Independent Bedford travel agency urges public to help #savetravel


Amy Wright, of independent travel agency, Select Travel Holidays, explains the impact coronavirus has had on the industry, and what you can do to help…

Bedford is a town with a higher than average percentage of independent businesses, and we are proud to be one such business.

We are proud to be family-owned, and a small team of dedicated and knowledgeable travel experts who always strive to offer the best in customer service.

Most of our team have been in the travel industry for decades and have seen their fair share of disasters and crises, and the travel industry is famous for its resilience.

However, not only is coronavirus an entirely unique phenomenon which has impacted all areas of our lives, seemingly leaving no stone unturned, but its impact on the travel industry has been particularly acute and unique.

There are other travel businesses in Bedford which will have shared similar frustrations to ours over the last few months, and worked hard over many cancelled bookings, changing dates or requesting refunds from tour operators for their clients.

Lockdown forced many businesses to shut their doors temporarily, preventing them from trading.

The travel industry also faced a double blow of reduced income as a result of borders closing throughout the world, while also processing refunds for many of the holidays that had been cancelled.

Even as borders are cautiously reopening, the travel industry has been impacted by confusing and constantly changing guidelines about quarantine and other measures, further denting confidence.

Recently the Travel Trade Gazette, decided that ‘enough was enough’ and launched its #SaveTravel campaign, including a letter to Grant Shapps and Rishi Sunak calling on industry-specific support for travel.

As an industry, travel contributes billions of pounds to the economy and represents thousands of jobs.

Even conservative estimations suggest as many as 12,000 jobs are already believed to have been lost, with a further 24,000 at least at risk in the sector.

We have perhaps seen just the start of collapses, including Shearings (and their parent company) and Cruise & Maritime Voyages, a company which just last year had a record-breaking year.

I fear that if further tour operators go into administration, there will be less choice for Brits looking to travel again when they’re ready.

2020 has been a difficult year, and the UK has seen its economy shrink by 17.2% since February.

Hospitality was hardest hit during lockdown, but now many of Bedford’s wonderful pubs, restaurants and cafes have been able to re-open and can start to recover.

Especially as they’ve had the support of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which I’m sure many Bedfordians have appreciated and enjoyed.

The travel industry is asking not to be ignored any longer by government, and for sector-specific help, and I – for one – would greatly appreciate the support of my fellow Bedfordians for the #SaveTravel campaign.

You can sign the letter here at:

In partnership with Select Travel Holidays.

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