Two-thirds of travel sector employers with staff still on the furlough scheme are planning redundancies once the wage support is removed at the end of the month, the travel association ABTA has warned.

The body said a survey of its membership showed that 69% of employers planned to let staff go after 30 September.

It blamed “overly-cautious” coronavirus restrictions on travel in the UK, saying they had hammered demand during the peak summer season and inflicted huge damage on the industry’s chances of recovery as a result.

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Travel boss welcomes prospect of UK restrictions easing

ABTA said that it expected almost 100,000 people in the sector, including airlines, to have either lost their jobs or walked away during the COVID pandemic once the Job Retention Scheme was closed.

The figure rose to 226,000 when the employment impact on the supply chain was factored in, its report said.

It warned that 43% of travel agent and tour operator workers, tens of thousands of people, were currently still on furlough though the report could not put a number on the roles set to be lost.

ABTA spoke out as ministers prepare to review the restrictions covering international travel by 1 October – with discussions set to intensify this week as the PM outlines later on Tuesday his plan to deal with coronavirus over the coming months.

ABTA is demanding the traffic light system for destinations is scrapped, along with the widespread use of PCR testing.

It accused the government of wasting the success of the vaccine rollout to date and said it should be up to individuals to determine their own risk status.

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Javid wants to scrap PCR tests for travellers

The body complained that shifting restrictions and confusion meant that 58% of bookings, with departure dates in July or August this year, had to be postponed or cancelled.

It concluded that too much damage had been done to demand for the government to end financial support now, with a letter to Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak urging “a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund”.

ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk.

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Heathrow boss urges change to travel rules

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“It is the fares from leisure passengers that keep our planes flying

Malaysia’s new prime minister says a regional travel bubble, including the 10 members of ASEAN and China, would help business and tourism recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a mixed response from the region’s tourism and business communities.

Malaysia is already planning to reopen its resort islands to domestic visitors next month and hopes to allow foreign tourists back next year.

PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Friday ASEAN and China should consider the cross-border travel bubble for fully vaccinated tourists. “By doing this, we will be in a much better position to revive not only the tourism industry, but also our people-to-people connectivity,” he said.

Some industry insiders have poured cold water on the plan. Beijing has said there will be no outbound travel from China until after the second quarter of next year, news agencies reported last week.

“So far Singapore and Hong Kong have announced travel bubbles four times and cancelled each – and finally its dead in the water,” said Bill Barnett a Phuket, Thailand-based hospitality, tourism and real estate adviser. “Forget bubbles, the Sandbox from Phuket is proven to be a model that works. Vietnam has announced that Phu Quoc will have a similar programme in October for international vaccinated travellers so for now,  it’s all about islands, not bubbles,” he said.

Other travel experts are more optimistic.  “I fully support the work that the new Malaysian PM brought up. I think opening up the closed borders of Asia is very important now for vaccinated tourists. I have been advocating this and chasing the Cambodian government for the last eight months… this would be good, not just for tourism, but all the economy as well,” said Sinan Thuorn, the Cambodia Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), who welcomed Malaysia’s suggestion of including China in the travel bubble plan. “You know how many million Chinese tourists have been travelling around the world so Chinese have been one of the big markets here in terms of the tourism industry,” he said.

The ASEAN-China travel bubble would only apply to travellers who have received at least two Covid-19 vaccinations. Ismail Sabri said ASEAN and China should work on the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates. The Malaysian PM’s comments came in a pre-recorded speech at the opening of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, held in Nanning, the capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He said the plan would not just help the tourism industry but also help businesses by keeping supply chains flowing to provide essential goods and services. “This is critical for small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of our economy.”

ASEAN overtook the EU as China’s largest trading partner last year. ASEAN is set to join China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership next year, creating the world’s biggest trade zone, with tariffs cut by as much as 90 percent on most products.

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KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) – Malaysia plans to reopen the tourist haven of Langkawi islands as it renews efforts to rebuild parts of the economy worst hit by the pandemic.

Langkawi, in the state of Kedah, will open to locals under a travel bubble plan from Sept 16, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 2). Other destinations will be allowed to operate when the locality’s vaccination rate hits 80 per cent, he said.

Malaysia is preparing for life with Covid-19 even as daily cases remain elevated, mirroring Thailand’s tourism-reopening plan based on a pilot project in the popular resort island of Phuket.

Covid-19 will be treated as endemic and it is time for Malaysians to learn to live with the virus, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a briefing on Wednesday.

New infections have soared despite the containment measures, hitting a record 24,599 in a single day late last month and turning the country into South-east Asia’s Covid-19 hot spot. The nation added 20,988 cases on Thursday.

Still, the virus’ effective reproduction rate, or R-naught, has fallen below 1 nationwide for the first time in few months, Ismail Sabri said, amid an increase in vaccination.

More than 84 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose, and 64 per cent has been fully inoculated, according to the health ministry.

Based on projected data, the average vaccination rate among adults in each state is expected to reach 80 per cent by month-end, and 100 per cent by end of October, Ismail Sabri said.

“Eventually we have to live with Covid-19 as is the case around the world,” he said.

Meantime, Melaka state will move into the second phase, and Negeri Sembilan into the third stage of the national recovery plan from Saturday after meeting the threshold limits in reducing Covid-19 infections, the prime minister said.

The decision was made by the National Security Council, which will now be renamed as the Special Committee on Pandemic Management, he said. The committee will include representatives from opposition parties as well.

Somerville Pioneers

Coach: Dallas Whitaker (4th season, 28-3)

Last year: 7-0

2021 Starting SI rating: 82.65

Division: Big Central Conference, Division 3

Division opponents: Carteret, Rahway, South Plainfield, Summit, Warren Hills.

Key players: Mike Miller Jr., Jr., QB; Jaimen Bryant, Sr., WR/DB; Ethan MacNair, Sr., LB/WR/TE; Sal Longo, Sr., OT/DE; Nigel Tucker, Sr., WR/DB; Garrett Koplitz, Sr., OL/DL; Ryan Manhardt, Sr., OL/DL; Tyler Bryant, Sr., LB/WR; Hashym Hobbs-Harris, Jr., WR/DB; Tristan Garcia, Sr., LB/RB; Wes Hack, Jr., DB/WR; Kyle Giacobello, Jr., LB/TE; Liam Willard, Sr., LB.

Outlook: There most definitely is proven talent for Somerville at the offensive skill positions and it is abundant.

Just for starters, let’s consider that quarterback Michael Miller Jr. passed for a whopping 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns in only seven games last year (his sophomore season), Jaimen Bryant caught 49 of those throws for 671 yards and nine TDs and fellow senior Ethan MacNair hauled in 31 of Miller’s offerings for 425 yards and four scores.

All very impressive and quite promising for the Pioneers as they prepare fore a Zero Week opener Friday night at Olney Charter School in Philadelphia.

But notice there was not a running back mentioned among those veteran athletes. And that’s because after two years of being spoiled by the speed, brute force and iron will of 2020 All-Stater Cookie Desiderio, Somerville begins this season with a small question mark that did not exist as Desiderio (now prepping at IMG Academy in Florida) accumulated 3,085 rushing yards and 51 touchdowns to steer the Pioneers to an overall 17-2 record. Also gone are a few multi-year veterans who provided a load of big blocks for Desiderio, AJ Pena, Noah Garcia and tight end Owen O’Neill.

No question the young Miller and his receivers benefitted greatly from Desiderio’s running ability. Defenses were usually forced to load the box against him, thus allowing Miller’s receivers a little bonus freedom on their pass routes.

Perhaps now, though, Miller is prepared to help Somerville develop some traction in the ground game by forcing teams to approach the Pioneers as a pass-first operation. There sure doesn’t seem to be any doubt in the mind of head coach Dallas Whitaker which way his offense will lean.

“He’s the best high school QB in the state,” he said of Miller. “Likely will lead state in TDs and yards.”

That being the case, senior Tristan Garcia, a veteran linebacker who had limited carries last fall, and juniors Julian Finger and Jacy Westfield may get the opportunity to ease into their roles as the team’s main ground threats this fall.

Pena (prepping at Milford Academy, N.Y.) and Garcia are gone, but Somerville still has plenty of experience up front with returning starters Sal Longo, Garrett Kopltz and Ryan Manhardt, along with junior TJ Bayles and sophomores Ramin Farzaie and Braeden Kane, who’ve been strong in camp. Longo, Koplitz and Manhardt also return as mainstays on the defensive line, with help from junior

It’s easy to think of retirement as a period of life when work is off the table. But these days, a growing number of workers are planning to hold down some type of job once their primary careers come to a close.

A good 57% of workers today said they’ll earn money in some capacity once they retire, according to the 21st Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. And Gen Xers and millennials are more likely than other age groups to plan to work during their senior years.

If you’re not planning to have a job in retirement, you may want to rethink that plan. Here’s why.

Person running pencil along wood.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Your savings might need a boost

Transamerica reports that the median retirement savings balance among all workers today is $93,000. Now to be clear, that’s not a small amount of money for workers in their 20s, and it’s not bad for those in their 30s.

But if you’re in your 50s with a mere $93,000 socked away in a retirement plan, you may not get a whole lot of income out of your nest egg later in life. Having a job is a good way to make up for a balance that’s lower than you’d like it to be.

Also, earning money could make it possible to keep your nest egg untapped for longer. And that could, in turn, give your money a little more time to grow.

2. Social Security could get cut

Some workers today fear that Social Security will run out of money by the time their retirement rolls around. The good news is that’s unlikely to happen. The bad news is that the program may have to cut benefits in the not-so-distant future if lawmakers don’t figure out a way to help it collect more revenue.

Since benefit cuts are a very real possibility right now, it’s a good idea to plan to work in some capacity once you retire. The income from that job could help make up for the fact that your Social Security income isn’t as robust as you may have expected it to be.

3. You may need a low-cost way to stay occupied

Being retired means having many free hours to fill on a daily basis. And that could get expensive.

The great thing about holding down a job is that you’ll have something to keep yourself busy with. And rather than spend money to stay active and occupied, you’ll instead get to earn money you can use to pay for expenses or buy yourself extra flexibility to travel or enjoy different types of leisure.

What does working as a retiree look like for you?

These days, holding down a job as a retiree doesn’t have to mean working a cash register or sitting in a call center all day long. There are many creative gigs you can take on, like selling baked goods or crafts. Or, you can find a job that’s extremely flexible, like driving for a

A Sponsored Message from Visit Tampa Bay

Groups can plan team-building activities on the water in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay has everything you need to “wow” attendees returning to face-to-face meetings—and the track record to prove it.

Tampa Bay has hosted such diverse organizations in 2021 as Super Bowl LV, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the U.S. Travel Spring Meeting and Connect Marketplace. In fact, a growing roster of groups—including the AAD and Connect Marketplace—have moved their meetings to Tampa Bay from other cities.

It’s easy to see why. From arrival to departure, attendees benefit from destination-wide safety measures. Tampa Bay International Airport—ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2020 North America Airport Satisfaction Study—is one of the most hygienic airports in North America, according to the Airports Council International.

The waterfront Tampa Convention Center keeps getting better, earning the GBAC STAR accreditation—the cleaning industry’s gold standard of prepared facilities—and preparing to debut new meeting areas and upgrades in 2023.

In Midtown Tampa—located between downtown Tampa and Tampa International Airport—attendees will discover an exciting new area to stay, shop and dine. The 115-room Element Tampa Midtown features more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool and Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar—where guests can enjoy stunning 360-degree views of downtown Tampa, Westshore and the St. Petersburg skyline. Other recent openings in Midtown include REI, Shake Shack and Whole Foods.

With Tampa Bay’s great weather and location, attendees will find plenty of entertaining outdoor activities. The 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk connects to the Tampa Convention Center, parks and outdoor dining spots, while team-building outings can include paddle-boarding and dolphin-watch tours.

Visit Tampa Bay makes it easy to include virtual attendees as well. The new Hybrid Meeting Grant is awarded to qualifying groups to help offset unanticipated technology costs.

To learn how your meeting can become a Tampa Bay success story, visit TampaMeetings.com.

Boris Johnson has ditched plans for tougher quarantine restrictions for some holidaymakers after days of chaos, as it emerged the chief of the Joint Biosecurity Centre that advises on travel rules has left the job, leaving the centre “rudderless”.

After a cabinet revolt and a backlash from the travel industry, government sources said the prime minister would not be going ahead with proposals for a new amber watchlist to warn travellers which countries were at risk of turning red.

Cabinet sources said the plans were killed off by the Treasury and Department for Transport, as ministers grew in confidence about the drop in daily cases, which fell to 21,052 on Monday.

After weeks of confusion over travel guidelines, Labour and the Lib Dems called on Johnson to get a grip on advice for holidaymakers. The Department of Health and Social Care has refused to say who is in charge of the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which is responsible for advising the government on the risk of travel as well as setting the UK’s overall Covid threat level.

It is understood that Clare Gardiner, a former spy who ran the JBC, has left the job of director-general without a permanent successor having being appointed to the organisation, set up under Johnson. Her details were removed from its website in mid-June.

The Department of Health and Social Care said on Tuesday: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre is part of the UK Health Security Agency and is led professionally by the chief executive. The former director general has returned as planned to a role in national security. The JBC continues to operate routinely under robust interim arrangements. A formal open competitive recruitment process has concluded and the new DG will be announced imminently.”

Labour said leaving the crucial organisation with a vacancy at the top was “reckless”, while the Lib Dems called for the government to “step in and appoint a head to the currently rudderless Joint Biosecurity Centre”.

Johnson had been due this week to decide, based on advice from the JBC, whether to create the new warning category to tell holidaymakers if they were at imminent risk of going on the red list – which requires 10 days of expensive hotel quarantine.

He backed away from the idea on Monday, with senior cabinet sources saying the plan had been killed off by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, for fear it would leave holidaymakers in limbo. Another government source said the prime minister had never been in favour, but it had been put forward within Whitehall at a “Covid O” meeting last week over fears that a new variant could be carried back with travellers from Spain, Italy or Greece over the summer.

“The watchlist could have warned people that the country they were going to [might] turn red and given them the full information, but the backlash is so big that we have lost that position. There’s not a chance it will go ahead now,” one Whitehall source

Monthly extensions of Canada-U.S. border restrictions, paired with continued promises of updates to border and travel regulations “in the coming weeks,” have left travel and tourism destinations with questions about when international visitors will be welcome.

For Niagara Falls, which normally sees about 14 million visitors a year, almost 30 per cent are from the U.S., making up about 50 per cent of revenue.

“More than 152 million people live within a one day or less drive of Niagara Falls, that’s our market,” Janice Thomson, President & CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism told Yahoo Canada. “So we’ve been able to draw on that large market, traditionally, but now that the American and the international travel has been cut off completely, we’re relying entirely on our domestic visitors.”

“[The American visitors] tend to spend more money, they stay longer in the destination and so that makes them extremely important to our area.”

Leslie Bruce, president and CEO of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism also confirmed that American tourists are considered “high yield visitors,” meaning that they spend more and typically stay longer.

“Especially in the summer, American and other international [travellers], like British visitors, are really important to our economy,” Bruce said.

I call it the leaky border because I’m happy for all the Canadians that have decided, ‘great I can go, I’m fully vaccinated and I’ll come back and don’t have to quarantine,’ but we really are counting on Canadians to travel in Canada this year and if they don’t, we’re in big trouble because the Americans still aren’t able to come.”Leslie Bruce, President and CEO of Banff and Lake Louise tourism

While local rules in Ontario are starting to loosen, particularly with the province moving to Step 3 of reopening on Friday, Thomson also identified that rules around capacity limits, in addition to lack of communication around upcoming rules, have impacted travel and tourism businesses in the Niagara Falls region that want to operate at a sustainable level.

“We just need to know, what is the plan, what should we look after, what should we be targeting towards, in terms of getting employees hired back, trained properly on all the new protocols,” she said.

“That’s our first focus, having the plan from the government, and I’d say having a plan from both sides would be helpful, the provincial plan on the local businesses reopening and then the federal plan on the border.”

NIAGARA FALLS, March 31, 2021 -- Visitors are seen at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on March 31, 2021. Canada's tourism spending was cut 48.1 percent in 2020 and tourism gross domestic product GDP plunged 47.9 percent, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Zou Zheng via Getty Images)

NIAGARA FALLS, March 31, 2021 — Visitors are seen at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on March 31, 2021. Canada’s tourism spending was cut 48.1 percent in 2020 and tourism gross domestic product GDP plunged 47.9 percent, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Zou Zheng via Getty Images)

Last week, Niagara Region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, said that reopening the Canada-U.S. border this summer would be a risk, adding that these restrictions should be reassessed in the fall.

While Thomson recognizes that this

HONG KONG – Hong Kong lawmakers on Friday (July 9) urged the government to give up plans for a travel bubble with Singapore, given the Republic’s strategy shift towards learning to live with Covid-19, local media reported.

At a Legislative Council meeting, lawmakers said Hong Kong must hold onto its goal of maintaining zero local Covid-19 infections, so that travel between the territory and the mainland can resume as soon as possible, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien said Hong Kong should not offer quarantine-free travel to people from places that do not have the same “Covid zero” target.

“The mainland will not tolerate any loopholes at our airport. If Singapore really changes its anti-pandemic target, the government can stop talking to the country about setting up a travel bubble,” he said.

As Singapore’s vaccination campaign gathers pace, the government’s stance has shifted towards learning to live with the virus rather than pursuing a so-called Covid-Zero approach of eliminating it altogether.

Alice Mak of the Federation of Trade Unions said a travel bubble would be beneficial to the tourism industry, but she said “the cost would be too high” if it jeopardises Hong Kong’s pandemic situation.

“For places that don’t aim to achieve zero infections but hope to live with the virus, we should not have a travel bubble with them,” she said.

In response, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said the Hong Kong authorities will continue to communicate with their counterparts in Singapore.

The calls came as Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the two sides are still trying to revive an agreement to allow quarantine-free travel between the two cities.

The arrangement could be used as a model to open to more parts of the world, Mr Ong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday.

With very low Covid-19 case counts, or none at all on many days, the cities are well positioned to open their borders again, Mr Ong said.

“That gives us common ground to talk again about restarting the air travel bubble,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

“I try to not call it bubble as it connotes something very fragile and can easily burst – I try to describe it as air travel corridor now, but the idea is the same.”

The plan to launch a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was first delayed in November last year when the territory battled a wave of new infections, and was postponed again in May when cases surged in Singapore.