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Shrewsbury travel agent takes action

Peakes Travel Elite - based in Shrewsbury - is taking part in the Travel Day of Action in London today to highlight the ongoing challenges facing the sector, and the risks to businesses and livelihoods.

Claire Moore, managing director at Peakes Travel Elite, will be meeting with MP Daniel Kawczynski at his offices, before joining the Travel Day of Action at College Green by the Houses of Parliament.

The Travel Day of Action is a pan-industry event bringing together people and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries - including those who operate and organise overseas and inbound holidays, visits to family and friends and business trips abroad.

Peakes Travel Elite have suffered a big impact on sales as a result of the pandemics. The award-winning travel agency has had to pour resources into re-booking and cancelling holidays whilst travel restrictions have continued.

Claire Moore said: “It has been a really tough 18 months in the travel sector. Our travel agency is classed as non-essential retail, so the shop has had to close over the lockdowns but during that time our customers have still needed our support which has meant a full team furlough was not an option for us.

"Our dedication to customer service is the foundation of our offering and we couldn’t compromise that. The team have needed to prioritise supporting our existing customers to re-arrange, refund and re-book holidays, through a period with severely reduced new bookings. We want overseas travel to open up when it is safe to do so, and until then, we are asking for proper support from the Government.”

The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the wider travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end. Data from ABTA estimates that as many as 195K jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry.

Without a meaningful summer season – a crucial period of the year for travel businesses – many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of the travel sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.

While other sectors have received tailored support, such as specific grant schemes, many travel businesses have been excluded from the general grant support available and others only able to access the bare minimum. As a result, many businesses are struggling to survive - 57% of SME travel agents said they would not have the cash to survive more than three months based on current trading conditions and available Government support.

Despite international travel being significantly curtailed, meaning businesses still have little opportunity to generate income, companies will be subject to the 10% rise in furlough costs at the end of the month, and payments towards business rates for travel agents will also go up.

Claire said: “Travel businesses have suffered more than most companies in this crisis. International travel has been severely restricted for almost 18 months now and, while other businesses have been opening their doors in recent weeks, the Government has been telling people not to travel.

“The lack of international travel puts businesses under enormous pressure. We have no other means of generating income. If people don’t travel then we don’t make any money, it is a simple as that. The summer season is such a critical time for our business, so we desperately need Government to safely open up overseas travel.

“Government also needs to give some tailored support to the travel sector. We haven’t had anywhere need the financial support that other businesses have had, yet we have less opportunity to generate income. The situation is beyond desperate. We need the Government to urgently help us.”

The Travel Day of Action has support from the UK’s major airlines and tour operators as well as hundreds of small independent travel agents and leisure and business travel agents.

Pictured: Claire Moore

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