South Shields travel agency Westoe Travel calls for an end to months of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘mixed messages’ over international travel
The co-owner of a family-run travel agency has called for an end to months of uncertainty and ‘mixed messages’ he says the Government is still sending the industry.
Graeme Brett, who runs Westoe Travel in South Shields with partner Joan, said Ministers had left the sector in limbo as it approaches what would usually be peak season.
Mr Brett said it was now vital the Government made clear its intentions for international travel over this key trading period.
"It’s been a nightmare time for the travel industry and for customers,” he said.
"The lack of certainty has meant there has been several times the quantity of work created for us on the other end – with re-bookings, refunds and other rearrangements – and the Government hasn’t accommodated the industry at all for this yet."
The businessman said if the Government wanted to shut down the industry for the foreseeable future, planes should be mothballed and businesses compensated.
He said: "At the moment, they’re telling the travel industry to stay open – but they’re also telling customers not to book holidays abroad.”
Mr Brett said mixed messages have meant many holidaymakers have given up on the prospect of overseas travel this year and are instead opting for domestic ‘staycation’ breaks.
“There seems to be a split within the cabinet as to whether international travel will be allowed,” he said.
"So they keep sending these mixed messages. The majority of customers now have decided just to go ahead and get a UK break because they want to know what’s going to happen.
"Half the benefit of the holiday is the anticipation of the holiday itself. If you’re booking an overseas holiday at the moment and you’re having to wait and see what colour traffic light the country is going to be, you’re having to arrange PCR tests, and wait on the results, it just creates more stress.
"When you go on holiday, you want relaxation – you want to know what you’re going to do. So, because of all this uncertainty, we’ve found there’s been a huge increase in the numbers of people taking a UK break this year.”