A TRAVEL agent has told the Standard the past two weeks had been the worst he had known during his ten years in the industry.
And Michael Allsop who owns Barnt Green Travel Lounge said there was no sign of the situation abating soon.
He said the business relied on its customers to book breaks and it was there to support travellers when things went wrong.
The company receives commission from tour operators when bookings are made but with travel bans throughout the EU and the rest of the world leading to cancellations and refunds the cash has to be paid back.
The collapse of Flybe, down in part to COVID-19, also had an impact.
He said: “Everything was fine until the outbreak – bookings were up and it was looking promising for the rest of the year.”
Michael added he hoped things would calm down in the coming weeks and people would continue to book for the summer.
“If people book holidays for July they are fully protected and if this is still going on they can get a refund then or take it later.
“We are expecting a rush on bookings after the peak of this virus has been and gone so I would advise people to book early if there is somewhere they specifically want to go.
“We are also offering incentives for people to book now.”
Bookings are already being taken for winter 2020/21 and summer 21.
Another problem Barnt Green Travel Lounge has is people just associate it with foreign holidays but it offers breaks all over the UK with some of the top firms, including Haven, Butlins and Hoseasons.
“A lot of people don’t realise we offer holidays here and then book them when they do.”
Right now Michael welcomed the announcement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak about the £330billion worth of Government-backed loans for UK businesses.
“We will be looking into that, I just hope they make them easily accessible so we can get the help we need.
“The travel industry is very resilient and gets back on its feet very quickly so with some help now, I’m sure we will be fine in the future.”
For more on Barnt Green Travel Lounge, which has won the Best Travel Agent in the West Midlands awards in 2018 and 2019, visit barntgreentl.co.uk or call 0121 445 5777.