The Travel Network Group (TTNG) has revealed the devastating impact of the pandemic on members’ revenues over the past year in an impassioned plea for dedicated sector-specific support for travel.
The consortium said members’ revenues were down 85% in the period from March 2020 to February 2021 compared to the same period in 2019/20, mirroring new Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on the impact of the pandemic on travel and tourism businesses.
The ONS data shows turnover among travel and tourism businesses as a whole dipped to 26% of pre-pandemic (February) levels in May 2020.
Accommodation and travel agency businesses were hardest hit, with turnover falling to 9.3% of February levels in May and peaking at only just over 60% in August when some travel resumed.
“What this data from the ONS confirms is the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the travel industry, something we have been hearing from our members since last March," said TTNG chief executive Gary Lewis.
"Most other industries have had some respite from the effects of the pandemic, but the travel industry has not, with revenues during peak months a fraction of what was experienced pre-pandemic.
"We’re asking the government to create a sector-specific support package to help keep the industry afloat until travel can safely reopen again."
Lewis urged government to engage with the industry through the Abta-led Save Future Travel coalition and consider targeted grants to tide businesses over until travel can resume safely.
He added the government should also extend support mechanisms such as furlough, VAT deferrals and business rate relief, and provide clarity on the next steps for travel so the industry can set about rebuilding consumer confidence ahead of a restart.