Advantage Travel Partnership has taken to TV to express its frustration and anger with the government’s lack of communication over travel advice.
Chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said and leisure director Kelly Cookes both voiced their concern on Wednesday morning.
Lo Bue-Said told BBC Breakfast the government’s announcement about Spain on Saturday had taken the industry by surprise and had a devastating impact.
“Agents in our industry are in despair, we are in such desperate times. The real frustration also is that there’s a real lack of understanding, we believe, from the government in terms of how our industry operates, how we service customers and the support we need ongoing, because it’s four months without any income plus all the refunds we’ve had to work through. Our industry is at breaking point yet again.”
Saturday’s announcement had put the brakes on a recovery, she said.
“As soon as air bridges came into force a couple of weeks ago, we absolutely saw a huge spike in demand for this summer. Sales week on week were over 30% up for this summer, so a real degree of confidence back in the market and for customers as well. Since the weekend, that’s fallen off a cliff.
“Unfortunately we do not get any advance notice, no advance communication, consultation and we are desperately trying to help our customers. We have many fantastic travel agents all over the country that have worked tirelessly in the last four months with no income whatsoever trying to help their customers."