Travel agent group TARGET has warned that the delay to ending lockdown restrictions, possibly until the start of the school summer holidays, will lead to more business closures unless immediate financial support is provided.
The group has repeated its demand for specific support for travel agents, including a one-off payment of 10% of 2019 revenue to all travel agencies, including homeworkers.
It is also calling for an extension of the furlough scheme until May next year, and it says furloughed staff should be allowed to work to process refunds, cancellation and amendments.
Also, it wants travel agents to be able to retrospectively claim the higher level of Restart Grants only given to hospitality businesses.
TARGET says a one-off grant of 10% of 2019 revenue should be paid to all agencies and homeworkers regardless of whether they are registered as self-employed, partnerships or limited companies, plus it wants one-off grants to company directors and others excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
TARGET is also asking the Government to write off loans to travel agencies.
Co-founder Graeme Brett said: “Travel Agents cannot carry on any longer without new financial support.
“Many took the £50,000 Government loan and are having to find £833 a month to repay or defer the repayments for six months and have the interest add up.
“Furlough is coming to an end with greater financial contribution due from employers before the scheme ends in September.
“Many employers are having to tell staff that they will not be able to keep their jobs unless they receive immediate financial support.”.
Co-founder Jill Waite said: “Those subscriptions are due at the end on this month. Travel agents had budgeted in their cashflow forecasts to pay those subscriptions based on the anticipated return of international travel.
“However, with no new money coming into their businesses, they simply cannot afford to pay the membership fees that ABTA are asking for.”