ABTA says it believes agents should be eligible for the new grants announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak for retail businesses after the government confirmed that retail travel agents are amongst businesses that are legally required to close, however it said it was still seeking clarification.
Following lobbying from ANITA, the NI Executive had already promised that financial support for travel agents would be provided, but the group has now called on the Executive to provide a “top-up grant” above the current support package “similar to that announced for England and Scotland”.
ANITA Chairperson Damian Murphy said: “Trading conditions for the travel industry in Northern Ireland are about to get tougher still. We are once again forced to close our premises to the public meaning we can no longer be there to help arrange plans for future travel.
“With virtually all travel being off limits for the next few weeks it is vital that the Northern Ireland Executive puts in place a scheme of grants similar to that announced for England and Scotland within days.
“The Executive have already recognised the gravity of the situation facing our industry and although details have yet to be provided -a tailored support package has been agreed.
“It is vital that a top-up grant above our support package is made available within days to help us survive the even greater restrictions and the virtual block on current travel. We fully understand the decisions that have been and that look about to be taken but it is imperative that extra financial support is quickly made available.
“We are confident that the services of travel agents will be in great demand when it is once again safe to travel and we are simply asking the executive to recognise that we have been placed under even more financial pressure this week.”