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Tourism Recovery Plan

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 1 July 2021

What further steps the Government plans to take to support travel agencies as part of the implementation of the tourism recovery plan. (902118)

The Government have provided more than £25 billion in support to the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors over the course of the pandemic. We are continuing to support travel agents with, for example, restart grants and the extended furlough scheme. Our tourism recovery plan sets out a range of measures to support the sector, with the aim of recovering domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international travel by 2023, both at least a year faster than independent forecasters predict.

The headline numbers—that £25 billion—tell only part of the story. Unfortunately, because of the asymmetry of the Government support and the asymmetry of the travel recovery plan, much of that money has not found its way into the hands of travel agents such as Moorelands Travel and Travel Your World in my Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency. These family-run small and medium-sized enterprises have, like many others across the country, kept the lights on for the travel industry. They have given their all and sold the silver, and there is nothing left to give. They now face the possibility of going under. That will disrupt holidays and the travel recovery itself, so will the Minister explain to them—not to me—why their efforts and their businesses no longer matter?

The hon. Gentleman’s final comment is an unfortunate characterisation. He will be aware that many elements of the tourism sector are devolved matters, but we are working co-operatively with the Scottish Government on many issues. The Scottish Government have developed their recovery plan and we have developed one as well, and it does have UK-wide implications. For those sectors in England that have been unable to get grants and support automatically, we have put in place measures to help them, such as the additional restrictions grant. We will continue to assess support measures.