A travel agent says he is ‘encouraged’ by an unexpected visit to his shop by foreign secretary Dominic Raab.
Greenstar Travel owner Martyn Fisher has written, his local MP, on several occasions during the pandemic to highlight concerns about grant support for travel agents.
But he had no idea that Raab was going to pop in to his agency on Friday last week and had just flown to Malta when his staff were given a few minutes notice of the visit.
Fisher said: “He visited three or four shops [including ours]. I had a call from Karen at my shop and told her it must be busy for us with all the green and amber changes. She told him how difficult it’s been.
“It’s shame I didn’t know about it, on his part as well, as we could both have got some good publicity out of it, but I am encouraged by his visit.
“It just shows that we [travel agents] are not completely forgotten businesses and so I’m pleased about that.”
Travel consultant Karen Moth met Raab for the few minutes he was in the shop.
She said: “I told him what a hard time we were having and that we’d had no income for nearly two years but had to stay open to look after clients. I said clients were confused by the changes and we were still refunding people I’m not sure if took it in. He said he had booked flights with easyJet but didn’t know if they’d go ahead.”
Fisher said business was finally beginning to pick up. “Last week I think we had more enquiries than the previous 12 months! I think people are realising this is not going away for a long time and if they want to go away they have to get on with it and life their lives accordingly,” he said.
Holidaymakers abroad were also sending positive messages to the agency about their trips, he added. “People are appreciating the whole travel experience more than they were pre 2020 and understanding that it’s a privilege,” he said.