Majority of agents face ‘catastrophe’ as second lockdown looms

Almost two thirds (61%) of travel agents will run out of cash by the end of the year and 88% by June 2021.

The stark warning of agents on the brink came on the eve of a second lockdown across England from midnight.

A further 27% will run out of cash in the first half of next year if blanket travel bans, “pointless” quarantine measures and lack of Covid testing continues.

MoreTravel trade split on impact of second lockdown on business

This means that there will only be 12% of agents still in business by July 2021.

The results of a study by independents’ consortium Advantage Travel Partnership and online industry community Travel Gossip reveal the stark reality of how desperate the situation is for agents and the bleak outlook for the broader travel industry.

The results were gathered via a poll on Travel Gossip’s Facebook page which received 401 responses within 24 hours between November 2-3 following the announcement of the second lockdown.

The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates a total of 2.4 million travel and tourism jobs across the UK could be impacted, with a loss of £124 billion in GDP if global travel curbs remain in place.

Advantage chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “When will the government wake up and see that an industry is collapsing in front of them?

“These results are deeply concerning, but sadly are indicative of many businesses throughout the travel industry.”

Echoing comments she made on a Travel Weekly webcast this week, she added: “We need an exit strategy from our government to outline how we are going to move forwards.

“Hospitality and retail had to ensure they were Covid secure when they reopened in the summer, and travel needs its own equivalent – we must have a robust testing system in place and quarantine periods reduced to give us any chance of surviving this crisis.

The Global Travel Taskforce is scheduled to present its findings to the prime minister in early November, and we are calling on them to progress their discussions as a matter of urgency.

“This absolutely cannot be delayed otherwise this will have a catastrophic impact on travel agents and the travel industry.”

Travel Gossip founder Bruce Martin said: “It is heart-breaking to hear about so many of our travel agent community on the precipice of closure and financial ruin and these results demonstrate the dire repercussions that this pandemic has had on agents.

The second national lockdown and blanket travel ban will only make matters worse as they will have to provide support to travellers who had trips booked and deal with a second round of refunds, putting additional pressure on travel agents who have had little to no revenue since March through no fault of their own.”

MoreTravel trade split on impact of second lockdown on business


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