Suffolk travel agent slams lack of Government support despite 'opening up' travel restrictions
- Credit: Tim Henshall
An independent Suffolk travel agent has slammed the Government's approach to the industry.
Julie Croucher from Travel With Jules, based near Woodbridge, raised serious concerns about how travel businesses like hers were not being supported by the Government.
On Monday, 47 countries were removed from the red list, meaning arrivals from those locations will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel.
Meanwhile the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) lifted its advice against non-essential travel to a further 42 countries and territories due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This follows the removal of travel advisories to 41 locations last week.
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Despite changes to guidance like this, Miss Croucher says it is not enough to support businesses like hers, which have lived with unending insecurity for months on end.
“It changes by the day,” she said.
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“No-one has travelled for 18 months.”
Ms Croucher specialises in long haul travel to countries in Asia, Africa and Australasia.
Many of these haven’t opened their doors to travellers or have done with extensive restrictions.
“We were the first to close and the last to open,” she said.
“We are still not open by a long way.”
Less people travelling has had a profound impact on Travel with Jules.
“I have had to make my staff redundant,” she said.
“I am doing the job of four people.”
Miss Croucher said it felt like her industry had not received the same levels of support as others during the pandemic, despite the implications of people being unable to travel.
“The worst thing is that we have been ignored,” she said.
“Travel agencies do not get even a penny until people travel.
“The Government do not understand that.”
A Government spokesman: “We know that this has been an extremely difficult time for businesses across the country, including travel agents.
“This is why we put forward an unprecedented package of support for businesses throughout the pandemic, including VAT cuts, business rates holidays and government backed loans all collectively worth over £350 billion.”