Half a million travel jobs could be placed at risk if prime minister Boris Johnson fails to give the sector the reassurances it seeks in his long-awaited Covid roadmap announcement next week.
Johnson is expected on Monday (22 February) to detail the first steps government will take to lead the country out of the current Covid lockdown, which is likely to start with the reopening of schools.
However, a new poll by the Save Our Summer (SOS) campaign found many businesses would be forced to take drastic action if the announcement fails to deliver certainty for the travel industry.
Some 60% of the 255 travel businesses polled over 15-16 February said with furlough due to end in April, they would likely have to lay off more than 20% of their staff – while a further 37% said this would likely run to more than 40% of their workforce.
Save Our Summer estimates the impact would be "at least" half a million redundancies across a sector it says directly or indirectly supports employment of more than one in every 10 people in the UK.
However, if Johnson does give some clarity on what travel may be possible over the summer, 74% of firms polled said they would look to hire more employees, or rehire those on furlough.
More than 75% of respondents called on the chancellor to extend the furlough scheme, and also extend it to companies with just one director employee who have been unable to claim furlough cash.
Save Our Summer co-founder Paul Charles said the findings reflected the potentially severe consequences of the government failing to plan for a resumption of travel.
"With vital revenues needed, firms are desperate for confidence to be restored otherwise the sector will be a shadow of its former self," he said.
True Travel chief Henry Morley, fellow SOS co-founder, added a positive outcome for travel on Monday was essential so people could book ahead with clarity and confidence.