Travel industry plea for tailored support from the government

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Britain’s travel industry has warned that job losses could reach 200,000 if the government does not provide a tailored support package for travel agents and tour operators to replace furlough.

Special assistance is needed because the removal of travel restrictions has come too late for the industry, which now faces rising costs as furlough is withdrawn.

From this week companies will have to pay up to £625 a month for furloughed staff. The scheme will end in October.

Save Future Travel Coalition, which represents 16 travel associations including Abta, said the rule changes came too late as people had already made their summer plans.

Quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries was dropped only a fortnight ago and inbound restrictions for foreign visitors are being lifted from today. “School summer holidays would normally be the busiest trading period, accounting for around two thirds of annual income for many travel agencies and tour operators,” the Save Future Travel Coalition said.

“This, combined with rising furlough costs and business rates payments, means many companies are on the edge of a financial cliff.”

The group has written to the chancellor and business secretary asking for full furlough support, full business rates relief for the financial year and a “dedicated grant scheme”.

The chancellor is reported to have written to the prime minister calling for a swifter easing of travel restrictions. Abta said that “as many as 200,000 jobs in the sector have been lost or are a risk of redundancy”.

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