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Swift change in the direction of travel

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate 
Edited by Adam Shaw, associate partner
10 June 2021

Good morning,

Last summer, after months of being cooped up at home, many of us hailed the return of the staycation and its nostalgic set of packed lunches, damp sand and visits to local museums. 
 
This time round, with tight curbs on foreign travel remaining in place, domestic hotspots are likely be the chief summer getaway for a second consecutive summer. 
 
The struggling travel industry was left disappointed last week when the government ruled out mass foreign holidays and urged Brits to go to “great places” in the UK over the summer.
 
Disappointment was heightened when Portugal – one of the few leading destinations on the green list – was downgraded to amber on Monday, prompting a rush from tourists to get home before the new quarantine rules came into force. 
 
The news was bad for holidaymakers but much worse for the tourism sector. In response, UK travel agents warned that they are facing “absolute hardship and desperation” and the prospect of losing their homes. 
 
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of sector trade body Abta, added that current government support packages are insufficient to meet the challenges facing the industry and called for a full review of the government’s traffic light system in the next three weeks.
 
In the meantime, domestically-focused travel agents are flourishing. As holidaymakers scrambled to leave Portugal ahead of the deadline on Tuesday, many of those planning a getaway are opting for a staycation and have been warned to act fast to secure holiday spots for the summer.
 
While positive for the home hospitality industry, it has sparked anger and accusations that the government is sacrificing the foreign travel sector in favour of domestically focused industries. 
 
Balancing the health and economic impacts is a difficult tightrope. The pandemic has repeatedly made winners of losers, and vice versa, sometimes in a matter of hours.
 
In the face of such massive uncertainty, sector-specific support remains the only certain remedy for the struggling travel sector. 

News

The US government is to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as part of a new vaccination strategy for poorer countries. The strategy will see the doses being distributed to about 100 countries over the next two years. The US has been under pressure to raise vaccination rates in poor countries.
 
A Russian court has banned political organisations linked to the jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, on the grounds of being “extremist”. The verdict means that supporters of the Kremlin critic will face prison sentences if they continue their work and will be barred from running for office for years. In response, Alexei Navalny wrote on social media that he will “not retreat”.
 
Sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are becoming “normalised” for children in schools, according to a report by Ofsted. The review found that 90% girls and 50% of boys report being sent unwanted explicit pictures or videos. Based on the findings, the review recommends that education leaders act on the assumption that sexual harassment happens in their schools, even if they don’t think that the problem exists.

Business and economy

The US president, Joe Biden, is set to press Boris Johnson to work with the European Union to resolve a stand-off over Northern Ireland as the two leaders meet in Cornwall ahead of a G7 summit today. Biden is “deeply” concerned about the row and the preservation of peace in the region, according to his national security adviser Jake Sullivan. (£)
 
A new report from the Centre for Policy Studies has found that the UK government should cut tariffs on sustainably goods and services to achieve its goal of championing green free trade. By removing such barriers to trade, the government will minimise the costs of adopting green solutions and business practices, according to the think tank.
 
The UK competition regulator has opened an investigation into whether British Airways and Ryanair broke consumer law by failing to give refunds for flights that people could not legally take due to coronavirus restrictions. This comes after the regulator started an investigation into the airline sector in December 2020 following reports that customers were being denied refunds for flights during lockdown.

Columns of note

In City AM, Karandeep Anand argues that to meet the challenge of a looming mental health crisis brought about by the pandemic, businesses must scrap pointless health policies and instead create an open, two-way dialogue between leaders and employees. 
 
In The Times, James Marriott draws on recent findings to argue that the end of our present culture war is finally in sight. While clashes over gender, race or language are likely to persist, our enthusiasm for more unproductive, bad-faith arguments is fading, Marriott argues. (£)

Cartoon source: The New Yorker

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed in a negative territory on Wednesday on the back of concerns about rising inflation after the latest set of figures from China. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.2% at 7,081.01, while sterling fell 0.28% on the dollar to trade at $1.4117 and weakened 0.33% versus the euro to €1.1592.
 
Wall Street’s main indices also closed in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 0.44% to 34,447.67, the S&P 500 falling 0.18% to 4,219.61 and the Nasdaq Composite dropping 0.09% to 13,911.75.
 
In company news:
 
Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to bolster its strategy towards becoming net zero. The move comes two weeks after a Dutch court ruling ordered the company to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by the end of 2030.
 
CMC Markets, the online trading firm, is reportedly planning to launch a new retail investment platform amid a surge in trading volumes during the pandemic.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Auto Trader
Card Factory
Cmc Mkts
Halma
Jlen Env
Norcros
Ted Baker

AGMs
ANGLE
Br.small Co.2
Dunedin Inc.
Equals Gp
Ergomed
Gamesys Group
Invesco Perp Uk
Kings Arms Yard
Lenta 144A
M.p. Evans
Morrison (WM)
Parity
RHI Magnesita
Sopheon
Team17 Group

Int. economic announcements
(12:45) ECB Interest Rate (EU) 
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13:30) Consumer Price Index (US)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Mafra Palace Library in Portugal has an army of bats that come out each night and dine on the insects that want to eat the 14-19th century leather bound books. (Source: @qikipedia)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
International Trade (including Topical Questions)
 
Business Statement
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
 
General debate
The Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries
 
General debate
The safety of journalists
 
Adjournment
Land banking

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Financial support to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and to other peacebuilding organisations in 2021/2
 
Oral questions
‘Youth Justice Statistics 2019/20’findings that more than half of all children in custody in 2020 were from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background
 
Oral questions
Whether the government intends for the Environment Bill to receive Royal Assent before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties
 
Oral questions
Ensuring carers get the support and breaks they need
 
Debate
Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment Committee report ‘Hungry for change: fixing the failures in food’

Scottish parliament 

Parliamentary Bureau Motions
First Minister’s Questions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Portfolio Questions
Scottish Government Debate: Justice: Recover, Renew, Transform
Business Motions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Decision Time

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