ABTA is warning that the latest travel restrictions could ‘tip some companies over the edge’, forcing them to close for good, as it appeals to the Government for more financial support for the industry.
It said the average turnover for its members for the current financial year is still only at 22% of pre-pandemic levels.
Smaller businesses are the most vulnerable and are likely to find it harder to get throught he latest setback, said ABTA.
It pointed out that the sector has shed 50% of its workforce since the start of COVID.
Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said: “Public health must come first but the Government should be looking to soften the blow to travel companies by providing financial support in the shape of grants and the return of furlough for travel staff.
“Ministers have previously explained to us that the Government’s approach is to enable the travel industry to trade their way out of this crisis, instead of providing support. However, it is clear they have now abandoned this approach. The Transport Secretary said himself last week that the re-introduction of pre-departure testing would kill off the travel industry, so the Government should be coming forward urgently with a package of financial support for travel agents and tour operators.
“We can’t go on like this with requirements changing but nothing to support those businesses worst affected. It is the smallest companies that are suffering the most – with travel bosses having already taken every step possible to keep their businesses going – including drastically cutting staff levels.
“Not only has there been an absence of any specific support for the sector, but many companies have either been excluded or refused access to the general grant funding – so it’s no wonder that many of our members feel totally abandoned by the Government.”
ABTA is also asking the Government to look at the cost of testing, which has proved for many prohibitively expensive throughout the pandemic.
“Market competition has failed to reduce prices, so the Government must step in and consider a price cap on PCR tests and the removal of VAT,” it added.