One in two jobs in UK corporate travel is at risk from UK quarantine restrictions which risk “the destruction” of the sector, the Business Travel Association (BTA) has warned.

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten issued this stark warning to an online conference of BTA members and partners yesterday, saying 50% of all jobs in the sector are at “real risk”.

Wratten described the 14-day quarantine requirements and prospect that travel corridors will focus on leisure destinations as “seismic” for corporate travel.

He said: “The blunt force of quarantine has made the UK a closed island – especially for business travellers – and our government is not listening carefully enough to the grave challenges our sector is facing.

Wratten said ministers “need to wake-up quickly”, insisting: “One in two jobs in the business travel sector is at real risk.”

The BTA has called on the government to agree travel corridors to some of the key corporate travel markets including Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, and to pilot tests on arrival for business travellers.

Wratten said: “We have made it clear to the transport secretary and the home secretary that travel corridors cannot just focus on tourism.

“Business travel hotspots such as Amsterdam, Paris and Hong Kong must be included. Without effective and focused business travel we will jeopardise the £220 billion our industry contributes to UK GDP each year.”

The BTA has also urged the Treasury to extend the furlough scheme for employees in business travel “well beyond October”.

Wratten said: “This government cannot allow the destruction of the business travel sector to be a lasting legacy of Covid-19.

“Extending the furlough scheme will be a saviour for our industry’s jobs and a solid investment in much needed growth.”

The online conference was held in place of the BTA’s annual overseas conference, planned for Belfast.

issue18june