The majority of SME travel agents say they do not
have the cash to survive more than three months based on current trading
conditions and available Government support. According to new research by ABTA,
57 per cent fear for their future in the face of current travel restrictions.
The research also reveals that an estimated 195,000
working in the UK travel industry, more than a third of the 526,000-strong UK travel workforce, have either lost their jobs or are at risk of doing so due to the Covid-19 crisis.
ABTA says the findings show the immense pressure
the travel industry is under after almost 18 months of severe restrictions
which have curtailed the sector’s ability to trade. It is urging the Government
to deliver a package of tailored financial support to see the industry through
to recovery, which includes extending existing furlough and self-employed
income support, extending full business rates relief and creating a new
sector-specific ‘recovery grants’ regime for travel agents, tour operators and
travel management companies.
The Government is expected to review the
requirements for international travel on 28 June.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “Travel
businesses feel completely abandoned by the Government, which has consistently
failed to provide adequate support for an industry which has borne the brunt of
the economic fallout from the pandemic.
“People have worked tirelessly through the pandemic
trying to stay afloat, taking on extra jobs, having to make long-standing,
valued staff redundant, worrying about mounting debts. While we can clearly see
the financial toll with jobs and businesses lost, the emotional toll of this
ongoing battle, which still has no discernible end in sight, cannot be
“Unless the Government’s strategic review of
international travel on 28 June brings forth a sensible plan for travel to
reopen for the summer and targeted support that recognises the catastrophic
economic hit that the sector has taken, the industry will truly begin to buckle
before the summer is over.”
On Wednesday 23 June, employees and businesses from
across the aviation and travel industries are coming together for a Travel Day
of Action (#traveldayofaction) to raise awareness of the challenges facing the