Every week, the travel industry has new challenges thrust upon it – from the home secretary advising Brits not to book holidays, to ministers confirming the introduction of a two-week quarantine period, further dampening the trade’s hopes of a summer season. And yet last week, the government finally gave the travel industry a potential reason to smile.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a more flexible and extended furlough scheme is hugely welcome news to the many agents who describe it as “crucial” to their survival.
Likewise, the announcement of a three-month extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme offers important relief to the countless homeworkers for whom it has become a lifeline.
“There’s still a long way to go [until recovery],” says agency owner Miles Morgan, but despite there still being concerns about the lack of sector-specific support, he suggests the tiniest of green shoots may be emerging.
“Business appears to be stepping up every week,” he tells TTG – a claim supported by the latest TTG Travel Agent Tracker, which saw 48% of agents report sales in the week ending 22 May, up from 38% on the previous week.
It’s just as well because, as we highlight, some of Brits’ favourite tourism destinations are starting to reveal plans to kick-start their tourism industries. And as business continues to increase, customers will be looking to the UK’s best travel agencies to book their dream holidays.
With this in mind, TTG is excited this week to announce the new TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies 2020 across the UK and Ireland.
Yes, the industry continues to face huge challenges – the collapse of Specialist Leisure Group followed days later by easyJet’s plans to cut up to 30% of its workforce is a stark reminder of this. But while the road ahead might yet have several bumps, it seems there finally could be a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel.