Pocklington travel agent joins protest outside Parliament over Covid rules and to raise awareness of challenges facing the sector
A Pocklington-based travel agent has joined the ‘Travel Day of Action’ today, asking the Government to support a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period and to gain more help for the sector.
Gill Jackson, of Embarque Travel, has travelled to London to back calls for the Government to provide targeted support for the travel industry.
She joined hundreds of pilots, cabin crew and travel agents and other interest parties to protest outside Parliament about coronavirus travel restrictions.
Gill said: “The Government have allowed us to reopen our business, yet only allowed us to claim the minimum restart grant even though we cannot sell international travel and Government ministers were telling customers not to book holidays.
“The Government then allowed customers to travel to Portugal on the green traffic light then within three weeks moved Portugal to amber.
“Travel businesses only earn their money when a customer actually travels. Some 95% of holidays have been cancelled and refunded in the last 16 months, including the travel company’s earnings.
“Travel companies were unable to make use of the furlough scheme at the start of lockdown as staff had to work to process cancellations and refunds.
“The repeated changes to the destinations that customers could go to has created a massive additional workload for the travel industry and all with no income to cover the expenses.
“I am joining employees and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries – airlines, airports, tour operators, travel agents, suppliers and partners – who are coming together to raise awareness of the challenges facing the travel industry, and to ask the UK Government to provide targeted support to the travel industry, in a protest at Parliament.”
The 2,000 strong T.A.R.G.E.T. Travel Agent group is calling on the Government to:
1. Extend the Furlough Scheme until May 2022 for travel agencies
2. Allow furloughed staff to work to process refunds, cancellations and amendments (that do not earn the travel agency any money)
3. Backdate qualification for travel agencies of the higher level of Restart Grant awarded to hospitality businesses
4. Make a one-off payment of 10% of 2019 revenue to all travel agencies including self employed home workers regardless of whether they are registered as self employed/partnership/limited company
5. Make one off grants to company directors and others excluded from support under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme
6. Write off the Government loans to travel agencies