TWO travel agents joined hundreds of people to take part in a ‘Travel Day of Action’ protest outside the Houses of Parliament - highlighting how they say the tourism and travel industry are being threatened.

The campaigners say that as the wider domestic economy reopens, and edges closer to normality, the UK travel and tourism sectors remain essentially closed and mired in uncertainty as an estimated 195,000 jobs have been lost across the sector and many more remain at risk.

One of the local travel agents in Westminster was Gill Jackson, owner of Embarque Travel in Pocklington, who said: “We’ve been doing negative things for the past 18 months, so to be doing something positive felt good.

“It was good to be with like-minded people and it was so lovely to see people from the industry that I hadn’t seen for such a long time [due to Covid-19].

“It would be nice to get some recognition for the position we are all in. It’s about clarity, openness, about what the parameters are. We’ve never been told by the government what levels you have to be at in green [on the current traffic-light system]. They have been very cagey about that.

“We are looking for directional business support. Although there have been grants, for which we are extremely grateful, they have been disproportionate.

"Some industries are getting three times as much as what we have been getting but we cannot sell anything that we have.

“What we need is clarity and more recognition financially from the Government.”

David Carruthers, the owner of Conexo Travel, in Haxby, was also present in Westminster, and said: “Other industries have received sector-specific support, even now the hospitality industry receives reduced VAT whilst they are able to earn revenue.

“Our industry has no gripe with this, we just need some tailored support of our own whilst our ability to trade our way back to normality is effectively restrained due to the government’s travel policy.

“I have been available for interviews and most importantly for my customers throughout the pandemic. My staff are furloughed, so there is just me.

“I have spent my time cancelling, refunding and re-booking (sometimes five or six times) clients' travel arrangements, whilst receiving no income but still having to meet our regular outgoings.”

The tourism industry is calling on parliament to bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of the furlough scheme until business can resume at a sustainable level.

On Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock indicated the Government is actively looking at changing travel rules for those who have received both doses of their Covid vaccination.

The British travel industry generates over £53 billion in domestic spending and £28.4 billion in spending from foreign visitors and tourists.