UK Government slated over reaction to ash crisis

Travel companies reacted well to the Icelandic volcanic ash crisis but the government was woeful, according to corporate travel buyers.

A survey of members of the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM) following the shutdown of airspace in April found 82% either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the strategic action and support from travel management companies (TMCs) – although some also reported acting to repatriate staff on their own.

The survey found concern at price increases among suppliers – especially hotels – during the crisis, although respondents generally judged suppliers to have done what they could to help.

However, 72% said the government should have done more. ITM chief executive Paul Tilstone said: “In general the reaction to the crisis was measured and effective. But the support of stakeholders outside of the industry appears to have been woefully lacking.”

He said the ITM aimed to engage with government and media to provide more effective assistance and communication in future crises.

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