An agent has called for a “joined-up approach” to lobbying during the pandemic, urging an end to conflicting messages from the industry.
Graeme Brett, owner of Westoe Travel, said contradictory statements from different trade bodies and consortia were damaging travel’s chances of receiving government support.
He said: “We had one body issue a statement saying most agents were on the verge of running out of money, while the same week another organisation issued a statement saying bookings with travel agents were 140% up on the previous week.
“How can we expect anyone to take our plight seriously when we are sending mixed signals like that?”
Brett said estimates of job losses also varied wildly, “from 40,000 to 140,000”.
“Does anyone know the real figure? Do the figures include the whole of the travel industry – airlines, hotels, tour operators, travel agents, airports and ancillary workers, coach companies, rail companies, ferry operators?”
He called for a coordinated approach from industry leaders.
“In normal times it is perfectly understandable for consortia and trade bodies to promote their points of difference, but these are not normal times.
“Surely, they can set aside their differences, competitiveness and egos to work together to save our industry?”
Westoe said there was “anger and frustration” among grass roots members of the industry.
“Of the agents I spoke to most were members of three or more trade organisations and were frustrated that at times each of the organisations they paid to be members of were sending out different and conflicting messages.
“It’s no wonder that the general public, government or media cannot understand the plight of the travel industry.”