Finance experts have criticised chancellor Rishi Sunak for his "surprising disregard" for travel in his Budget statement on Wednesday (3 March).
Besides extending existing furlough, high street grants and self-employed support schemes, the Budget was otherwise void of the tailored support travel has sought.
"The travel industry was overlooked again today by the chancellor in his Budget announcement," said Ian Bell, head of travel and tourism at accounting and consultancy firm RSM.
"For a sector that has been impacted more than any other by the pandemic, and with holidays currently illegal until the start of the summer, it’s surprising that this disregard by government continues.
"Many travel businesses remain in survival mode, and cash management is critical until customer confidence and bookings return."
Rajeev Shaunak, head of travel and tourism at accountants MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said the chancellor missed an opportunity to "inject some confidence into the travel sector".
"Despite some welcome news, the chancellor did not deliver the vote of confidence the travel industry had been hoping for," said Shaunak.
"Wednesday’s measures may not be enough to stave off disaster for businesses that have had little income over the past 12 months.”
Shaunak echoed Bell’s concerns about the lack of sector-specific support, and stressed that while extensions to the furlough scheme, the business rates holiday and other support measures were welcome, they didn’t offer an all-encompassing solution for travel.
"Unlike many other businesses, tour operators and agents have been unable to go into hibernation in the last 12 months, having had to process refunds for cancelled holidays, and make new bookings for when lockdown and travel restrictions are lifted in the months ahead," said Shaunak.
Bell and Shaunak did, however, agree that the ability to carry back trading losses for three years, allowing businesses to potentially release tax refunds worth upwards of £750,000, could be vital to travel firms.
"Many businesses will now be sitting on tax losses, and the ability to carry these forward for a longer period may well make the difference for their survival," said Shaunak.
Bell added: "The ability of travel businesses to carry back trading losses for three years to release tax refunds of up to £760,00 could provide a much needed cash lifeline for many if they can get their 2020 accounts and tax returns prepared and filed quickly.
"Together with the continuing furlough arrangements, any cash boost until international travel can restart is vital."