy towards the rental cost of businesses along with help towards utility bills, make additional assistance available by way of further rates reductions through 2021, and a grant to pay salaries of staff until the end of Spring 2021 until healthy trading can resume in the travel industry.
“I am now calling on the British government to assist in international travel returning safely in a risk-managed way by adequately implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system.
“This would keep restrictions proportionate and keep adequate safety measures in place with regards Red List countries.
“It is crucial that the British government bring forward a reasonable package of bespoke financial support which includes an extension of furlough and the recognition that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is in actuality much slower than first predicted.
“As we hopefully near the end of the pandemic, The British government must design specific help which will help aviation and travel industries who are struggling to pay staff and keep businesses open.”