The Travel Network Group is urging its 1,000-plus members to lobby their MPs over government restart grants.

The consortium wants ministers to recognise travel agents as leisure businesses, rather than non-essential retail, in order to receive the higher bracket of the restart grant, which was made available to retail businesses from April 1.

A template letter for MPs was sent to all TTNG Members on Thursday, with a request to act “quickly and urgently” on behalf of travel businesses.

The membership body for independent travel firms is lobbying alongside its own letters sent to chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Staregy (BEIS).

The action follows recently published local authorities’ guidance that retail travel agents are listed as non-essential shops, placing them in the lower grant bracket.

The TTNG letter, coming ahead of non-essential retail being allowed to reopen in England from Monday, outlines the reasons behind the request and asks business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to change the decision and instead place agents under hospitality and leisure business thresholds.

The group’s chief executive Gary Lewis said: “Travel businesses have been, and continue to be, uniquely impacted by the current crisis.

“Our members have had to survive a dramatic drop in revenue while still having to pay back profits made for bookings due to travel since March 2020 in the form of refunds, creating an enormous amount of administration and customer service work, the nature of which has not been seen before in the travel industry.

“We understand that all non-essential industries have been highly affected by the pandemic, however hospitality, personal care and other leisure venues will be able to benefit from the April 12 and May 17 reopening almost instantly, whereas our members will only see profit when their customers have actually travelled, not when they book their holidays.

“Travel businesses in England have not received any sector-specific support thus far and we are asking the government to recognise our members as leisure travel businesses, rather than non-essential, to give them the opportunity to access the higher grant bracket for a chance to make it through.”