Nine in 10 agents say current sales ‘not enough’ to get through winter

Nearly 90% of independent travel agents surveyed by trade marketing body Tipto do not believe current sales can see them through the winter without extra government support.

In a snap poll of 77 agents following the government’s latest traffic light update, 88% said they did not think the current level of sales is enough to sustain their business in the winter months.

Only 9% of respondents believed they could survive without extra government help based on current trading.

In the same survey, more than two thirds of agents said they did not feel confident about trading over the next six months. In total, 66% said they were not confident about business in the short term while around a quarter, 26%, said they did feel confident.

Agents told the survey that customers still lacked confidence in travelling but said they were hopeful business would improve in 2022. Some blamed the complicated and ever-changing traffic light system and testing requirements and costs for denting consumer confidence while others said the lack of government understanding in the sector was the main problem.

Agents predicted a “very long winter” ahead with “uncertainty and customer anxiety” continuing in the short to medium term and a “rollercoaster ride” for agents.

“Unless travel gets more help there will be many more redundancies and insolvencies sadly ,” said one agent, while another said: “Furlough ends soon and concerns about how we will get through winter are still prominent.”

When asked about the impact of the scrapping of the amber watchlist, the response was mixed, with 47% believing its removal would boost consumer confidence and 49% disagreeing, saying the move would not overcome the general confusion surrounding travel.

Most respondents, 92%, felt the additions to the green list were not enough to save the summer. In total, seven countries have been added to the green list: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway.

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