The government must act urgently to save Britain’s high street travel trade, a union has urged in a letter to ministers.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), spoke out after writing to business secretary Alok Sharma in March, saying there was “a real risk that travel shops on the high street will be a thing of the past”.
Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng replied on 30 June, stating: “We encourage travel company owners to fully explore the government’s comprehensive support package”, adding: “We are closely monitoring the impact on the travel industry.”
Cortes said: “Warm words from the minister, three months on from my letter simply does not do justice to the gravity of the situation. Our members, and those working right across the travel trade, need urgent action.
“What we need to know, without delay, is what the plan is for the future of our British travel trade, which is valued by many millions around our country.
“I am more than happy to work with ministers on this. It is not enough to ‘monitor events’, it’s time to roll sleeves up, protect jobs, and get our travel trade back on its feet, otherwise we run the risk that travel shops on the high street will be a thing of the past.”
He added: “The past 12 months have seen the collapse of both Flybe and Thomas Cook due to lack of government action. Thomas Cook’s demise alone cost the taxpayer more than £150 million. With shoppers returning to our high streets it’s vital to learn the lessons from Thomas Cook to make sure travel shops flourish once more.”