A new study has claimed 5,164 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the travel and tourism sector are facing "significant financial distress" – with around 27,000 jobs at risk.
The Business Distress Index was launched by RealBusinessRescue.co.uk to advise business lenders in financial hardship.
It analysed data from Red Flag Alert and discovered travel and tourism firms in "significant financial distress" are part of 713,000 SMEs in severe difficulties across the economy – with a total of 3.2 million jobs at risk.
The study also found the number of start-up travel companies (firms launched after 2017) classed as being in "serious financial distress" had increased by 13% in the last quarter.
There are now 1,109 of these fledgling businesses compared to just 845 at the end of 2020 – with an overall increase of 132% since the start of lockdown.
Shaun Barton, national online business operations director for RealBusinessRescue.co.uk, said: "The latest Q1 results demonstrate that for many SME and start-up businesses, the financial challenge of the pandemic will continue throughout 2021.
"The sector needs to stand firm in the hope that the unlocking roadmap begins to have a positive impact."