More than 13,000 people emailed their local MP on the first day of Abta’s Save Future Travel campaign.

The association thanked everyone who had shown support for the “phenomenal” response to its grassroots campaign but urged the industry to “keep up the momentum”.

Abta has created a template letter for industry professionals, as well as their friends and family, which they are urged to send to their local MPs via its website savefuturetravel.co.uk, which 20 travel companies have put their names behind.

It said 13,500 people sent the letter to 647 of 650 MPs on Tuesday April 7, with 4,000 of the signatories identifying as ‘supporters’ from outside of the industry.

The campaign follows Abta’s repeated calls for the UK Government to act to buy more time for normally viable and healthy businesses to provide customer refunds, while protecting the customer’s right to receive that refund.

Governments have already acted in other European countries such as France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark, which have proposed temporary changes to existing regulations that Abta says are not fit for purpose in this current climate.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said “We’ve seen a phenomenal response to our call to action among the industry, thank you to everyone who has got involved so far. The lack of government action and guidance to date on refunds defies logic and has left consumers in no-man’s land, and the situation is worsening.

“We need to keep up the momentum at a crucial time. We need everyone not only to get behind the campaign, but to encourage friends and family to support it too.

“MPs will listen to their constituents, but they need to hear your voice.  So if you haven’t done so already, people email your MP via www.savefuturetravel.co.uk and ask others to do the same.”

Alistair Rowland, chief retail officer of Midcounties Co-operative Travel, and Abta chairman, added: “MPs in their constituencies will hear from sustainable businesses and their supply chain and customers how much they’re needed in their communities and a small change in legislation will mean a big difference to the industry’s future. We all need to support Save Future Travel’.

Save Future Travel trade response

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel said: “Now more than ever, the travel industry needs to stand together and this campaign is indicative of the unity that it brings. Travel is more than just a business for many of us; it is a significant part of our lives both professionally and personally and our message needs to be heard – that the UK government must do whatever it takes to save future travel.”

Rachel O’Reilly, spokesperson for Kuoni, said: “Our staff have welcomed the Abta campaign and many of our team have used the microsite today to write to their local MPs. Kuoni is a company that prides itself on customer service, so we want to help customers through this crisis and protect their money whilst at the same time we all want travel businesses to survive this awful situation and thrive in the future. Travel is life changing and life defining, it’s full of people who care passionately about people and places and we will do whatever it takes to urge the government to protect jobs in the travel industry and people’s livelihoods.”

Abta is asking its membership, the wider travel and tourism industry, all travel agents and tour operators, their families, and anyone who supports the industry to support the campaign.