Furlough and finances were the main topics of discussion during the latest Agent Matters Facebook Live panel.
Leading agents are calling on Abta to take action beyond lobbying over the Package Travel Regulations to find “a better solution for the travel industry”.
Speaking during TTG’s latest Agent Matters panel, Simon Morgan, chief executive of Tailor Made Travel, which has 20 shops, said there were a whole host of other issues facing agents beyond the ongoing refunds debate.
He warned that once the furlough scheme comes to an end, agents could be forced to make “mass redundancies”.
“Abta’s missing a point on how our retail travel agencies are going to weather the post-corona storm, or more specifically the post-furlough situation,” said Morgan.
“Because when that scheme runs out, we’re either going to be announcing mass redundancies, or we need a solution. Holidays won’t be coming to fruition and paying commission until long after the end of June [the current end-date for the government’s coronavirus crisis furlough scheme].”
He added the grants available to firms, of £10,000 or £25,000 depending on rateable value, would “not last long”.
“We’ve still got to pay rent, rates, electricity bills, Abta bonding, card charges, bank fees,” said Morgan, who revealed the coronavirus crisis will cost Tailor Made Travel £1 million.
“We need to be lobbying Abta to be lobbying government to come up with a better solution for the industry.”
He highlighted the tourism minister has allocated budget to enable inbound tour operators to employ two members of staff on up to £2,500 a month, and an additional £5,000 for office running costs, so they can service pipeline bookings.