45% in travel and tourism sector on furlough as thousands lose jobs

The decline in employment in the travel and tourism sector during the coronavirus pandemic outweighs the increase in other industries, new figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of people employed in travel and tourism in the UK was 0.6% lower between April and June 2020 than in the same period in 2019.

In the same period, employment in all other sectors rose by 0.2%.

Between July and September, employment in the travel and tourism sector fell by 0.8% year-on-year, while other sectors posted growth of 0.1%.

The ONS data also shows that 45% of travel and tourism workers were on vacation at the end of January, compared to 12% in other sectors.

Sectors classified as travel and tourism include passenger transportation, airlines, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, museums and sports facilities.

These were also hit hard during the virus crisis by collapsing demand and the imposition of government restrictions.

Companies announcing job cuts include British Airways (12,000 jobs), Whitbread (6,000 jobs), the National Trust (1,300 jobs) and Hays Travel (up to 878 jobs).

More than 20 travel companies with offices in the UK have gone bankrupt since March 2020, including STA Travel, the Specialist Leisure Group, which operated brands like bus operator Shearings, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

According to the ONS, sales in travel and tourism companies were only 26% of the level recorded three months ago in May last year, compared to 74% in other industries.

Jess Brooks, founder of Devon-based travel company Eternal Landscapes, which specializes in travel to Mongolia, said the sector had been “absolutely decimated” just days after the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

She continued, “It’s been a full year with no income and our savings pot is empty. We have nothing left.

“The uncertainty is emotionally brutal and we cannot make plans because we cannot know when and to what extent our business will return.”

Louis Bollard, who founded Play Away Stay Away, an online community to connect traveling sports fans with local hosts, said, “Through March 2020 we had strong month-to-month membership growth, and then everything went off a cliff.

“We were down 85% in one month and almost a year later we haven’t recovered due to the ongoing fan ban.”

“Luckily I’ve been able to keep spending under control and stay afloat if fans are allowed to travel again at some point. However, due to the nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty created by the new strains, it’s still difficult to get serious about anything.” to plan. “


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