Travel agent calls for Government support for hard-hit industry
A travel business in North Kirklees is joining a co-ordinated day of action next week to ask the Government to give more support to the hard-hit industry.
High Ridings Travel, based in Birstall, will take part in the event on Wednesday, June 23, which aims to raise further awareness of the ongoing challenges faced by travel agents, tour operators, airlines, airports and many other companies relying on international travel.
The day will involve organised lobbies at Westminster, Holyrood in Edinburgh and Stormont in Belfast, which are being coordinated through the Save Future Travel Coalition, alongside colleagues in aviation, airlines, unions and the wider trade bodies that relate to the travel sector.
Members of Parliament have been invited to join the Travel Day of Action and meet with their local travel businesses and industry professionals.
The travel industry representatives are asking the Government to allow international travel to return safely and in a risk-managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system.
This should see the green list expanding in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, while keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
Until international travel returns, the industry is also calling for a package of tailored financial support, including extension of the furlough scheme, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.
Helen North, owner of High Ridings Travel, which has been operating in Birstall for more than 30 years, said her team has worked tirelessly cancelling trips, changing existing bookings and issuing refunds for cancelled holidays.
She said she did not think this summer would be affected, and the industry needs help and support from the Government.
“We urge anyone who feels passionate about the cause, other travel businesses in our local community and wider outbound travel industry to get behind the day of action, whether that be writing to your MP or sharing our message on social media," she said.
“Our business has been dealt blow after blow since this pandemic began. These past 14 months, we have worked tirelessly on behalf of our customers, dealing with a large number of amendments, cancellations and refunds, all while working on a reduced workforce and a dramatic drop in income.
"We hope that the Government takes notice of the day of action and acts on the industry’s demands before further damage is done.”
High Ridings Travel is a member of The Travel Network Group, the UK’s largest independent travel membership organisation representing more than 1,250 travel businesses.
Gary Lewis, CEO of The Travel Network Group, said: “The Travel Day of Action has been organised in response to the latest announcement from the Government which effectively cancelled travel for the foreseeable future and went against the expectations set in the Global Travel Taskforce report.
"We are asking Members of Parliament to join the events on June 23, meet with travel businesses from their constituencies and speak up for travel!
“Until people can travel freely, and the travel industry is able to get back on its feet, we need the Government to provide direct financial sector-specific support which we have been calling for since summer 2020.”