Further Covid-19 support announced by the government

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced further financial support from the government to help businesses and individuals that have been negatively affected by Covid-19.

He introduced the government’s Winter Economy Plan including a new Job Support Scheme to replace the existing furlough scheme, as well as tax cuts and deferrals. The Chancellor also announced an extension to the application deadline for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Future Fund.

Here are the key points from the announcement:

If you need any help understanding what these changes could mean for your business, please get in touch.

We will update our advice and guidance as more detail is provided on the support announced, please keep an eye on our news & insights page or follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join the mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

Trust accounts in the travel sector: TTC comment in The Telegraph

TTC director Martin Alcock spoke to The Telegraph about trust accounts in the travel sector and rumours that the government plan to implement new rules to speed up refunds.

Here is the full article:

Screen grab of an article from The Telegraph on refunding customers in the travel industry

The original article can be found here – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/09/19/travel-giants-ringfence-customer-deposits-speed-refunds/.

For information on the advantages and disadvantages of trust accounts, please see here.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join the mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

Tips for renewing your ATOL licence

The deadline for submitting your ATOL renewal is fast approaching. If you are due to renew your licence this September and haven’t yet started the application process, we recommend you do this now. We are currently working on our client’s renewals and have some insight into what information the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) require. Here are our top four tips for renewing your licence.

If you need any help applying for an ATOL licence, or have any questions about the process, please get in touch. 

f you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join the mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

BBC interview with TTC about the ongoing Covid-19 crisis

TTC Director Martin spoke to the BBC this morning to discuss how the travel industry is dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. He highlighted the need for a coordinated approach from the government to help travel businesses cope when there is a change in advice. Martin also discussed how confusion over the quarantine measures is negatively impacting the industry.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch.

Financial tests for ATOL licences

The Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) approach to financial assessments largely depends on the size of the ATOL licence required. As the licence size increases, so does the potential exposure to the Air Travel Trust Fund. Therefore, the CAA requires larger businesses to provide more financial information than smaller ones. This diagram demonstrates the commonly requested information needed by the CAA for September 2020 renewals. It takes into account the additional information required due to Covid-19.

If you need any help applying for an ATOL licence, or have any questions about the process, please get in touch. 

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Many travel businesses have taken advantage of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) announced by the government in March to support companies that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are still considering using the scheme, there isn’t long left to apply. Unless there are any further announcements, the scheme is due to close to new applications on 30 September.

If you have already applied for CBILS but were unsuccessful due to being classed as an ‘undertaking in difficulty’, you may wish to consider reapplying. Previously, ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access the scheme because of EU rules but this has now changed, and businesses in this category which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9 million can now apply. For more information, please see Gov.uk.

If you are planning on applying, please be aware that lenders may have specific requirements. Below are the loan conditions provided by some participating, non-high street banks. It is not a complete list, so we recommend that you contact your preferred lender directly to understand their requirements, or please get in touch if you need any help.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

The impact of Covid-19 on booking patterns and marketing strategies

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the travel industry. In this video, we discuss how customers are looking to travel again and reveal insights into current booking patterns. We also take a look at how travel companies have adapted their marketing to reach new and existing customers.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

The travel industry’s W-shaped recovery

There have been many questions surrounding how the travel industry will recover from the coronavirus crisis. In this video, our director Martin discusses the reasons we believe the industry should be planning for a W-shaped recovery for the next few years.

If you would like a copy of the slides or have any questions on what’s covered in the video, please get in touch.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

Are trust accounts the future of financial protection?

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised the profile of trust accounts, with customers, operators and media proclaiming them to be the solution to the challenges experienced by package organisers in fulfilling refunds. However, the reality is far more nuanced.

Here, we have examined the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a trust account to financially protect your customer’s monies.

Table of advantages and disadvantages of trust accounts

Whether trust accounts are the future of financial protection for travel businesses remains to be seen, however, for some they can be an effective solution. If you are unsure which type of financial protection is best for your travel business, please get in touch. We’d be happy to provide further information and help you make the right decision.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join our mailing list here.

Refund Credit Notes – updated guidance from the CAA

The government has confirmed that Refund Credit Notes offered against ATOL protected bookings are financially protected. In this document, we highlight eight key points from the CAA’s updated guidance, including exactly what information you need for your Refund Credit Notes.

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and the Government's response and the details of support on offer are continuously changing. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

Brexit: six areas of your travel business that are likely to be impacted

It may have been pushed to the back of our minds by a worldwide pandemic, but sadly, Brexit and its many related challenges have not gone away.

The UK officially left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, entering a transition period which is scheduled to last until 31 December 2020. Both sides are currently in the process of negotiating a new trading relationship.

Whatever the outcome of the next few months’ negotiations, there will be challenges for the travel industry, and your business may have to adapt. Here are six key areas that are likely to be impacted: 

1 – Employees

Worker’s rights will feature heavily in any trade deal, and if you employ EU nationals in the UK, or you post UK workers to EU countries, new rules are likely to affect you. 

We understand many EU member states have put processes in place to allow UK citizens to continue to work if no trade deal is agreed. However, there may be restrictions on the length of time workers would be allowed to stay in an EU country. 

Furthermore, any new agreements for workers’ rights are only likely to apply to those living and working in the country before Brexit, which may present issues for seasonal workers. 

Similarly, the recent UK Immigration Bill introduces a series of restrictions on companies rights to employ non-UK workers. In particular, the salary threshold of £25,600 is likely to capture a higher proportion of roles in the travel sector compared to many others and could lead to a shortage of suitable candidates. 

2 – VAT

The Tour Operator Margin Scheme (TOMS) is an EU-wide simplification measure that means EU tour operators don’t have to register for VAT in every member state in which they operate. 

We understand that any trade deal would likely preserve the current system. However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, HMRC has proposed to change the rules, making travel services to all destinations outside the UK (including the EU) zero-rated. The good news is that only the margin on UK travel services will be subject to VAT, which could result in significant savings for many outbound tour operators. 

However, EU member states will likely require UK operators to separately register for VAT in each territory in which they operate, which would present a significant administrative burden for many travel companies.

 3 – Key information 

Under the Package Travel Regulations, package organisers must provide accurate information to customers on various matters including passports, visa requirements, healthcare support. 

Passengers travelling after 1 January 2021 are likely to need at least six months remaining on their passport.

We understand UK travellers will still be allowed to visit EU countries for up to 90 days without a visa, but only if the UK continues to grant reciprocal rights to EU citizens visiting the UK. 

Though unrelated to Brexit, from 2022 all visitors to the EU will need to complete an application through the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and pay a fee before entering the Schengen Area. This will even include citizens of countries with a visa-free travel agreement in place. 

It is still unclear what arrangements will be in place for UK nationals should they need access to health care when in an EU country. If the EHIC card is no longer valid when we leave the EU, you will need to make sure you direct your customers to the correct advice.  

You must ensure that you have systems in place to monitor any changes to these information requirements, and to inform your customers where necessary. 

4 – Flights 

In a post-Brexit world, airlines may need to ask for permission to fly into EU air space, and airlines based in the EU will have to do the same when flying into the UK. This could present challenges if permission isn’t granted on time. 

The current transition arrangements allow flights between the UK and the EU to continue as they were. What happens beyond 31 December 2020 is still being negotiated. 

5 – Regulation and licensing

Under the current European regulatory framework for selling package holidays, companies who are established and compliant with the rules of one EU member state can sell holidays in every other EU member state.  

Non-EU companies must comply with the rules in each and every member state in which they sell holidays. 

Once the UK falls outside of these rules, many companies are likely to require a change to their current licensing arrangements following the end of the transition period. For example: 

    • EU established firms wishing to sell flight-inclusive holidays in the UK from 1 January 2021 are likely to need to hold their own ATOL.
    • UK established firms wishing to sell holidays in the EU will need to either create a new subsidiary place of establishment in an EU member state or register with the financial protection scheme of each member state in which they operate.   

 

In addition, if you use insurance bonds to meet your financial protection obligations, then you should also check with your insurer or insurance broker that they can continue to issue valid bonds following the end of the transition period. 

6 – Foreign currency

The Pound Sterling has been on a volatile rollercoaster ride ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. Its value has fluctuated dramatically with each twist and turn of the withdrawal process, and it remains impossible to predict.

As the trade negotiations proceed, we expect this pattern to continue. Travel companies must have a robust strategy in place for managing their foreign currency risk. 

There are still many unanswerable questions at this stage. Through the continuing negotiations, we’ll be providing updates, analysis and insight on our website and through our social media channels. If you need support in the meantime, please get in touch.

If you enjoyed this post, why not sign-up to our newsletter? Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Join the mailing list here.

Guidance on Brexit is continually being updated as we progress through the transition period. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn. If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch. 

The September 2020 ABTA and ATOL renewal process

If you’re an ABTA member or ATOL holder and are due to renew your licence or membership this September, we’ve put together three areas that may want to think about whilst going through the process. In this video, TTC Director Simon Brodie gives his thoughts on the criteria requirements, including the balance sheet impact of the Thomas Cook failure and Covid-19. He also discusses the impact of Brexit and what you need to think about in relation to bonding. 

If you need any help renewing, please get in touch. 

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll love our newsletter. Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Sign up here.

Further changes to the furlough scheme – announced 12 June 2020

The government has issued new guidance outlining what the furlough scheme will look like from 1 July onwards. If you have furloughed employees there are a few things you need to consider. Some of the updated information is complex so we’ve pulled out the key changes to help ensure you’re ready for the new scheme.

We also have further details on the scheme here, if you have furloughed employees we recommend looking at the information on this page too.

Preparing for Brexit

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 with the withdrawal process due to last until 31 December 2020. During the current coronavirus pandemic we know that Brexit is not at the forefront of everyone’s minds, however sadly the challenges it brings for the travel industry have not gone away. Below we have outlined some key considerations to help ensure your business is ready.

Infographic showing the impact of Brexit on the travel industry

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll love our newsletter. Get our latest blog posts, industry updates and exclusive content. Sign up here.

Guidance on Brexit is continually being updated as we progress through the transition period. We'll be updating our posts regularly to ensure our analysis and advice remains as accurate and useful as possible. To receive the very latest information as we release it follow us on LinkedIn. If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch.