Independent agent Tara Hawkins is planning a high-street protest this weekend to highlight the plight of travel companies and the lack of government support as COVID restrictions hit the industry once again.
Ms Hawkins, Managing Director of Authentic Villa Holidays, says she’s being forced to give up the lease on her shop in North London because she can no longer afford to pay it.
The annual Winter Festival takes place in her high street, Myddleton Road, Bowes Park, this Sunday, with famous faces and local press expected to attend and Ms Hawkins has organised a banner and will protest at the event to ensure maximum publicity.
She told Travel Gossip: “I’ve been going for 20 years. I can’t go on like this and I am having to give up the shop.
“I used to have six or seven staff but I’ve had to let them go. This year was worse than last year.
“After Saturday’s announcement about the new travel restrictions, I was so angry. I couldn’t calm down. Once again, the Government has put restrictions in and is offering zero financial support.
“Everywhere on the news, the focus is on the hospitality industry. But yet again, travel is being forgotten about.”
Ms Hawkins is also putting in a Freedom of Information request to find out how many businesses in the area qualify for the Additional Restrictions Grant after she said officials at Harringay Council told her they ‘didn’t know’.
She said: “Harringay Council has been given £9 million for ARGs. Travel agents and tour operators are on the list to be prioritised for the ARG but the council told me I wasn’t allowed to apply for it.
“I just thought: ‘I have to start protesting’. The Christmas tree is right outside my shop, we have the local news coming and celebrities including Neil Morrissey, who is opening the event.
“I want to get maximum publicity, not just for me, but to highlight the damage the Government is doing to people working in travel because of their lack of support.”