Portugal travel chaos looms as support needed for agents

A Hays Travel retail store

TSSA has warned of travel chaos ahead and lambasted the government for failing to support "struggling" travel agencies as Portugal comes off the green list.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: 

"We were all hoping to see more holiday destinations moving into the green list and none more so than the High Street travel agencies who have suffered the hardest 16 months in living memory thanks to this Covid-19 pandemic.

"Of course, beating the virus is the most important thing, and moving Portugal to the amber list is the right thing to do if that’s what the science says. But the way this Tory government has bungled the decision means travel chaos as holidaymakers who went abroad in good faith, realise they’re at risk of an unexpected 10-day quarantine when they come back and many will now scramble to come back early.

"This is the last thing our struggling High Street travel agencies needed. Summer 2020 was a nightmare of holidays cancelled at the last minute, the 'safe' list changing daily and sometimes hourly. Sadly, it seems like the Tory government hasn't learned their lesson as Portugal has been abruptly moved to the amber list with almost no warning.

"The government needs to sit up and pay attention. Travel agencies cannot go on booking and cancelling holidays without support. If the industry is to survive then the government needs to step in and offer travel agents bespoke support as it has done with other industries such as hospitality and rail. Otherwise there’s a very real risk we will not have a travel industry left when this pandemic is done.”